Nessel asked to review how wage, sick day laws were gutted
By DAVID EGGERT
LANSING — Democratic Attorney General Dana Nessel was asked Wednesday to review the constitutionality of Michigan Republicans’ unprecedented maneuver to significantly scale back minimum wage increases and paid sick leave requirements, which are due to take effect in six weeks.
To prevent the measures from going to the electorate in November, after which they would have been much harder to change if voters had passed them, GOP legislators preemptively approved them in September so they could be pared back after the election with simple majority votes and the signature of then-Gov. Rick Snyder .
Former Attorney General Bill Schuette, a Republican, endorsed the legality of the contentious strategy in December. But his opinion differed from one issued in 1964 by former Attorney General Frank Kelley, a Democrat.
In asking for a new opinion, Democratic Sen. Stephanie Chang of Detroit said the “plain language” of the state constitution limits the Legislature’s ability to change a legislatively enacted initiated law in the same session. She cited wording that says lawmakers can enact a proposal, reject it — putting it to a statewide vote — or propose an alternative to appear alongside the measure on the ballot.
“Nearly 400,000 people signed each of these petitions,” she said after the Senate session Wednesday. “There’s clearly a lot of public support behind the original public acts that the Legislature passed in September. … I have a lot of concerns about what happened.”