The ACLU of Michigan filed a brief today urging the Michigan Supreme Court to reject the legislature’s attempt to undermine the will of the voters by removing citizen-led proposals from the ballot through an anti-democratic maneuver known as “adopt and amend.”
In 2018, citizens collected enough signatures to place initiatives on the ballot that would raise the minimum wage to $12 per hour for all Michigan workers and guarantee one hour of sick time for 30 hours worked. But instead of allowing citizens to vote on these important measures at the November 2018 election, the Michigan legislature adopted them into law in order to keep them off the ballot—and then proceeded to gut them as soon as the election was over.
This cynical move is unconstitutional and had never been done before. The Michigan Constitution gives citizens the right to propose laws that must either be adopted by the legislature or voted on by the electorate, the ACLU’s brief explains. “It therefore violates the Constitution for the Legislature to do what it did here: ‘adopt’ the people’s proposal—with no intention of allowing it to become law—and then snuff out that proposal during the same legislative session.”
The case will be argued in the Michigan Supreme Court on July 17. The ACLU of Michigan was joined on the brief by the League of Women Voters of Michigan and the American Association of University Women of Michigan.
The ACLU’s brief is below.