Opinion: Lawmakers pull a 'bait and switch'
Robert Sedler, a constitutional law professor at Wayne State University, opined about the Republican-controlled Michigan Legislature passing bills “that would amend significantly – or more accurately gut completely – the minimum wage and sick leave laws that the Legislature enacted in response to an initiative proposal just prior to the 2018 election.” Sedler continued: “In accordance with Art. II, sec. 9, the Legislature responded to the initiative petition by enacting the initiative laws without change or amendment. But at the same time, the Republican leaders stated that they were enacting these laws only to prevent the people from voting on the initiative and that after the election they would amend the laws to make them more favorable to business interests. This “bait and switch” strategy shows utter disdain for Michigan voters and for the Constitution. The plain language of the Constitution and the structure for legislative initiative that the Constitution establishes is absolutely clear. The initiative law has come from the people, not the Legislature. This being so, it is not like other laws. It is not a law that the Legislature can amend at will. Under the Constitution, once an outgoing Legislature has enacted a law in response to an initiative petition, and prevented the people from voting on the initiative, that Legislature cannot amend the initiative law in the same legislative session. Sedler concluded: “We live under a Constitution and the rule of law. The Legislature should have respected the Constitution and allowed the minimum wage and sick leave laws to take effect without change or amendment.”
December 6, 2018