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Attorney Mark Brewer Fighting to Keep Minimum Wage & Paid Sick Leave on the Ballot

Attorney Mark Brewer presented oral argument to the Michigan Supreme Court opposing legislative gutting of the minimum wage and paid sick leave initiatives adopted by the Legislature last year.

In September of 2018, the Republican-led Legislature adopted laws proposed by initiative petition increasing the state’s minimum wage from $9.25 to $12 by 2022, raising tipped workers’ minimum wage to $12 by 2024, and allowing all employees to earn 1 hour of sick time for every 30 hours worked. The Legislature did this to keep the proposals off the 2018 ballot, fearing they would pass, and announcing that it would weaken the laws after the election during the Legislature’s lame duck session.

Adopt and Amend

After the election the Legislature gutted the two laws as it said it would. Under the amended laws, the regular minimum wage won’t reach $12/hour until 2030, the minimum wage for tipped workers will only increase to $4.58 by 2030, and the weakened sick leave requirements will not apply to millions of employees.

Michigan Supreme Court Involvement

Brewer represents the groups which sponsored the petition drives, Michigan One Fair Wage and Michigan Time to Care. They and many others opposed the changes to the proposals arguing that the “adopt and amend” tactic was unconstitutional. The Supreme Court was asked to issue an advisory opinion on the matter. The Court asked the Attorney General’s office to argue both sides of the issue and invited others to present legal briefs supporting and opposing the legislative changes as it considered making a decision. Brewer filed briefs and argued on behalf of his clients as well as organizing other groups to file briefs.

A decision by the Court whether to issue an opinion and if so, whether “adopt and amend” is constitutional, is expected this summer.

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