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Senate Passes Emergency Financial Manager Legislation

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LANSING (WWJ) -  Michigan lawmakers have approved a measure giving broad new powers to emergency financial managers who take over struggling cities and school districts. 

The Republican-led Senate passed a main bill in the package by a 26-12 party-line vote Wednesday afternoon.

So, what happens next? WWJ Lansing Bureau Chief Tim Skubick explains.

“With the Senate approval it goes back to the House.  The House has an option to go along with what the Senate said. It made some changes. If that is the case,  it goes to the Governor. If they make changes, it goes back to the Senate and eventually to the Governor. He’s poised to sign this thing,” Skubick said.

“Democrats don’t like it, labor is upset, but the Republicans say this is the right thing to do to avoid bankruptcies for essential services and for the teaching of our kids,” he said.

Governor Rick Snyder called for the move during his State of the State Address. 

“Anytime you have a manager come into place it’s a failure point. The best answer, and that was part of the point of the leglsiation that we asked for, is to put in a much better early warning system.  To figure out how to work with communites before they reach the point of needing a financial manager,” Snyder said, Wednesday.

The vote comes one day after about 1,000 union members and supporters protested the bill on the front lawn of the state capital.

“It’s union busting. We’re trying to protect our members and the middle class. I think they’re at risk under this legislation,” said Bill Black, Michigan Teamsters.

In response to union concerns, Republican Senator Phil Pavlov said the measure is meant to preserve jobs, not get rid of them.

“If they’ll read the legislation then they’ll know there’s a lot of early warning devices in this bill that avoid any ends,” Pavlov said.

Iris Salters from the National Education Association was among Tuesday’s protestors. “It’s again a way to say to labor, you don’t count. It’s a way to say to employees, get back. I believe it’s just like being in the slave days,” she said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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