On November 6, Michigan voters rejected their state's emergency manager law. By a margin of 52 to 48, they repealed the statute that allowed Michigan state government to take over struggling towns with a single appointed overseer. That person can then uproot the local democracy, firing elected officials, canceling union contracts, selling off the town's assets and even moving to dissolve the town itself. The day after voters repealed that law, Governor Rick Snyder signaled that he was ready to pass a new one.
Today, he signed it. The press release from his office includes this:
"This legislation demonstrates that we clearly heard, recognized and respected the will of the voters," Snyder said.
Michigan's new emergency manager law does give towns more choices about the deal with being broken, though until some of them go through the process, there's no way to know if those choices are really just "choices." The new law also opens the possibility for the town firing the emergency manager after a year. And the new law is much harder for citizens to repeal than the old one, because Republicans including spending in the measure -- much the way they wrote spending into the anti-union legislation passed earlier this month.
Michigan Republicans are trying to push the replacement emergency manager law as more democratic, so long as that democracy doesn't extend to citizens voting it down. (Image: Governor Snyder's approval rating before and after passing so-called Right to Work.)