Snyder Signs Gutted Minimum Wage, Sick Time Laws

Governor Rick Snyder has signed legislation into law gutting a voter-initiated proposal that originally sought to increase the minimum wage, including creating parity for tipped workers, as well as gutting another proposal to allow people to earn paid sick time leave.

“With a flick of his lame-duck pen, Governor Snyder chose to rob the people of Michigan of the strong paycheck and good benefits they deserve,” House Democratic Floor Leader Christine Greig, of Farmington Hills, said of Snyder’s decision. “It is shameful this governor, who is just counting down the days to the end of his tenure, would use this opportunity to hurt the people of Michigan one last time. It is clear, this deliberate action to subvert the will of the people ensures the governor’s legacy will be one of abject failure.”

Senate Minority Leader Jim Ananich (D-Flint) added, “If it wasn’t clear before, it should be clear now that this governor has zero respect for the voters. I’m gravely disappointed, yet not surprised, to see this governor once again sign legislation drafted and motivated by the extreme wing of his party. It appears he has decided what he wants his legacy to be.”

Indeed, when the minimum wage ballot initiative was certified, some 373,000 people had signed off their support. Earned paid sick time saw some 380,000 signatures.

Legislative Republicans then took the opportunity in the fall, before, the election, to vote on the proposals in the legislature instead of place them on the November ballot. When they passed the bills, they were rather clear they did not intend to keep them as is. Many Democrats and others who supported the initiatives going to the ballot expected term-limited Republicans in the legislature to gut the initiatives and replace them with provisions worse than the initiative.

And they did, virtually as soon as they came back from the Thanksgiving break.

Legislation had also began making its way through Michigan’s Legislature to weaken the powers of the voting rights proposal (known as Promote the Vote), recreational marijuana proposal (known as Proposal 1), and redistricting proposal (led by Voters Not Politicians) that voters overwhelmingly passed in November.

Reports indicate legislation weakening the marijuana proposal such that growing marijuana from home would be banned is no longer going anywhere, but legislation changing the redistricting proposal and the voters’ rights proposal await action in the state House after having been passed by the Senate.

There is also legislation stripping power away from incoming Democratic Attorney General-Elect Dana Nessel that awaits a vote in the full Senate and then could head to Snyder, and legislation stripping power from Democratic Secretary of State-Elect Jocelyn Benson awaiting action in the House.

“At the end of the month, Governor Snyder will leave behind a legacy of prioritizing profits and corporate bottom lines above the needs of everyday Michiganders. By signing this legislation into law today, he deprives working families of the strong paycheck and good benefits they deserve,” said Rep. Winnie Brinks (D-Grand Rapids). “The people of Michigan should expect to have their voices heard and their choices respected, not to have outgoing elected officials undermine them on their way out the door.”

Danielle Emerson

Danielle Emerson