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The Latest: GOP lawmakers ask high court to rule on laws

February 20, 2019

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — The Latest on Michigan’s new minimum wage and paid sick time laws (all times local):

2:55 p.m.

Republican lawmakers are asking the Michigan Supreme Court to rule on the constitutionality of their unprecedented strategy to preemptively approve citizen-initiated minimum wage increases and paid sick leave requirements and then water down the laws after the election.

The move Wednesday comes a week after a Democratic senator requested Democratic Attorney General Dana Nessel’s legal opinion on the maneuver. If she determines that the tactic was illegal, the more generous minimum wage and earned sick day laws could take effect March 28, though a lawsuit would likely be filed.

It is rare for the high court to issue an advisory opinion, which could pre-empt any court challenge against the laws.

Republicans say getting a high court opinion soon would avoid lengthy litigation and clear up the matter for businesses and workers.

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10:25 a.m.

The Republican-led Michigan Senate is asking the state Supreme Court to rule on the legality of an unprecedented maneuver by which citizen-initiated minimum wage and paid sick leave laws were watered down.

The Senate on Wednesday sought an advisory opinion from the justices, an attempt to bypass what could be lengthy litigation. The move comes after a Democratic senator asked Democratic Attorney General Dana Nessel to advise whether the strategy was constitutional.

To prevent the measures from going to the electorate in November, after which they would have been much harder to change if voters had passed them, Republicans legislators preemptively approved them so they could be pared back with simple majority votes and the signature of then-Gov. Rick Snyder.

The minimum wage and leave laws take effect next month.

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