emergency manager

Politics & Government
7:36 am
Fri December 7, 2012

In this morning's Michigan news headlines. . .

User: Brother O'Mara flickr

Three right-to-work bills approved

Three right-to-work bills moved forward at the state capitol Thursday. The bills would prohibit unions from collecting fees from nonunion workers. The Michigan House voted to approve right-to-work legislation (HB 4054) for private-sector workers. The Senate passed two right-to-work bills. A measure dealing with private-sector workers (SB 116) passed on a 22-16 vote Thursday after hours of impassioned debate. Moments after it passed, the Senate passed a bill (HB 4003) with similar provisions for government employees. Democrats walked out before the bill was approved on a 22-4 vote. To clarify where these bills came from, the Lansing State Journal reports,

According to legislative records, HB 4054 had been dormant since it was introduced in January 2011, until it was suddenly reported out of committee on Wednesday. SB 116 also had no action since February 2011 before it was brought forward Thursday. House Bill 4003, which the Senate also took up, had had no action for one year prior to Thursday. today.

In other lame duck news. . .

EMERGENCY MANAGER LAW GOES TO HOUSE

"A Michigan House panel has moved a replacement to the state’s Emergency Manager law to the House floor. Voters rejected Public Act Four last month. The replacement would give local governments and school districts more options. They could request an emergency manager. They could reach a consent agreement with the state. They could agree to mediation to construct a recovery plan. Or they could file for municipal bankruptcy," Jake Neher reports

ABORTION BILLS PASS IN SENATE

"The state Senate has passed a bill that bans insurance companies in Michigan from providing coverage for elective abortions. The Senate also approved another bill  to require clinics that do abortions to be licensed as outpatient surgical centers. Both bills now move to the House," Tracy Samilton reports

BILL TO DENY HEALTH COVERAGE FOR RELIGIOUS REASONS PASSES IN SENATE

"A bill in the state Legislature would let health care providers, facilities, or insurers deny service based on religious, moral or ethical objections. The state Senate passed the bill Thursday. The measure would not apply to emergency situations, and providers would have to let patients know where they can go for treatment. It now goes to the state House," Jake Neher reports.

Politics & Government
8:40 am
Thu December 6, 2012

Commentary: Detroit's dysfunction leading to emergency financial manager

I cannot remember any lame duck session of any legislature where lawmakers were trying to do as much in as short a time as they are in Lansing now. They are trying to grapple with vast changes to personal, meaning business, property tax in this state.

They are working on major changes to Blue Cross-- a new regional transportation system for Metropolitan Detroit.

Some vast war over right-to-work legislation is increasingly likely. And now it seems that the lawmakers will be asked to pass some new version of an emergency manager law.

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Politics & Government
7:42 am
Thu December 6, 2012

In this morning's Michigan news headlines. . .

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New emergency manager bill to be rolled out today

A new version of a local  government emergency manager bill will be rolled out today at the state Capitol. It would replace the emergency manager law that was rejected last month by voters, Rick Pluta reports. Under this new version, local governments deemed to be  in a fiscal crisis would have four options:

1. They could reach a consent agreement with the state.

2. They could agree to mediation to come up with a plan to meet the crisis.

3. They could request a state-appointed emergency manager.

4. They could go into Chapter Nine municipal bankruptcy. Under this measure, the state would pick up more of the costs of emergency managers.

Judge rules emergency financial manager law still in effect

"An Ingham County judge has dismissed a legal challenge to Michigan’s controversial Emergency Financial Manager law.  Under the law the governor can appoint a manager to run cities and school districts in ‘financial stress’.  The old law had been repealed when a new law was passed in 2011 giving Emergency Managers broader powers. An Ingham County judge ruled yesterday that the old law went back into effect when the new, tougher law was suspended.  The ruling means the work of Emergency Financial Managers in a handful of Michigan cities and school districts can continue," Steve Carmody reports.

