The Michigan Legislature will return from summer break next week, and Republicans are discussing the potential of adopting two proposals headed to the ballot this November.
Ken Sikkema, Senior Policy Fellow at Public Sector Consultants and former Republican legislative leader, and Vicki Barnett, the former mayor of Farmington Hills and a former Democratic legislator.
The two joined Stateside’s Lester Graham to talk about these two proposals—a $12 minimum wage and paid sick leave.
Both of the proposals are citizen-initiated laws. Once they are adopted by the voters, amending them is virtually impossible as it would require a three-quarters majority vote in the Legislature.
Republicans typically would not support adopting a proposal on a $12 minimum wage or paid sick leave, said Sikkema, but Republicans are wary of these proposals being legislated at the ballot.
“The argument they’re making is — let's adopt it, potentially right now, and then we can amend it with a simple majority vote. Of course, it takes a governor's signature to do it. And that's sort of the philosophical, ideological, policy-oriented argument here,” Sikkema said.
There could also be political motivations for adopting these proposals, as some think having them on the ballot could increase Democratic turnout in November. Barnett said this would only continue to anger voters.
“The Legislature has been looking at an introduction of bills for paid sick leave for the last several years and it's failed to act on it," said Barnett. "The public finds this to be appalling — at least the hundreds of the thousands of people who signed these petitions — and have decided since the legislature won't act, the people should.”
Listen above to hear Sikkema and Barnett further discuss the proposals and explain why a voting rights group is asking clerks for a copy of every ballot.
This post was written by Stateside production assistant Sophie Sherry.