McCall Hamilton Advocacy and Public Affairs

Updates About Lower Court Rulings

Michigan’s 1931 Abortion Ban Law Injunction Remains in Place

Update: Jul 25-Aug 5, 2022

Michigan continues to grapple with the new reproductive health landscape in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe vs. Wade and Planned Parenthood vs. Casey.

Most recently, on July 29, Court of Claims Judge Elizabeth Gleicher, who issued the injunction temporarily blocking the state’s 1931 abortion ban, denied a motion from Republicans in the Legislature to disqualify her from the case Planned Parenthood vs. Attorney General, challenging the constitutionality of the 1931 law. Concerns from Republicans stemmed from Judge Gleicher’s previous ties to Planned Parenthood and personal campaign contributions to Governor Gretchen Whitmer and Attorney General Dana Nessel.

On Monday, August 1, pro-choice advocates were dealt a temporary blow when the Court of Appeals ruled that the abortion ban does not apply to local county prosecutors (who are not under the jurisdiction of the Michigan Attorney General), potentially opening the door for felony charges to be brought against physicians who perform abortions. Hours later, however, Oakland County Circuit Court Judge Jacob Cunningham granted Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s request for a temporary restraining order to prohibit enforcement of Michigan’s 1931 statute criminalizing abortion. In effect, local county prosecutors remain prohibited from criminally prosecuting abortion in Michigan while the order is pending.

During a hearing on August 3 in the Oakland County Circuit Court, the restraining order was extended and another hearing on August 17 was scheduled. It is possible the order could be extended for an indeterminate period of time. Separately, Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s newest filing calls on the Supreme Court to immediately consider the April lawsuit which asked the court to decide if the state’s constitution protects the right to abortion.

Judge Grants Employers Time to Implement Minimum Wage and Paid Sick Time Laws

Update: Jul 25-Aug 5, 2022

On Friday, July 29, Court of Claims Judge Douglas Shapiro granted a stay of his ruling in Mothering Justice vs. Dana Nessel until February 2023.

The decision in Mothering – issued on July 19 – found that the Legislature violated the constitution when in 2018 it amended two citizen initiatives. One initiative would raise the minimum wage to $12 per hour over a period of years with an inflation adjustment in place once the maximum was reached. It would also eliminate the lower tipped minimum wage. A separate initiative would allow employees to earn one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked up to a maximum of 72 hours per year.

The purpose of the stay granted by Judge Shapiro is to give employers time to implement the necessary changes to comply with the new laws.

Court of Claims Ruling Restores Original 2018 Minimum Wage and Paid Sick Time Laws

Update: Jul 11-22, 2022

On July 19, Court of Claims Judge Douglas Shapiro ruled in Mothering Justice vs. Dana Nessel that the Legislature violated the Michigan Constitution when, in 2018, it amended two citizen initiatives. One initiative would raise the minimum wage to $12 per hour over a period of years with an inflation adjustment in place once the maximum was reached. It would also eliminate the lower tipped minimum wage. A separate initiative would allow employees to earn one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked up to a maximum of 72 hours per year.

Prior to the 2018 election, the Republican-led legislature took up and passed the two ballot proposals, thus preventing them from going before voters. After the election, the Legislature then voted to amend the ballot proposals, effectively limiting the pool of employers subject to the law to those with 50 or more employees and reducing the sick time hours that could be earned.

The judge ruled that nothing in the Michigan Constitution empowers the Legislature to adopt and amend an initiative petition in the same legislative session, and that doing so effectively undermines the ability of voters to decide.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel and other groups like the AFL-CIO praised the order. While several groups from the business community, including the Michigan Chamber of Commerce and the Michigan Restaurant and Lodging Association, warned the ruling could have a crippling effect on employers and employees.

A stay is expected to be filed. Business groups may also choose to appeal.