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NAACP: Emergency Manager Repeal Belongs On Ballot

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DETROIT (WWJ/AP) – The Detroit branch NAACP, along with local clergy and attorneys for “Stand Up for Democracy” are asking federal officials to force the state to place on November’s ballot a petition that would repeal Michigan’s emergency manager law.

The groups are hoping that U.S. Attorney Eric Holder and U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade light a fire under the State Supreme Court. The Court has not yet approved petitions to get the question repealing the law on the ballot.

NAACP President Reverend Wendell Anthony said justice delayed is justice denied.

“We’re concerned that ‘poli-tricks’ and the effort to delay justice for the people is operating in this process,” said Anthony. “We have gone before the Board of Canvassers, we have gone before the Michigan Court of Appeals, we have gone before the Michigan Supreme Court and yet we still have no justice.”

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 Michigan Supreme Court appeal.

As enacted, the state’s new emergency manager law (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 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.

(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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.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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