Improved bill to raise Michigan’s minimum wage to $9.25/hour by 2018 goes to Governor’s desk


After the Republican-led House Government Operations Committee passed a terrible substitute to S.B. 934 that only raise the minimum wage to an insulting $8.50/hour and strips out indexing the minimum wage to inflation, the full House passed a version (pdf) that is much closer to the original bill passed by the Senate this afternoon on a 76-34 vote. Shortly thereafter, the Senate concurred on a 24-12 vote and the bill now goes to Governor Snyder to be signed into law which is expected to happen before dinner time tonight.

All of this is all happening one day before Raise Michigan organizers are set to submit their petitions to put the issue to voters. Since the bill was passed with immediate effect, Republicans appear to have effectively killed the ballot proposal effort by eliminating the law the ballot initiative would have affected assuming that Governor Snyder signs it into law before tomorrow morning. The fate of the ballot initiative is uncertain if that happens. [NOTE: Governor Snyder did, indeed, sign the bill that night.]

The new law will raise the minimum wage to $8.15/hour in September, to $8.50/hour in January 2016, to $8.90/hour in January 2017 and to $9.25/hour in January 2018. After that the minimum wage will be indexed according to the Consumer Price Index to allow it ro rise with inflation up 3.5% per year.

For tipped employees, the minimum wage will be 38% of the prevailing minimum wage starting in September.

The legislation was passed with bipartisan support. House Democratic Leader Tim Greimel issued the following statement:

Michigan families are working harder than ever, and they deserve a raise. I’m thankful for the groundswell of grassroots support for a minimum raise increase, which spurred the Legislature into action. This will go a long way to bringing relief to families who have been struggling for years to make ends meet. This bill moves us closer toward making economic security a reality for Michigan families.

Michigan Democratic Party Chair Lon Johnson had this to say:

I’m thrilled to see bipartisan support in the state House for Mark Schauer’s proposal to increase the minimum wage to $9.25 an hour, and fix future increases to the rate of inflation. Michigan families work hard and play by the rules, and giving them a raise by increasing the minimum wage shows that in Michigan, we value hard work.Republicans’ attempted underhanded tactics to block the ballot proposal from moving forward shouldn’t blur the fact that Democrats in the legislature won a substantial increase in the minimum wage today. Mark Schauer, Democrats in the legislature and the Raise Michigan campaign have been leading on this issue for months. Now it’s time for Republican Gov. Snyder to get on board with what he thinks isn’t a ‘burning issue.’

Finally, Democratic candidate for Governor Mark Schauer, who proposed a minimum wage increase that is nearly identical to the one passed today, released this statement:

Last November, I proposed raising the minimum wage to $9.25 because nobody who works full time should be living in poverty. Today I’m pleased to see the Michigan House approve this common-sense legislation. Raising the minimum wage to $9.25 and tying it to inflation will give a meaningful raise to more than 1 million Michigan workers, and help strengthen our economy. I have led on this issue. Now it’s time for Governor Snyder to get off the sidelines and signal his intent to sign this bill into law.

As I have said before, it’s fascinating to watch the Democratic candidate for Governor providing such clear and decisive leadership on this important issue before we’ve even had the midterm primary election. Governor Snyder has been no friend to workers and has made his corporatist positions well known. Without Mark Schauer’s leadership and the hard work and passion of the Raise Michigan organizers and volunteers, none of this would have happened. I tip my hat to all of them.

UPDATE: LOL. Look how happy everyone is about this bipartisan effort (from the press conference announcing the bill’s passage of both chambers):

Governor Snyder claimed in the press conference he doesn’t see it as an effort to scuttle the ballot initiative. He can’t even be honest about it. Leadership!