AG Nessel agrees with the goals of an “adopt and amend” lawsuit, but still wants it dismissed


Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel addresses the media during a news conference, Thursday, March 5, 2020, in Lansing, Mich. (AP Photo/David Eggert)

LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel agrees with the goal of a lawsuit over “adopt and amend” tactics in Lansing, but she still wants the case dismissed.

That’s because she is named as the defendant. Nessel says she is not the proper party to that lawsuit since it is challenging an opinion rendered by her predecessor, Bill Schuette, back in 2018.

The opinion in question is regarding the constitutionality of “adopt and amend,” a strategy lawmakers can take to undermine a ballot proposal with broad support among voters.

When a ballot proposal gets enough signatures, it can go to voters for approval. If they approve it, the proposal becomes law, and it takes a supermajority of the legislature to change it.

However, if lawmakers approve the proposal on their own, they can keep it off the ballot. Then, they can change it later with a simple majority, which is much easier to accomplish.

The group Mothering Justice, which filed the lawsuit against Nessel, claims that lawmakers did this in 2018 to prevent voters from passing a proposal to increase the state minimum wage and provide for the accrual of sick leave. The version passed by lawmakers was watered down and takes effect gradually over more than a decade.

Nessel filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit today, saying it should have been filed against the State of Michigan to have the intended effect.

“I believe the actions undertaken by the Republican legislature to adopt and then gut the substance of the One Fair Wage and Paid Sick Leave Act were unconstitutional and undermined the will of Michigan residents,” Nessel said in a press release.

“Mr. Brewer [an attorney for the plaintiffs] knows that the surest way to resolve this issue is by bringing suit against the State of Michigan and arguing the merits of the case in court,” she added. “Instead, he chose to take an adversarial stance against an ally by suing the Department of Attorney General. Mr. Brewer’s actions do not serve his clients, nor will they bring necessary resolution to this issue.” 

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