By Kathleen Gray, Detroit Free Press
LANSING – Republicans in the state Senate voted Wednesday to gut two initiatives that would raise the minimum wage to $12 per hour and require employers to provide paid sick time to employees.
The Senate passed the bills on a mostly party-line vote of 26-12 after the Senate Government Operations committee earlier in the day made significant changes to the measures on 3-2 party-line vote.
The GOP-sponsored bills were done to ensure that “it maintains the spirit and intent of the initiative,” said Sen. Mike Shirkey, R-Clarklake, who sponsored the changes to paid sick leave. “In other states where this has passed, it has led to increased incentives to not hire people and a cacophony of lawsuits between employees and employers.”
But Sen. Curtis Hertel, D-East Lansing, said the changes showed an awful display of political gamesmanship because the bills weren't introduced until after the Nov. 6 election to hide the measures from voters before they cast their ballots.
"The answer is that you don’t like the results of the election and negotiations won’t work out the way you want to in the next session," he said. "I’m willing to negotiate, but I will not support a blatant disregard of our democracy."