In an Ingham County court today, Michigan citizens filed a lawsuit seeking an injunction against Michigan’s Emergency Manager Law.
The law was enacted by Michigan’s Republican controlled legislature in April, and has caused a massive uproar with citizens seeking to recall legislators, Gov. Rick Snyder, and a repeal of the law itself. From the Michigan Messenger:
The Local Government and School District Fiscal Accountability Act allows the governor to appoint Emergency Managers to take over local units of government, fire elected officials, sell off or privatize community assets and even dissolve whole cities.
The measure was rushed through the Republican-controlled legislature this spring as a move to protect against widespread municipal bankruptcies, with some of its supporters referring to it as “financial martial law.”
But in legal arguments filed in court this morning a group of 25 plaintiffs say the right of citizens to elect their local officials is guaranteed in the state Constitution and financial stress is not a legitimate ground for scrapping the democratic process.
“This is an infringement on basic democracy,” said plaintiffs attorney John Philo of the Sugar Law Center for Economic and Social Justice. “It really is an experiment in a new form of government — one person rule.”
The complaint alleges that the law “violates the rights of local voters by attempting to delegate law-making power and the power to adopt local acts to unelected emergency mangers, by suspending the rights of local electors to establish charters and to elect local officials, and by imposing substantial new costs and expenses upon local municipalities without providing new revenue,” the group argues.
The law is so extreme, the plaintiffs say, that it “establishes a new form of local government, previously unknown within the United States or the State of Michigan, where the people within local municipalities may be governed by an unelected official who establishes local law by decree.”
Please note: The term “Emergency Financial Manager” is extinct. The correct term is now “Emergency Manager”, the qualifier, “financial”, having been removed. It really shouldn’t have been there to begin with since the law granted such broad authority to the EM, not just financial authority.