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Board delays certification votes on minimum wage and earned sick time ballot proposals

"Vote here" sign
Mark Brush
Michigan Radio
A polling location in Ann Arbor, Mich.

Tensions were high at a Board of State Canvassers meeting over ballot initiatives to increase the state’s minimum wage and to require employers offer earned sick time.

The board was ready to decide whether to certify the proposals, but an attorney for a business group that opposes the measures told the board a technicality prevented the board from legally voting on it Thursday. So the Board went to recess without a vote until the next day.

Doctor Alicia Renee Farris is with Michigan One Fair Wage. That’s the group behind the initiative to increase the state’s minimum wage.

“It’s certainly an effort to run out the clock and to suppress votes and to disenfranchise voters," she said. "There’s no other way to look at this.”

Several business groups oppose the measures. They’ve filed challenges with the board against both groups. One of their challenges is that there are problems with the groups’ signatures.

Danielle Atkinson is with the earned sick time proposal. She said she’s confident they have enough valid signatures, and this is something voters want to see on the ballot.

“So that we can ensure that two million people are able to not miss a paycheck when they stay home to get well,” she said.

The board needs to make a decisions in the next few days in order to avoid risking missing deadlines to make the November ballot. The board’s staff recommended it certify both proposals. 

Before becoming the newest Capitol reporter for the Michigan Public Radio Network, Cheyna Roth was an attorney. She spent her days fighting it out in court as an assistant prosecuting attorney for Ionia County. Eventually, Cheyna took her investigative and interview skills and moved on to journalism. She got her masters at Michigan State University and was a documentary filmmaker, podcaster, and freelance writer before finding her home with NPR. Very soon after joining MPRN, Cheyna started covering the 2016 presidential election, chasing after Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, and all their surrogates as they duked it out for Michigan. Cheyna also focuses on the Legislature and criminal justice issues for MPRN. Cheyna is obsessively curious, a passionate storyteller, and an occasional backpacker. Follow her on Twitter at @Cheyna_R
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