voting rights act

 If you are a liberal, you were probably dismayed by the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on the Voting Rights Act Tuesday, and thrilled by the justices’ ruling on same-sex marriage Wednesday.

If you are a conservative, you probably feel exactly the opposite.  Yet things are seldom as black and white as they seem, and like everyone else, Michiganders are apt to see just how complex the effects of these rulings really are, as the consequences of these decisions play out in coming months and years.

Sarah Alvarez / Michigan Radio

Last night, Buena Vista School District held meetings to discuss two important issues.

Overall, while the board made decisions for the 2013-2014 school year assuming the school district would open this coming fall, the future of the district depends on whether or not higher ups decide to dissolve the struggling school system.

First, the board made decisions on the school district’s budget and layoffs.

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This week in Michigan politics, Jack Lessenberry and Emily Fox discuss the state Senate's failure to expand Medicaid before summer recess, how states will be affected by the Voting Rights Act, and legislation in Lansing to re-consider the state's outlaw on same-sex marriage.

You know by now that the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the heart of the Voting Rights Act yesterday. But what you may not know is this: That act was passed by Congress back in 1965 because a white woman from Detroit gave her life in the struggle for civil rights.

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Michigan doesn't need to clear new election laws with the federal government

"The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision striking down a key part of a voting rights law means the state of Michigan will no longer have to clear new election laws with the federal government," Rick Pluta reports.

Two counties, Buena Vista in Saginaw County and Clyde in Allegan county, were covered by the federal Voting Rights Act after failing to provide adequate help to Spanish-speaking voters in the 1970s.

Kevyn Orr denies medical leave for City Council president

Detroit’s emergency manager Kevyn Orr has denied City Council President Charles Pugh's request for medical leave. Pugh has been absent from Council meetings for a few days, and he has not returned phone calls. Orr says Pugh must report to work by 5:00 pm on Wednesday, or be stripped of his salary and responsibilities.

Buena Vista School District lays off most teachers and staff

The Board of Education for the Buena Vista School District near Saginaw approved layoffs for nearly all of its teachers and staff on Tuesday.

"School officials the district will have about $2,000 as of July 5. Board President Randy L. Jackson says the district still is making plans for fall classes. The board approved an application to request a $2.5 million loan from the state to help keep running," according to the Associated Press.

Check back later for more coverage on Michigan's six ballot proposals.
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As Rick Pluta reported earlier, two Michigan townships could be affected by the U.S. Supreme Court's decision on the Voting Rights Act announced today.

The Voting Rights Act requires that the federal government approve any changes to voting procedures in areas with a history of discrimination.

In Michigan, Buena Vista Township and Clyde Township were both required to submit any proposed changes to their voting rules to the U.S. Department of Justice.

The Voting Rights Act covered areas where more than 5% of the population spoke a language other than English. In these areas, bilingual ballots were required. Both Buena Vista Townships and Clyde Townships had Hispanic populations above 5%.

An English-only ballot in these places was considered to be a discriminatory 'device', according to the The New York Times.

Zane McMillin of MLive reports on some of the requirements Clyde Township had to follow:

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In its decision announced this morning, the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday "effectively struck down the heart of the Voting Rights Act of 1965," according to the New York Times.

In a 5-to-4 vote, the court said Congress is relying on outdated voting data in subjecting areas to federal oversight. More from the NYTimes:

Gov. Rick Snyder's administration has placed the city of Flint under an Emergency Manager. Meanwhile, financial reviews are underway for the cities of Inkster and Detroit.

On December 1, Democratic Congressman John Conyers sent a letter to the Justice Department, requesting an immediate review of Michigan’s emergency manager law, arguing that the law is unconstitutional.

Congressman Conyers spoke with Michigan Radio's Jennifer White.