Gov. Rick Snyder signs lame-duck bills gutting minimum wage, paid sick time initiatives

Posted: 3:12 PM, Dec 14, 2018
Updated: 2018-12-14 20:13:11Z
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LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder has signed legislation that delayed a minimum wage hike and scaled back paid sick leave requirements. The laws were passed last week by Michigan's lame-duck legislature

The fast-tracked legislation, which drew protesters to the Capitol who chanted "shame" and "bought and paid for" outside the chambers, was pushed through on largely party-line 60-48 and 26-12 votes.

“I look at legislation presented to me through a policy lens – is it the right policy for the state of Michigan and Michiganders as a whole? That’s what I did with these bills and have now signed them into law,” Snyder said. “I looked at what the potential impacts and benefits of the changes would be and decided that signing these bills was the appropriate action.”

To prevent minimum wage and paid sick time ballot initiatives from going to the electorate last month, after which they would have been much harder to change if voters had passed them, GOP legislators — at the behest of business groups — preemptively approved them in September so that they could alter them after the election with simple majority votes in each chamber.

One bill would gradually increase the state's $9.25 minimum wage to $12.05 an hour by 2030 — maybe later in the case of a recession — instead of $12 by 2022. It would also repeal provisions to tie future increases to inflation and bring a lower wage for tipped employees in line with the wage for other workers.

Another bill would exempt employers with fewer than 50 employees from having to provide paid sick time as required under the existing law that is scheduled to take effect in March. It also would limit the amount of annual mandatory leave at larger businesses to 40 hours, instead of 72 hours, and make other changes. About 162,000 small businesses that collectively employ 1 million workers would be exempt from awarding paid sick leave under the legislation, according to the Michigan League for Public Policy.

“We need to continue our forward momentum while making sure all Michiganders are participating in the comeback,” Snyder said. “The leave bill offers the majority of workers in the state paid medical leave up to a week off work with pay. We are now one of only eleven states that provide such a benefit.

“The minimum wage bill continues Michigan’s minimum wage approved back in 2014 by providing fixed amount increases based on projected inflation and helps keep us in the top third of states nationally.”