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‘Adopt and Amend’ declared unconstitutional

Reginald Hardwick

The practice of adopting a ballot initiative into law then later changing it in the same legislative session is unconstitutional.

That’s according to the Michigan Court of Claims in a ruling that came down late Tuesday afternoon.

At issue were two petitions circulated in 2018. One would have raised the minimum wage to $12 an hour—including for tipped employees. The other would have set rates for racking up paid sick time.

The Republican-led legislature passed them itself before they could go before voters. Then lawmakers weakened them during a lame duck-session following the election.

The court ruled that was illegitimate.

"The Legislature has only three options to address voter-initiated legislation within the same legislative session—adopt it, reject it, or propose an alternative," the ruling reads.

"Once the Legislature adopted the Earned Sick Time Act and the Improved Workforce Opportunity Act, it could not amend the laws within the same legislative session. To hold otherwise would effectively thwart the power of the People to initiate laws and then vote on those same laws—a power expressly reserved to the people in the Michigan Constitution,” the court continued.

Tuesday’s ruling brings both laws back to their original form.

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