A Michigan Court of Claims judge ruled this week that lawmakers violated the Michigan state constitution back in 2018 when they passed a pending ballot petition and then amended it to a format more to their liking. A provision in the state constitution, known as the adopt and amend provision seemingly allows the legislature to adopt a pending ballot petition and subsequently amend it more to their liking, which is precisely what the republican controlled state legislature did four years ago. However, Judge Douglas Shapiro determined that although the state constitution allows the legislature to do one of three things with a ballot petition: adopt it, reject it, or propose an alternative, it does not allow them to do both in the same legislative session. Judge Shapiro determined that “To hold otherwise would effectively thwart the power of the people to initiate laws and then vote on those same laws – a power expressly reserved to the people in the Michigan Constitution.” In the wake of his ruling, the state minimum (which was $9.87/hour before the ruling) is set at $12/hour in 2022, the tip credit (which allowed a lower minimum for tipped workers) is eliminated in Michigan, and mandatory paid sick leave is required for employees of private businesses. The decision is being appealed and is expected to be battled out all the way to the Michigan Supreme Court. Although Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel issued a release endorsing the judicial judgement, it is still unclear whether government regulators will enforce the new provisions or a higher court will stay the ruling while an appeal is pending. We’ll keep you posted as additional developments are announced.