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Paid sick leave, minimum wage laws in hands of Michigan Supreme Court

Posted at 4:39 PM, Jul 17, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-17 19:17:07-04

LANSING, Mich. — The future of minimum wage and paid sick leave in Michigan is in the hands of the state Supreme Court.

Last session, lawmakers approved two initiatives regarding paid sick leave and minimum wage that gathered enough signatures to make it to the ballot.

They then changed those measures during the lame duck session.

Those who spent months collecting signatures on those initiatives were in court Wednesday.

"We really feel like it's unconstitutional, that it undermines the will of the people and the work that we did for so long to promote this issue," said Danielle Atkinson, co-chair of MI Time to Care.

Deputy Solicitor Eric Restuccia argued the legislature argued the legislature acted according to the Constitution, while Solicitor General Fadwa Hammoud tried to convince the judges it was unconstitutional.

"We are here because the legislature thwarted the will of the people and took away their right to get their voice to the ballot," said Hammoud.

"When those House and Senate members vote on a bill such as the amendment here, they are speaking for the people as well, and to say that one voice is more important than the other voice isn't democratic," said attorney John Bursch who represented lawmakers.

After the hearing, protesters made their way to the Michigan Restaurant and Lodging Association which supports lawmakers' changes to the minimum wage law.

"These are workers that will continue to fight day after day to get what's owed to them and that's a living wage," said Pete Vargas with One Fair Wage.

There's no timeline on when the justices have to issue an opinion and there could be further lawsuits after they do.

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