LANSING (WWJ/AP) – A state board will meet Wednesday after being directed by the Michigan Supreme Court to put a possible repeal of the emergency manager law on the November ballot.
Once the referendum is placed on the ballot, the 2011 law will be suspended. An older law that grants fewer powers to managers will take its place.
A union-backed group called Stand Up for Democracy collected more than 200,000 signatures to get the referendum in the Nov. 6 election. In a 4-3 decision last week, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the group in a dispute over type size on the petitions.
The Board of State Canvassers will meet Wednesday at 2:30 p.m. in the Capitol.
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 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.
Emergency managers are in place in Benton Harbor, Flint, Pontiac and Ecorse, as well as in public schools in Detroit, Highland Park and Muskegon Heights.
Although Detroit doesn’t have a manager, the possibility of appointing one led Mayor Dave Bing and the city council to sign a consent agreement with the governor that put several strict requirements in place to repair the city’s finances.
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