Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder signed legislation yesterday to raise the state's minimum wage by 25% gradually over the next four years to $9.25 an hour, as Republicans controlling the state government moved to head off a November ballot measure that could have raised pay even more. The move came a day before a group of labor and community organizers planned to submit 300,000 signatures calling for a Michigan ballot initiative to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour. The current hourly minimum is $7.40; the Detroit Free Press notes that some workers could see a pay hike by Sept. 1.
"We know this is the only Republican conservative Legislature to consider an increase in the minimum wage, and that's a direct result of our work on the campaign," says a rep for Raise Michigan, which is leading the ballot drive and still plans to turn in the signatures today. The Michigan House voted 76-34 and the Senate 24-12 for the bill. Roughly half the Republicans in the Legislature voted for it, along with most Democrats. "It’s great to see success like this in the Legislature," said Snyder, a Republican who's up for re-election. "This was a great exercise in bipartisanship." The legislation includes a provision requiring the minimum wage to grow annually with inflation by up to 3.5% starting in 2019. It also would increase the wage for workers who get tips to 38% of the minimum wage, from $2.65 currently, to $3.52. (Read more Michigan stories.)