Court orders $12 minimum wage initiative on ballot

LANSING– The Michigan Court of Appeals on Wednesday ordered that an initiative to raise the state’s minimum wage to $12 be placed on the November ballot, rejecting the restaurant industry’s challenges to petition signatures and how the measure is written.

In a brief 2-1 order, Judges Stephen Borrello and Jane Beckering said the One Fair Wage proposal does not violate constitutional requirements that laws not be revised by reference to their title only. They also dismissed a contention that the ballot committee did not collect enough valid signatures because some signers checked both a “city” and “township” box when listing their hometown.

The ruling came nearly a month after the Board of State Canvassers deadlocked 2-2, on party lines, to certify the proposal despite the Bureau of Elections determining there were 283,000 valid signatures — 31,000 more than needed.

Michigan Opportunity, a restaurant-backed opposition group, said it was disappointed with the decision and would appeal to the Michigan Supreme Court as soon as Thursday.

“While we respect the diligence taken by the Court of Appeals panel, we still firmly believe that the Michigan One Fair Wage petition is misleading and lacks the transparency required by the Michigan constitution, rendering it ineligible for the ballot,” said spokesman Justin Winslow.

Because the measure is initiated legislation, it would first go to the Republican-led Legislature, which could pass or reject the bill. If it were ignored — which appears likely — the proposal would go to a statewide vote in the fall.