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Drive to Repeal Emergency Financial Manager Law Nears Its Goal

August 18, 2011

Michigan Forward and allied activist groups across the state are closing in on their goal of collecting signatures to repeal Public Act 4, Snyder’s punitive emergency financial manager law in the state. According to the Detroit Free Press, activists have collected 120,000 of the 161,304 votes they need to send the matter back to the voters. As soon as the necessary signatures are collected, the law will be suspended until the election and there should be a return to the less restrictive, former EFM policy. However, the Free Press noted it is possible that both laws would be suspended entirely; the point is unclear because of a lack of legal precedent.

This has opened the door for conservatives to object on the grounds that the repeal effort would cause “potential mayhem,” as state legislator Jase Bolger of  Marshall called it.

But others would argue that the mayhem is already at work as the EFM in Benton Harbor plans to sell a public park to a development group for a private resort and golf course…the EFM for the Detroit Public Schools is selling 45 of its schools to charter-school companies…the EFM for the city of Ecorse has eliminated half its firefighters…and the EFM for the city of Pontiac disbanded the municipal police force and hired the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office to do the work, apparently after they finish for the day with their county duties. All of these changes were made under Snyder’s expanded Public Act 4 legislation. EFMs are also privatizing services, slashing wages and benefits, and laying off city and school system staff.

Next on the hit list: the city of Detroit—with Mayor David Bing petitioning Governor Snyder to be appointed the EFM there, according to one of his assistants—and the Highland Park School System.

Michigan Forward has announced that the allied groups collecting signatures have until March to gather the remaining ones, and they plan to continue to collect signatures until they have twice as many as they need. This will allow a healthy margin for what will undoubtedly be a vicious defense by the state in discarding as many signatures as possible.

Here in Grand Rapids, we’ve seen little activity regarding the signature drive, and what there has been appears to have been organized at the last minute. Since Grand Rapids is Michigan’s second largest city, it seems the most likely place to turn for the final push to gain the necessary signatures and a margin for error. We plan to keep you updated, and you can also check Michigan Forward’s Facebook page for information.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Patricia permalink
    August 18, 2011 2:14 pm

    This is good news. I would love to see a signature drive here.

  2. Cliff permalink
    August 18, 2011 2:22 pm

    Great to know!

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