LANSING (WWJ/AP) – The State Board of Canvassers isn’t putting a measure that would repeal Michigan’s sweeping emergency manger law on the November ballot.
The four-member board deciding whether to send the issue to voters split 2-2 along party lines Thursday. The tie means the measure doesn’t get on the ballot.
Elections staff said the Stand Up for Democracy coalition collected 203,238 valid voter signatures, about 40,000 more than needed.
However, the board couldn’t agree on the validity of a challenge to the proposal from a group that said the petitions weren’t legal because the heading was printed in a smaller type size than required.
Even though Elections Director Chris Thomas said the group supporting repeal had submitted enough signatures to get the issue before the voters, the measure needed three votes to get on the ballot.
WWJ’s Florence Walton reports the attorney for the challenger, Citizens for Fiscal Responsibility, gave the board affidavits from printers saying the print size didn’t comply with state law.
However, Stand Up For Democracy attorney Herb Sanders brought along two printers that testified that the print size was legally correct.
“The affidavit presented by the challengers is minimally disingenuous and borderline perjury,” Sanders said.
WWJ Lansing Bureau Chief Tim Skubick said this fight is not over. He said supporters of the ballot measure will take this to the courts.
“Now, recall that organized labor wants to put this on the ballot to basically repeal the law. But the business community, the governor’s supporters, want to keep it off the ballot,” said WWJ Lansing Bureau Chief Tim Skubick.
“The Board of Canvassers voting 2 to 2 does not end this story,” Skubick said. “Round one goes to the governor, but round two will now be in the courts, where they will argue the legitimacy of the petitions that were turned in.”
As enacted, the state’s new emergency manager law allows the governor to take over a local government or school district by appointing an emergency manager to assume the authority and responsibility of locally elected officials. It includes the power to terminate collective bargaining agreements and even dissolve a unit of government.
Critics say the law gives unconstitutional power to state-appointed emergency managers, who have authority to toss out union contracts and strip power from locally elected officials.
Supporters of the law say it’s needed to provide the tools to fix financial problems that locally elected leaders have been unable to fix themselves.
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