The Michigan Board of State Canvassers today rejected a petition drive that would have put the state's emergency manager law on the November ballot. The board's staff had reported that the petitioners had collected enough signatures, and recommended that the board deny a challenge on the basis that the petition's type size might be too small. That challenge came from a project living inside the same Republican consulting firm with a partner on the board… [T]he board voted two-two, on party lines, meaning the petitions were toast. They had been signed by more than 200,000 Michigan voters. Eclectablog, a Democrat activist and blogger, was in the room. He writes: "The vote was followed by chants of 'SHAME! SHAME! SHAME!' " And this: "After the vote, the room erupted. I apologize for the blurriness of this photo but it was pandemonium." An attorney for the group trying to overturn the emergency manager law tells us he'll file an appeal as early as Monday. "We had hoped that they would put democracy ahead of party allegiance, but we did not find that in this case," Herb Sanders said.
About Michigan's Emergency Manager Law (via StandUp4Democracy):
The Emergency Manager law allows the governor to declare a local government or school district in financial distress and appoint an emergency manager to take control. Emergency managers are nelected bureaucrats are unaccountable to local taxpayers and have unchecked, unprecedented power. Under this law, they can:
* seize and sell assets owned by the city, such as buildings or parks, without the approval of voters or local elected officialsThe unelected bureaucrats would be empowered to write the local government's budget and all its contracts for two years AFTER they are gone. No input from local residents, no collective bargaining.
* add to local debt, by putting property tax hikes on the ballot with confusing wording that hides the real cost of the tax hike
* outsource to private and out of state companies
* lay off thousands of public employees including teachers, police and firefighters
* change or terminate the contract of city or school district employees
* suspend contracts and collective bargaining agreements
* eliminate collective bargaining rights for up to 5 years
* fire elected officials, and
* dissolve or merge whole cities, counties and school districts