Elections panel to consider minimum wage, wolf hunting petition drives

Jul 24, 2014

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   A state elections board will decide Thursday whether to approve petitions seeking to create two new laws. One would allow wolf hunting in the Upper Peninsula. The other would boost the state’s minimum wage to $10.10 an hour.             

Opponents of the minimum wage drive have prepared several challenges. One of them says the petition drive is no longer valid because the Legislature repealed the old minimum wage law and replaced it with a new one. The campaign to boost the minimum wage to 10 dollars and 10 cents an hour says rejecting the petitions would disenfranchise thousands of voters who signed them.

The business-backed People Protecting Michigan Jobs says it’s also found enough instances of duplicate signatures to put the minimum wage campaign below the 2,214 threshold to qualify to move ahead.

“We are confident that the arguments we intend to make at the Board of Canvassers hearing will prevent this job-killing petition from reaching the ballot,” said Brian DeBano of the Michigan Restaurant Association. The MRA is particularly opposed to a portion of the minimum wage initiative that would match the tipped worker’s wage to the minimum wage.

An analysis by the state Bureau of Elections says both the minimum wage campaign and the effort to allow wolf hunting have collected the necessary signatures to qualify. If the Board of State Canvassers agrees, the questions would go to the Legislature for adoption, or to the November ballot. The board’s decisions could also be challenged in court.

This is the third time the hunting issue has come before the board. This petition drive is an effort to counter the two referendums on wolf hunting that are already on the November ballot. This third initiative would amend Michigan’s hunting law to change how game species are selected, and to ensure wolf hunting in the UP is still allowed.