2023 in Michigan could see $15 minimum wage, right-to-work repeal

Removing the means test for food stamps is also on the Democrats’ wish list

To understand what’s possible in Lansing in 2023, when Democrats control the Capitol for the first time in 40 years, you can take one of two approaches.

You can scour through, finding bills introduced by Democrats, with many co-sponsors, that got no traction in the current Republican-controlled legislature. Or you could check the Twitter account of State Sen. Dayna Polehanki, D-Livonia, who, on election night told Michigan exactly what the future holds.

As the senator tweeted Wednesday morning, in the afterglow of victory: “ We got ALL the gavels. Get ready for some cha-cha-cha-changes here in Michigan.”

“Good news, labor!” Polehanki added. “Union-busting ‘Right to Work’ is gonna go bye-bye.”

Polehanki’s tweets are worth reading, both for the roadmap they provide, and the window they give into the mindset of Lansing’s new ruling party. The Democrats will pursue Progress, by any means necessary.

In March 2021, Rep. Abraham Aiyash, D-Hamtramck, introduced House Bill 4413, which would mandate a state minimum wage of $15 in 2026, up from $9.65. The wage scale would escalate a little each year after that.

How will the dollar amount and the timing be affected by one-party rule in 2023? Will $15 still be the number? Will it be phased-in? Or will Democrats jump in headlong, believing they’ve been given a change mandate?

House Bill 6340, introduced in July by Rep. Felicia Brabec, D-Ann Arbor, would, per “[R]equire the Senate Fiscal Agency to include a disparate impact statement based on race and ethnicity in the summary or analysis produced for a bill amending laws on criminal justice, economic stability, education, employment, health care, housing, or transportation.”

As the legislation reads, “if the bill involves criminal justice, economic stability, education, employment, health care, housing, or transportation, an analysis of whether the bill is likely to have a racially or ethnically disparate impact” is required, to be conducted by the Senate Fiscal Agency.

Senate Bill 725, introduced in March 2021 by State Sen. Jeff Irwin, D-Ann Arbor, would remove means testing for food stamp recipients.

As explains, “the benefit would no longer be limited to beneficiaries who have few or no assets. Under current law and rules food stamp recipients may not have assets worth more than $15,000.”

Soon, there might be no limits — on eligibility, on spending, or on the involvement of state government in every aspect of your life and livelihood.

James David Dickson is managing editor of Michigan Capitol Confidential. Email him at

Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.