Michigan Supreme Court Orders Emergency Manager Measure Onto Ballot
The ballot initiative to repeal Michigan's onerous, anti-democratic Emergency Manager law will go on the November ballot, the Michigan Supreme Court ruled Friday. The repeal campaign had collected enough signatures, only to be faced with a challenge to the font size on the petitions. The State Board of Canvassers was deadlocked along partisan lines over the font size question, but at the Supreme Court, one Republican joined Democrats in voting to approve the measure's inclusion on the ballot, though on different grounds (whichEclectablog analyzes).
Four justices agreed to direct "the Board of State Canvassers to certify Stand Up For Democracy's petition for the ballot."
Once the board certifies the petitions, Public Act 4 will be suspended until voters decide in the November general election whether to repeal the law. That would cast a cloud of uncertainty over emergency managers and financial review teams appointed under the act in cities and school districts across the state.
The Board of State Canvassers could meet as early as next week to place the referendum on the ballot and suspend the law, said board chairwoman Julie Matuzak, a Democrat.
Public Act 4, the law up for repeal, is an expansion of an earlier Emergency Manager law. Under it, the governor can appoint an emergency manager to take over the finances of troubled cities and towns, cutting what they want, scrapping contracts with city workers, and selling off assets. Emptywheel has argued that the law has a disproportionate impact on African-Americans.
Public Policy Polling asked voters about the ballot measure recently, and found repeal trailing by a 41 to 31 margin.