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Paid leave petition gets OK from state board

person writing on paper
Recalls are not an easy thing to pull off

Employers in Michigan would have to let workers earn paid sick days under a petition drive that got the OK to start collecting signatures. A state elections board says the petition meets all the technical requirements of Michigan campaign laws.

A similar drive to put paid sick time on the November ballot folded this past spring.

“We didn’t have enough signatures,” said Danielle Atkinson, one of the organizers with Raise Michigan. “Unfortunately, it takes a lot of money to get an issue on the ballot, and we just fell short.”

She says the effort will be better prepared as it aims for the 2018 ballot.

“We have more volunteers. We have more coalition partners, and we saw with both presidential conventions there were mentions of it, of the need for more policies that help working class families.”

The measure would require employers to offer an hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked with different caps on employee sick days for large and small businesses. Business groups largely oppose it.

Atkinson says no launch date has been set for the petition drive. She’d like to start collecting signatures while the weather is warm and political campaigns are talking about ways to help workers. Once the first name goes on a petition, the campaign has 180 days to collect more than 250,000 signatures of registered voters.

If the campaign succeeds, the question would go first to the Legislature. If lawmakers fail to adopt it, the proposal would go on the November 2018 ballot.

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.
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