House Dems want to repeal wage hike delay


LANSING, Mich. (WOOD) — With some preliminary big events out of the way in Lansing, the legislative session is slowly getting underway and lawmakers are starting to introduce bills that express their priorities.

One such bill would return the original language to a ballot initiative approved and then changed by the last Legislature. Its sponsor is calling it the “repeal the steal” bill.

It seems like ancient history, but it has been only six months since the Legislature adopted an initiative petition that would have raised the minimum wage to $12 by 2022. The move kept the issue off the ballot and also meant the Legislature could change the provisions of the act by a simple majority vote. Fast forward to December and the lame-duck session when lawmakers changed the petition to raise the minimum wage to $12 by 2030, eight years later than originally proposed.

Now a group of Democrats, including Rep. William Sowerby of Macomb County, want to change the language back.

“So people who had … worked hard to get those petitions signed, people who in September thought they were getting minimum wage increase come January, those people lost those wages in lame duck, And that’s what I think was the real steal that occurred. That’s what bought about my ‘repeal the steal’ bill,” Sowerby said.

His bill is cosponsored by virtually every Democrat in the House. Even so, he would need at least four Republicans willing to vote with him to change the petition back to its original language.

The measure — House Bill 4299 — has been assigned to a committee, but it remains unclear if it will get a hearing.

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