2018-09-13 / Front Page

Trickery suspected in vote on new legislation

By Tanya Terry
810-452-2645 • tterry@mihomepaper.com

BURTON — This year, there will be several ballot initiatives on the statewide ballot, but two many democrats hoped would be on there will not: the Improved Workforce Opportunity Wage Act and the Michigan Time to Care initiative.

After a ballot initiative has been approved by the Secretary of State, when it goes through the legislature and the legislature takes no action, that initiative goes right to the ballot.

“That’s what we did with the Voter’s Not Politicians initiative, and that’s what we did with the marijuana,” Sneller said. “We took no action.”

Earlier the week of Sneller’s Sept. 7 coffee hour, the other initiatives involved raising the minimum wage to $12 by 2022 and providing sick leave time for any workers, including minimum wage workers. This required employers to give employees an hour of sick leave time for each 30 hours they worked.

“Rather than just do nothing and let that go right to the ballot, the republicans decided we were going to pass that initiative,” Sneller said. “So, by taking it off the ballot and making it legislative, what they did is undermine the voter intent and certainly the petition circulators. If we took no action, it would have gone on just like the signatures, just like Secretary of State. The Board of Canvassers approved it.”

Sneller did not want to vote for the legislation involving minimum wage.

“I firmly believe when you petition your government that is the purest form of democracy,” he said.

Sneller described what the Republican-controlled Michigan legislature did Sept. 5.

“What they did is they put the ballot initiatives up there as a piece of legislation,” he said. “So, either you voted yes on it or voted no on it. What they did is try to play tricksters with the voters. I voted yes even though I didn’t want to. I wanted it to go to ballot for everyone to sign the initiative. That wasn’t the option I was given.”

Michigan’s hourly minimum wage is $9.25 and, starting in 2019, it is currently set to increase annually with inflation unless the unemployment rate is high. If the new law stays intact, the wage will rise to $10 in 2019, $10.65 in 2020, $11.35 in 2021 and $12 in 2022, with yearly inflationary adjustments afterward.

Sneller believes if the voters would have decided the ballot initiative would have likely passed.

“At any time now, when it’s not a ballot initiative but a legislative initiative, they can look back and change it,” Sneller said. “I’ve read where some of the republicans have said after the elections, we can go out and change it, which so undermines democracy. It’s appalling.”

Ken Gay, a Burton resident and retired teacher in the Bentley Community Schools district who was at Sneller’s recent coffee hour, said though the new legislation looks good, in the long run he did not think it would be good for the citizens. He believes tips would be taken away from workers as a result.

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