Will Michigan Enact Paid Sick Leave This Week?

Michigan this week could become the eleventh state to enact a paid sick leave law. It all depends on how the politics play out in the Wolverine State.

PSL proponents collected enough signatures to have voters decide in November whether to enact a PSL initiative. The Michigan Constitution gives the legislature the option to enact or reject the initiative and sets a deadline for its doing so.  That deadline expires this Friday, September 7. If the legislature enacts the initiative, it becomes law; if it rejects the initiative, it will be presented to the voters in November. the legislature could also present an alternate PSL proposal to voters in November.

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Why would a state with a Republican trifecta—-a Republican governor and GOP control of both the House and Senate—choose to enact a PSL law rather than let the voters decide whether to enact it in November?

Just speculating, of course, but one reason might be that a bill enacted by the legislature is easier to amend than one enacted through an initiative. Amending a legislative enactment requires a majority vote in each chamber; amending a law enacted through an initiative requires a three-fourths vote in each chamber. The legislature could enact the initiative and then promptly amend it, the speculation goes.

Another possible reason is that there are three voter initiatives slated for November.  in addition to the PSL initiative, the ballot will also include initiatives to legalize recreational marijuana and increase the minimum wage. This combination of initiatives could lead to a large voter turnout in November, which might be detrimental to some candidates, the speculation goes.

With each passing day, the PSL-suspense in Michigan grows. Three days to go.