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Michigan Legislature OKs Minimum Wage Hike

Raise Michigan
Raise Michigan

Legislature approves $9.25 Michigan minimum wage

Gov. Rick Snyder is expected to quickly sign a bill increases the Michigan minimum raise as a petition campaign is about to file signatures to force the wage floor even higher.

That will cap days and weeks of feverish negotiations between Republicans and Democrats and business and labor groups that produced the compromise measure that cleared the House and the Senate with bipartisan support.

Snyder praised the deal in a news conference called just a few minutes after the Senate sent the bill to his desk.

"This is something that's good for Michigan. It's good for the hardworking people of Michigan and, I believe, economically sound in terms of hopefully creating an environment for long-term economic success."

Michigan's new minimum wage will be $8.15 an hour starting September first. It will then gradually climb to 9-25 in 2018 and will rise with inflation after that. One of the most controversial aspects of the law is a provision that attempts to kill the petition drive with a legislative maneuver that's never been tried before. It would do that by scrapping Michigan's current minimum wage law and then re-create it as a new law so it can't be amended by the petition campaign.  

Republicans say that petition campaign's increase to $10.25 without a lower rate for tipped workers would have visited disaster on tourism businesses and restaurants.

Danielle Atkinson is part of the Raise Michigan coalition. She says the group still plans to file its petitions tomorrow (Wed.) to put the question to the Legislature or on the November ballot.

"We have an obligation to the 300,000 people who have signed, signed in goodwill thinking that they can have an impact in the government, not knowing that their voice would be taken away. So we have an obligation to turn in those signatures and continue the democratic process."

Atkinson says the campaign is ready to go to court if state officials try to keep the question off the ballot.

Rick Pluta is the managing editor for the Michigan Public Radio Network.