MIRS: House, Senate Seek Supremes Decision On Paid Sick Leave, Minimum Wage

Director’s Note: This is a recent occurrence in the ongoing saga regarding the new Paid Sick Leave Mandate and minimum wage increase for employers in Michigan. The legislature passed new sick leave and minimum wage mandates in September 2018, and then significantly amended them in December 2018 at the request of employers and business organizations around the state, including the Northern Michigan Chamber Alliance.

More information on how these initiatives impact employers can be found here.

The following story was published in MIRS News Service, February, 19, 2019

The Michigan House and Senate today introduced resolutions asking the Michigan Supreme Court for its opinion on the Legislature’s action in amending the paid sick leave and minimum wage proposals during lame duck.

House Majority Floor Leader Triston COLE (R-Mancelona) introduced HR 25 in the House. It was referred to the House Government Operations Committee. He said he anticipates the House will vote on the resolution Wednesday.

Sen. Peter MACGREGOR (R-Rockford) introduced SR 16, asking identical questions of the court: Does the constitution allow the Legislature to enact a petition into law and amend it in the same session? Were the minimum wage and sick time laws enacted constitutionally?

Senate Majority Leader Mike SHIRKEY (R-Clarklake) said he expected adoption on SR 16 Wednesday.

“Ultimately, this . . . will end up at the Michigan Supreme Court level and I’m just asking, let’s go directly to Supreme Court and resolve this once and for all,” Cole said.

He said going directly would avoid political gamesmanship and wasting tax dollars on an expensive legal fight.

“Democratic leaders and the attorney general are raising questions about the bills we passed in an attempt to raise doubt about a cut-and-dried legal issue. They’re trying to pick a fight and create false doubts for political reasons,” Cole said. “By asking the Supreme Court to weigh in, we will be able to put these concerns to rest and eliminate any potential confusion on the issue once and for all.”

“Michigan families are counting on certainty in our state laws, especially when it comes to pay and benefits,” Shirkey said in a statement. “Tomorrow, the Senate will adopt a resolution to ask the Michigan Supreme Court to review and settle constitutional questions raised regarding recent amendments to laws providing for earned sick time and the minimum wage.

“The hardworking men and women of Michigan deserve better than elected officials inserting uncertainty into the law-making process in an effort to raise their own political profiles. Our state laws impact the daily lives of every Michigander. The Senate and House would rather take this constitutional question directly to the justices and see swift action than wait out a protracted legal dispute.”

Passage in either chamber will send the question to the Supreme Court.

“I’m very confident that the action that we took in the 99th Legislature is constitutional, is legal. That’s why I’m willing to jump directly to the Supreme Court,” Cole said.


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