GOP will continue to push for right-to-work even in 2013

Republicans are hoping a right-to-work bill will be passed in the remaining weeks of the lame duck session. Demonstrators gathered in Lansing yesterday to voice opposition against the idea of Michigan becoming the 24th  right-to-work state. But as MLive reports, if a right-to-work bill is not taken up in this session, advocates will put more pressure on the issue in the New Year.

"Advocates pressuring the GOP-controlled Legislature to act now have let it be known they will gather petitions for a voter-initiated right-to-work initiative if nothing is done. If more than 258,000 valid signatures are collected, the House and Senate would have 40 days to enact the law."
 

Politics & Government
1:29 pm
Sat November 24, 2012

Benton Harbor meetings to focus on public safety assessments

BENTON HARBOR, Mich. (AP) - Emergency financial manager Joe Harris says he plans to hold public hearings in Benton Harbor on whether a special assessment should replace an expired public safety millage.

Harris says the city no longer has the money to operate its own police department and that hearings are expected over the next few weeks to get public input on the issue.

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Law
2:14 pm
Mon November 19, 2012

Lawsuit continues: Emergency financial managers not legal

The lawsuit contents emergency financial managers, such as Roy Roberts, are not valid under the law.
Sarah Hulett Michigan Radio

An 'emergency request' has been filed today with the Michigan Supreme Court asking that Detroit Public Schools emergency financial manager Roy Roberts be removed from office.

Highland Park School Board member and union activist Robert Davis argues that the law supporting Roberts' position is no longer valid.

It's an argument the Michigan Court of Appeals disagreed on last week.

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Politics & Government
12:11 pm
Wed November 14, 2012

Commentary: Decision time for Detroit

The election may have settled some things, but it has left the state of Michigan with an overwhelming problem that we have to solve soon, or suffer devastating consequences. Consequences that will affect us all, whether we live in Monroe or Marquette.

And that problem is the City of Detroit. Once again, the troubled and impoverished city is fast running out of cash.

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Politics & Government
8:59 am
Mon November 5, 2012

Flint voters set to decide property tax hike on Tuesday

Flint voters will decide Tuesday whether to support a big property tax increase intended to fund public safety
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

The man leading the ‘vote Yes’ campaign is optimistic Flint voters will approve a big millage increase on Tuesday.

Pastor Timothy Stokes says “at the end of the day, everyone’s concerned about public safety.”

Stokes is the chairman of the ‘Yes to Police and Fire Protection Committee’.  The group has been campaigning for the passage of a six mill property tax increase that’s on Tuesday’s ballot.

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Law
5:16 pm
Mon October 29, 2012

Stateside: Continued Proposal 1 clarification

Stateside's Cyndy Canty spoke with Sarah Hulett about Proposal 1.
Flickr

Earlier this morning, Michigan Radio Assistant News Director Sarah Hulett posted a piece investigating the multifaceted  Proposal 1.

Cyndy spoke with Hulett about the Proposal's details and how it could affect Michigan.

There are two ways you can podcast "Stateside with Cynthia Canty"

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Election 2012
5:00 am
Mon October 29, 2012

Threat to democracy, or safeguard against bankruptcy? Voters decide Proposal 1

Lou Schimmel grew up in Pontiac. Now he's its emergency financial manager.
Sarah Hulett Michigan Radio

Next week, voters will decide whether Michigan’s controversial emergency manager law is the right way for the state to make sure local governments avoid financial collapse.

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Politics & Government
12:53 pm
Mon October 8, 2012

CRC to offer webinar on 3 ballot proposals today at 2pm

The Citizens Research Council has been analyzing the six ballot proposals facing Michigan voters.
CRC

The non-partisan, independent Citizens Research Council has been busy analyzing the six ballot proposals facing Michigan voters.

Today at 2 p.m., they're holding an online "webinar" to discuss proposals 1, 2, and 4.

From the CRC:

CRC will offer summaries of its analyses of the referendum on Public Act 4 of 2011, the proposed constitutional amendments to enshrine the right to collective bargaining in the constitution, and the proposed constitutional amendment to establish the Michigan Quality Home Care Council and provide limited collective bargaining rights to home health care workers.

To take part in the webinar, you can follow this link.

