The Raise Michigan grassroots group that has been gathering signatures for a ballot initiative to raise the state’s minimum hourly wage to $10.10 says supporters aren’t deterred by Gov. Rick Snyder’s signature on hastily passed legislation raising the minimum to $9.25.
The legislative action repealed the law that was targeted in the petition drive, throwing the petition drive in a sort of legal limbo.
Mark Brewer, Raise Michigan’s attorney, said the legislation approved by both chambers of the Michigan Legislature and signed by the governor Tuesday was “an obvious attempt to undermine the constitutional right of initiative, which is the people’s right.”
“The people have retained that right and we’re here to make sure that right is honored and respected in the course of this process,” said Brewer, a former chairman of the Michigan Democratic Party.
Without the pre-emptive action raising the state’s hourly minimum wage to $9.25, the petitions would have gone first to the Legislature, which would have had 40 days to approve it. Failing that, the question would have been placed on the November ballot. The Legislature could have put its own question on the ballot as well.
The legislation, which is linked to the rate of inflation in Midwestern states, passed the House on a 76-34 vote and the Senate by a 24-12 margin, the Detroit Free Press reported Tuesday.
The last time the minimum wage was increased in Michigan was in 2008, when it went to the current $7.40 per hour.
The link to the rate of inflation means the minimum wage can’t increase by more than 3.5 percent a year. Tipped employees, who currently earn a minimum wage of $2.65 per hours, would get $3.51 per hour under the proposal.Raise Michigan Coalition, which has been gathering signatures to put the issue before voters in a November ballot measure, wants a guarantee that tipped workers would eventually earn the full minimum wage, receiving annual incremental raises of 85 cents an hour until they gain parity with other workers.