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Ballot initiatives face challenges from business organizations

"Vote here" sign
Mark Brush
/
Michigan Radio
A polling location in Ann Arbor, Mich.

Business-backed organizations say two initiatives waiting for approval from the Board of State Canvassers should not be on the November ballot. One would raise the state’s minimum wage. The other would require earned sick time for employees.

The challenges, in part, involve whether the petitions have enough valid signatures to be on the November ballot.

“Our campaign is going to continue to fight and ensure that the nearly 400,000 Michiganders who signed that petition see it on the ballot in November,” said Londell Thomas, a campaign manager for MI Time to Care. That’s the group behind the earned sick time petition. He says the campaign is confident it has enough valid signatures.

The effort to increase the state’s minimum wage also faces a challenge in the Michigan Court of Appeals. A group backed by the Michigan Restaurant Association says the petition violates the state constitution.

“It’s pretty clear cut by the peculiar means by which they drafted this initiative that they’ve violated Michigan’s constitution,” said Justin Winslow, a spokesperson for Michigan Opportunity.

Backers of both campaigns say they are confident they have enough valid signatures to be on the ballot.

“This proposal would significantly raise the minimum wage in this state and provide a lot of other benefits for working folks,” said Mark Brewer with the One Fair Wage campaign. “And you can see from our perspective just how desperate the other side is to block that by the kind of technical legal arguments they’re making.”

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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