Politics & Government
1:53 pm
Fri September 28, 2012

3 things to know about Emergency Managers, our discussion on Stateside

Yesterday, Cyndy Canty spoke with Flint Mayor Dayne Walling and other experts about Michigan's Emergency Manager Law.
michiganradio.org

Under PA 4, EMs can strip local leaders of their power and do away with union contracts.

The law is being targeted for repeal in a voter referendum.

Michigan voters will either keep it or kill it.

So, what do the people close to the EM law think of it?

Here are three takeaways from yesterday's discussion on Stateside with Cynthia Canty.

1) Today, Michigan's cities have giant infrastructures and tiny budgets

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Politics & Government
7:29 am
Fri September 28, 2012

In this morning's Michigan news headlines. . .

User: Brother O'Mara flickr

Schuette cautious about Blue Cross-Blue Shield overhaul

"Hearings continue at the state Capitol on the future of Blue Cross-Blue Shield of Michigan. Attorney General Bill Schuette showed up to urge a cautious approach to overhauling the state’s largest health insurer. The attorney general would give up a considerable amount of oversight under the plan proposed by Governor Rick Snyder. It would convert Blue Cross from a tax-exempt charity to a member-owned not-for-profit company. Bill Schuette says he wants Blue Cross and its assets audited to make sure this is a fair deal for Michiganders. Schuette says he’s not out to stop the changes. Governor Snyder and Blue Cross executives want the switch done by the end of the year. They say the changes are needed because the new federal health care law will change the mission of the Blues," Rick Pluta reports.

More on the EM saga

The debate over emergency managers and emergency financial managers has been heating up. The Michigan Supreme Court last month ruled a union-backed referendum to repeal the law could go on the ballot. "The leader of the Michigan Senate says he and fellow Republican colleagues are armed with a proposal to replace the state law that lets emergency managers take over local governments in case voters strike it down in November. Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville told The Associated Press yesterday that a draft is under legal review. The behind-the-scenes effort aims to keep a form of the contentious law on the books. Richardville says it acknowledges some concerns by critics, who say it takes too much power from local leaders struggling with budget deficits," the AP reports.

Trying to uncover death of former Teamsters boss

The Department of Environment Equality work to uncover the death of a former Teamsters boss.  "Soil samples will be taken from beneath a Detroit-area driveway in the search for the body of former Teamsters boss Jimmy Hoffa. The Department of Environmental Equality plans to start its work this morning in Roseville. Authorities are investigating a man's claim that he saw a body buried under the driveway 35 years ago," the AP reports.

Politics & Government
6:12 pm
Thu September 27, 2012

Stateside: An in-depth look at Michigan's controversial Emergency Manager Law

Cities like Pontiac are dealing with the affects of Public Act 4--the Emergency Manager Law.
Dave Garvin Flickr

Voters in November will decide the fate of Michigan’s state-imposed remedy for most struggling cities—Public Act 4, also known as the Emergency Manager Law. 

Voting “yes” on the referendum keeps PA4. Voting “no” will repeal it. If that happens, the state says it will revert back to the older PA 72, the Emergency FINANCIAL Manager law. The state is currently operating under that law because Public Act Four is suspended until after voters go the polls.

Currently, seven Michigan cities and school districts are run by state-appointed managers.

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Politics & Government
3:50 pm
Thu September 27, 2012

Group opposed to emergency managers files lawsuit

A lawsuit claims no state-appointed managers should be running Michigan cities or school districts until after voters determine the fate of the emergency manager law in November.

The action was filed today in Lansing by lawyers opposed to emergency managers.

The lawsuit says Governor Rick Snyder lost the authority to name managers to run struggling cities or school districts once the referendum on Public Act Four was put on the November ballot.

That suspended the law enacted last year, but the governor claims authority to name emergency financial managers – with less-sweeping powers – under the law that preceded it.

That makes no sense, said attorney John Philo.

“Something strikes me as very wrong about that. The presumption should be that until the people decide, we go back to our standard form of government, which is elected officials.”

Philo said there’s nothing in law that says we then revive old law to fill the gap.

