The Latest: Michigan Legislature OKs wage, sick time bills

The Latest on the Michigan Legislature's consideration of two citizen-initiated bills (all times local):

5:10 p.m.

The Republican-controlled Michigan Legislature has passed bills that would increase the state's minimum wage to $12 an hour and require paid sick leave.

The passage of the bills on Wednesday prevents public votes on the citizen-initiated measures in November and makes it easier for lawmakers to water them down after the election.

It is part of an unprecedented business-backed strategy — the legality of which is unclear — to avoid the risk of voters passing the measures, which would require three-fourths majorities in each chamber to change later. By passing the initiatives before they go to voters, the Legislature will only need simple majorities to amend them during the "lame-duck" period in November or December.

Republicans are not specifying what changes may be made. Democrats say the strategy is a "scam" and a "bait-and-switch."


11:40 a.m.

The Republican-controlled Michigan Senate has adopted ballot initiatives that would increase the state's minimum wage and require paid sick leave.

If the GOP-led House follows suit later Wednesday, the measures will become law and not be placed on the Michigan ballot in November. The strategy would make it easier for lawmakers to change the proposals in the postelection "lame-duck" session with simple majority votes. A group backing the minimum wage drive says the maneuver would be unconstitutional.

For now, legislators have voted to gradually boost the minimum wage to $12 and mandate that employers provide earned sick leave to employees.

Business groups are lobbying Republicans to act because if voters approved the initiatives, any future changes would require three-fourths votes in both the House and Senate.