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Michigan's top court takes case involving minimum wage, petition drive

Lester Graham
Michigan Radio

The Michigan Supreme Court said Wednesday it will hear a major case involving changes to the minimum wage and sick leave, and the power of lawmakers to interfere with the results of petition drives.

The court's decision could put more money in the pockets of low-wage workers, especially in the restaurant industry.

Advocates in 2018 submitted more than 280,000 valid signatures to raise the minimum wage to $12 an hour by 2022, followed by annual inflation adjustments, and eventually eliminate a lower tipped wage in restaurants.

The Republican-controlled Legislature adopted the changes in 2018 — a possible step — instead of letting voters have their say. But lawmakers returned a few months later and watered them down by a simple majority vote.

Then-Gov. Rick Snyder, also a Republican, signed the legislation into law, triggering years of legal challenges.

Judge Douglas Shapiro said the Legislature violated the state Constitution and thwarted the will of the people. But the state appeals court in January disagreed and reversed his decision.

The Supreme Court will hear arguments in the months ahead.

The minimum wage in Michigan is $10.10 per hour; much less for tipped workers.

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