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Michigan Voters Reject Emergency Manager Law

Victory for both unions and democracy

- Common Dreams staff

In a victory for unions and grassroots organizers, Michigan voters rejected the controversial Emergency Manager Law or Public Act 4 of 2011 which bequeathed a state-appointed manager with sweeping powers including the ability to get rid of union contracts, dissolve local governments, sell public utilities and slash budgets in fiscally-troubled communities.

Union members rallied at the state house last March against the Emergency Manager Law. (Photo by Greg Deruiter / Lansing State Journal) The Detroit Free Press is reporting that, with 93 percent of precincts in, Michigan voted 52% to 48% against keeping the contentious law, which had been suspended since August when opponents of the bill won a court decision to have the referendum placed on Tuesday's ballot.

The coalition against the measure, Stand Up For Democracy, said the legislation was a fundamental attack on democracy. With "over half of the state's African-American population under an emergency manager or consent agreement," Public Act 4 deprived citizens of local control. Stand Up For Democracy had amassed over 200,000 signatures so that voters could weigh in on the controversial law.