LANSING, Mich. (WLNS)-- To prevent the minimum wage and sick time initiatives from going to voters, Republican lawmakers approved them in September so they could be altered after the election. Those changes were sent to the governor, and today he made them law.
"These are really kind of shells of what they once were," says Sam Inglot, deputy communications director of Progress MI. "They're no longer really the big boost that they were gonna be for families."
Inglot says the new bills don't do enough for Michigan's workers. One bill gradually increases the state's minimum wage to $12.05 by 2030. The original petition pushed for a quicker increase in the next four years.
"I'm 28 right now," Inglot says. "I will be 40 by the time the minimum wage goes up to $12.05."
The other bill exempts companies with fewer than 50 employees from having to provide paid sick days, and that's a step in the right direction according to the Michigan Chamber of Commerce, who called the new laws "reasonable" and in line with other states with similar laws.
The Chamber also supports the changes to the minimum wage, and so does Michigan's Licensed Beverage Association, calling both laws a huge win for the hospitality industry. Members say small businesses should have sick leave, but that it should be up to the owner to decide what they can offer.
Democrats, though, are blasting the governor for signing the measures. And officials with Progress Michigan say the new rules will do more harm than good for Michigan workers, and won't be the progress people were hoping for.
"Instead it's kind of a slap in the face to working people," Inglot says. "And really kind of chips away at the foundation of our democracy and the right of people to have a say in policies that affect working families across the state."
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