Lansing — Michigan’s Republican-led Senate on Wednesday approved citizen-initiated legislation raising the state’s minimum wage to $12 per hour and requiring paid sick leave, a move designed to make the proposals easier to amend and keep them off the November ballot.
Democrats, who generally support the policies, opposed the effort. They warned the GOP majority could “gut” the proposals later this year in the so-called lame-duck session. Legal action is expected over what would be an unprecedented action.
Sen. Patrick Colbeck of Canton Township, one of three Republicans to vote against the initiatives, described approval as a "procedural gimmick” to avoid a three-quarters vote requirement to amend the proposals if they instead were approved by voters on Nov. 6.
“That’s not how we should be doing things," said Colbeck, who unsuccessfully ran for governor in the GOP primary. "We should be debating the merits.”
Sen. Curtis Hertel, D-East Lansing, said it was tough to vote against proposals that could benefit workers, but he called Republican plans to later amend the initiatives “a classic bait and switch, a trick on the voters of Michigan, an attack on democracy.”
Hertel argued that Republican leaders should tell legislators and voters now how they later intend to amend the initiatives.
Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof, R-West Olive, declined to discuss any planned amendments to the proposals, which will not immediately take effect, saying “there are many ideas out there.”
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