LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – The Michigan Court of Claims has ruled that the controversial “adopt and amend” strategy in the state legislature is unconstitutional.
“Adopt and amend” comes into play after regular citizens get enough signatures to put a proposal on the ballot. If voters approve the proposal, it is very difficult for lawmakers to later change it.
However, the state legislature has the option to pass the proposal into law before it reaches the ballot, and doing so makes it easier for lawmakers to change at a later date.
A high-profile instance that critics say is an example of “adopt and amend” came in 2018, when ballot proposals would have gradually increased the state’s minimum wage to $12/hour by 2022 and establish requirements for paid medical leave.
The proposals got enough signatures to go on the November ballot, but the state legislature adopted them before that could happen. Lawmakers then amended the law so the minimum wage would increase more slowly, reaching $12.05/hour by 2030.
The Court of Claims decision overturns the changes made by the legislature and reinstates the changes as initially proposed.
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel calls the decision a “victory for the residents of Michigan whose efforts to bring an issue before their elected representatives were wrongly circumvented by the Legislature in 2018.”
Ron Bieber, president of the nonprofit Michigan AFL-CIO Labor Foundation, is also celebrating the court’s decision. He calls the legislature’s actions in 2018 “shameful,” and says today’s announcement is a “huge victory for Michigan’s working families.”