Speedy vote sought on Michigan law repeal

Reuters News
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Posted: Jun 20, 2012 5:50 PM
Speedy vote sought on Michigan law repeal
(Reuters) - A group behind a petition drive to repeal a law that gives Michigan more control over local governments filed a motion on Wednesday asking for quick action to force the measure onto the November ballot.The labor-backed Stand Up for Democracy coalition filed the motion with the Michigan Appeals Court, asking it within seven days to compel state election officials to certify the measure for the November 6 statewide ballot.The law, known as Public Act 4, boosted the ability of Michigan to intervene in financially troubled local governments and school districts. It also gave state-appointed emergency managers who run the governments and schools the ability to void collective bargaining agreement.A decision by the court last week not to revisit a precedent-setting ruling in a previous case ultimately gave the repeal of the 2011 emergency manager law the green light for the ballot because the type size on petitions circulated for the measure substantially complied with state requirements.Another group, Citizens for Fiscal Responsibility, had contested the measure on the basis of erroneous type size. That group has said it plans to ask the Michigan Supreme Court to keep the law's repeal off the ballot."It is clear that the right wing in Michigan government is seeking to run out the clock with their delaying tactics," Melvin "Butch" Hollowell, an attorney for the NAACP's Detroit branch, said in a statement."A quarter of a million voters signed this petition. The Court of Appeals ordered that it should be on the ballot. Now, nearly a week later, there has been no movement to comply with the law. This is unacceptable," said Hollowell, who filed the motion for the coalition.A tie vote by a state election panel in April over the petition's type size stopped the measure from being placed on the ballot and prompted proponents to turn to the appeals court to force the repeal on the ballot.In Wednesday's filing, the court was asked to give state election officials 18 hours to schedule a meeting to certify the law's repeal for the ballot.Parts of an April financial stability agreement between Detroit and the state depend on the law, which would be suspended should repeal make the ballot.Four cities and three school districts currently have emergency managers.(Reporting By Karen Pierog; Editing by Kenneth Barry)