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State House and Senate introduce bills to change minimum wage law

Democratic lawmakers are trying to once again make the state’s minimum wage $12 an hour by 2022.

Last year, there was a ballot measure to increase the minimum wage to $12 an hour. The Legislature passed the measure without it going to the voters, and then quickly made major changes. Now, the minimum wage won’t get to $12 an hour until 2030.

Lesia VanArsdale is a teacher’s aide in Detroit. She says when the Legislature extended how long it would take the state to get to $12 an hour, it felt like an impending pay cut.

“Snatching back our raises. This is illegal and just plain wrong,” she says.

The Legislature is still controlled by Republicans, so the bills are unlikely to go far. But Representative Christine Greig (D-Farmington Hills) says this is about principles. 

“While there may not be a lot of movement in the Republican leadership to move this, the public is on our side with this,” she says.

But Speaker of the House Lee Chatfield (R-Levering) is not on board with changing the minimum wage law again.

“I think the Legislature settled that issue last term and I’m confident that we have the right structure moving forward,” he says.

The state attorney general could weigh in on the legality of last year's move by the Legislature.

Before becoming the newest Capitol reporter for the Michigan Public Radio Network, Cheyna Roth was an attorney. She spent her days fighting it out in court as an assistant prosecuting attorney for Ionia County. Eventually, Cheyna took her investigative and interview skills and moved on to journalism. She got her masters at Michigan State University and was a documentary filmmaker, podcaster, and freelance writer before finding her home with NPR. Very soon after joining MPRN, Cheyna started covering the 2016 presidential election, chasing after Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, and all their surrogates as they duked it out for Michigan. Cheyna also focuses on the Legislature and criminal justice issues for MPRN. Cheyna is obsessively curious, a passionate storyteller, and an occasional backpacker. Follow her on Twitter at @Cheyna_R
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