Michigan appeals court orders minimum wage proposal put on November ballot

The Michigan Court of Appeals has ordered state canvassers to place a citizen-led proposal to raise the state’s minimum wage on the November ballot. Opponents, including the hospitality industry, may appeal to the Michigan Supreme Court.

Update: Snyder signs bills that weaken Michigan minimum wage, sick leave laws

A Michigan appeals court Wednesday ordered that a proposal to raise the state’s minimum wage be placed on the November ballot.

The 2-1 decision from a panel of Michigan Court of Appeals judges said the ballot proposal is not unconstitutional, rejecting a legal challenge brought by opponents, including the hospitality industry. Those opponents must now weigh whether to appeal to the Michigan Supreme Court.

The Michigan One Fair Wage ballot proposal would change state law to gradually increase the state’s minimum wage to $10 in 2019 and $12 by 2022. That wage rate would apply to restaurant workers and other employees who receive tips, who today are paid below minimum wage.

More Bridge coverage:

The appeals court ordered state elections officials and the Board of State Canvassers “to take all necessary measures to place the proposal on the November 2018 general election ballot.” State canvassers deadlocked in July along party lines on whether to certify the proposal for the ballot.

"We think the Court of Appeals made the correct decision,” said Mark Brewer, an attorney for the ballot committee backing the proposal, Michigan One Fair Wage, when reached by phone Wednesday.

Opponents said they are disappointed in the ruling and may appeal it to the Michigan Supreme Court.

"While we respect the diligence taken by the Court of Appeals panel, we still firmly believe that the Michigan One Fair Wage petition is misleading and lacks the transparency required by the Michigan constitution, rendering it ineligible for the ballot,” said Justin Winslow in a statement. He is spokesman for a ballot committee called Michigan Opportunity and president and CEO of the Michigan Restaurant Association.

Lawyers for Michigan Opportunity contend the proposal is ineligible for the ballot because its language refers to the law that would be changed only by its title, rather than by reprinting the entire law highlighting what changes would be made — which they argued was unconstitutional.

Brewer countered that the ballot language shows the proposal would “supersede” existing state law.

Appellate Judge Michael Riordan dissented, arguing that the proposal did not clear required signature thresholds to appear on the ballot.

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Kevin Grand
Wed, 08/22/2018 - 9:28pm

If the Michigan Supreme Court doesnt weigh in on this (Clement and Viviano will be getting a very hostile "welcome" in Lansing next week regardless) , Bill Schuette can kiss his long political career goodbye.

Here comes another "Lost Decade".

Thu, 08/23/2018 - 9:17am

Michigan's uneducated does all if can to unwittingly put small restaurant owners out of business. I guess it will result in some of us hiring close friends and family in order to survive. There's no way my little place can afford to pay people $12 per hour. It'll come back to bite these idiots who think that they are entitled to $15 an hour to drop a fry basket in oil and clean a restroom.

Thu, 08/23/2018 - 10:13am

"I can't run my business if I pay my employees a living wage. Won't somebody think of the poor employers?"

This is long overdue. The current minimum wage is a cruel joke for the working poor. The average emoloyee has enjoyed little of the fruits of increased productivity over the last three decades; simultaneously, the minimum wage has not even kept pace with inflation. The Unions have been devastated by a concerted campaign to destroy organized labor. Benefits and security are an impossible dream for millions of Americans. This is just the first step towards saving capitalism from itself.


Thu, 08/23/2018 - 1:04pm

Bones is right.

Fri, 08/24/2018 - 8:34am

Is it possible that some jobs aren't every conceived to support a family from the very start? When I worked at various jobs through high school and college making enough to support a family of four wasn't in my mind nor my employer's. What changed? Why is an employer suddenly obligated to change the charter of the job to suit an employee trying to make a job into something it was never conceived to be or wanted? It's funny how the left always claims to be advancing freedom yet is the first to put a gun to your hear to force it's way.