“We don’t. We go back to our standard form of government, which is elected officials,” said Philo. “We’re almost treating elected officials as an aberrant form of government when we do this. That’s our standard – it’s elected officials. We go back to that until voters have their say in November.”

There are seven Michigan cities and school districts being run by state-appointed financial managers.

The lawsuit says those managers should be ordered to step down and turn their operations over to mayors, city councils, and school boards.

*This post was updated from an earlier version

Newsmaker Interviews
11:00 pm
Tue September 11, 2012

A conversation with Allen Park Mayor William Matakas

Allen Park Mayor William Matakas.

After a review of Allen Park's finances by a state-appointed team, Governor Snyder declared that the city is in a financial emergency. That finding could lead to the appointment of an emergency financial manager to try to get the city on stable financial ground. 

While the Allen Park city council was in favor a state review of the city's finances, the Mayor and the Mayor Pro Tem opposed the request. Mayor William Matakas says he will advise the council to challenge the state's findings.

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Politics & Government
11:08 am
Tue August 28, 2012

Flint leaders intend to challenge current emergency financial manager in court

Michigan Municipal League Flickr

Michigan's emergency manager law has been put on hold.

Its fate will be decided by voters this November.

In the meantime, cities and school districts once ruled by emergency managers now have emergency financial managers overseeing their budgets.

Public Act 72 was revived when Public Act 4 went up on the shelf.

Flint's City Council voted last night to challenge this rollback in court. Kristin Longley of the Flint Journal reports:

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morning news roundup
7:55 am
Tue August 28, 2012

In this morning's Michigan news headlines. . .

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Ballot campaigns going to court

Three ballot campaigns are heading to court to try to get on the November ballot. They are the campaign to allow eight new non-tribal casinos in Michigan, to require public votes on any new international bridges, and to make the Legislature come up with super-majorities to raise any taxes. All three campaigns were blocked by the state elections panel because of wording used in the ballot language.

Canadian Auto Workers approve a strike

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Government
4:16 pm
Fri August 24, 2012

Using emergency loans to pay off other loans; some Michigan school districts are doing it

The recession has made it harder for local governments and school districts to balance their budgets. This summer the governor signed a new law creating a board that will help those hardest hit cope with short term cash flow problems.

Earlier this month the emergency financial managers of both Muskegon Heights Public Schools and Highland Park schools got emergency loans to pay off other state loans. MHPS borrowed $7.65 million while Highland Park schools borrowed $4.4 million.

“It’s not a handout; it’s a loan in order to help get people on their feet, in order to make the changes that are necessary going forward,” said Caleb Buhs, a spokesman for Michigan’s Department of Treasury. The school districts have 30 years to pay the state back.

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3:06 pm
Fri August 24, 2012

Ballot proposals aplenty coming this Nov., where Michigan voters stand now

Lead in text: 
This November, voters in Michigan will be asked to decided on around a half-dozen controversial issues. If the election were held today, the The Detroit News has a breakdown on where things would end up. Polls show the emergency manager law would be upheld, as would collective bargaining rights, and the effort to stop a new international bridge would fail.
Lansing - If the election were held today, Michigan's emergency manager law would survive a referendum and voters would narrowly reject the Ambassador Bridge owner's bid to require statewide votes for new bridges and tunnels to Canada, a Detroit News/WDIV-Channel 4 poll shows.
11:40 am
Fri August 17, 2012

Michigan lawmakers hold off on changes to emergency manager law

Lead in text: 
Emergency managers once had significant power in the school districts and cities they were appointed in. They could break union contracts and strip elected leaders of their power. But that changed once the Supreme Court ruled the voter referendum challenging the law could go on the November ballot. The emergency manager law was suspended, so they no longer have their broad powers. MLive reports that it appears the Michigan legislature will wait until November to decided what to do next.
LANSING, MI - Michigan lawmakers appear content to leave the state's suspended emergency manager law alone, at least for now, as voters prepare to decide the fate of the measure in November. The Legislature met this week without addressing Public Act 4 of 2011, or its predecessor law from the 1990 known as Public Act 72.

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