House Dems Take Unconstitutional Adopt-and-Amend Fight to Court

Michigan Supreme Court hears oral arguments on Republican 2018 lame duck tactic gutting two ballot initiatives
Wednesday, July 17, 2019

House Democrats presented their case before the Michigan Supreme Court today arguing the Republican evisceration of the Improved Workforce Opportunity and Earned Sick Time acts last term violated the state’s constitution. The Republican-controlled House and Senate adopted both laws in order to prevent them from appearing on the November 2018 ballot, only to then gut them during lame duck.

“The bedrock principle of democracy is the power of the people to directly engage in the process,” said House Democratic Leader Christine Greig (D-Farmington Hills). “Last year’s bait and switch was a direct attack on that power, leaving thousands across the state without the pay and earned sick leave they deserve, violating their Constitutional rights in the process. Michiganders deserve better.”

The case before the court argued that the unprecedented move by legislative Republicans was unconstitutional, violating the power of the people of Michigan to propose and enact laws through initiative measures. Since the adoption of Michigan’s current constitution over a half-century ago, the Legislature has never once enacted an initiated law and amended it in the same legislative session.

Without an opinion from the Supreme Court, the matter would likely be resolved through case-by-case litigation, causing further delay and uncertainty while imposing substantial costs on Michigan businesses and further denying workers the protections and benefits they rightfully obtained through the initiative process.

“Every day the Republican adopt-and-amend strategy goes unaddressed is another dollar taken directly from the pocketbooks of everyday Michiganders,” said Greig. “It is vital the Supreme Court issue an opinion on this blatant power grab, and I look forward to the Court vindicating the rights and interests of our state’s hardworking men and women.”