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State Supreme Court Tackles Emergency Manager Issue

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LANSING (WWJ/AP) – The Michigan Supreme Court has finished hearing oral arguments over whether a ballot petition that would repeal a state law designed to right financially troubled cities should go before voters.

Attorneys for Citizens for Fiscal Responsibility argued Wednesday against allowing the emergency manager issue on the November ballot. Attorneys for the Stand Up for Democracy coalition argued it should go to voters.

During nearly two hours of debate in a crowded courtroom, the justices discussed, in detail, issues such as font style, font size and printing point sizes.

A crowd of about 100 gathered outside the Hall of Justice chanted, “The people will never be defeated!”

The deadline to get the wording on the ballot is Sept. 7.

As enacted, Public Act 4 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 an unconstitutional assault on democracy because elected officials are left powerless.

The Stand Up for Democracy coalition submitted over 200,000 valid signatures to put the issue on the ballot. Citizens for Fiscal Responsibility claimed the font size on the petitions was too small.

State canvassers deadlocked and Michigan’s Appeals Court allowed the signatures, prompting the appeal to the state’s high court.

- More on the emergency manager issue -

(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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