If We Vote “NO”

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    Just in case voters decided to vote down Proposal 1—that’s Public act 4, also known as the emergency manager law—there is new, similar legislation being crafted.

    Michigan’s Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville (R-SD17) told the Associated Press that he and some of his republican counterparts have crafted a replacement for the controversial state law that mandates an emergency manager take control of broke municipalities and schools.

     Richardville said the newly drafted legislation is tweaked to address some issues critics have expressed with the original law and will serve as backup on the heels of the Nov. 6 vote.

    The move comes after numerous polls have shown that statewide voters are sharply divided on the law, with no solid data the vote will be upheld or struck down. 

    Richardville told the Associated Press:

    “If something happened like that bill was overturned, I think the Legislature would have to be ready to respond and to still deal with the emergency. You can eliminate the financial manager from the emergency financial manager legislation, but you can’t remove the emergency.

    Richardville’s alternative to PA4 so far has been low key, as neither Gov. Rick Snyder, nor Republican House leaders have mentioned anything about it.

    The Michigan Supreme Court ruled to suspend the EM law and put it on the ballot in November as Proposal 1.

    The law was passed last year by the Michigan Legislature and signed by Snyder 

    A draft of the alternative emergency manager bill is currently under legal review.

     

    SOUNDING OFF:

    Meanwhile, the debate over Porposal 1, the ballot measure that asked voters to uphold or smash the original EM law, is heating up. 

    In a live chat on Mlive.com, two state lawmakers, Senator Bert Johnson and State Rep. Al Pscholka, submitted strong opinions on the topic:

     

     

    State Rep. Al Pscholka (R-Stevensville) sponsored the legislation that is now PA4 and he continues to be a strong supporter of the measure.

     

    Pscholka:

    “I know folks like to call it the Emergency Manager law, the name of the legislation is the Fiscal Accountability Act. 

     

    There is an easy way to avoid this legislation – pay your bills, don’t take on huge debt, live within your means. That’s 99 percent of the governments in the state. For others, we need an early warning system and the tools to help temporarily.

     

    Our urban policy has to be more sophisticated than “send more money from Lansing.’ It will take a partnership of government, non profits, business, and some real collaboration, not donut and coffee meetings where we all nod our heads about working together.”

     

    He added that some cities and school districts have even asked for state financial management. The Board of Education in Muskegon Heights requested an emergency manager, rather than having one imposed.

     

    “Allen Park also asked for financial review. That is part of the process, which includes a local review team, a state review board, review from the Governor and Treasurer.

     

    EM’s are just simply sent into places like critics claim. We need this law to stay so we can help communities before they get to the point of no return financially. Consent agreements and deficit reduction plans are much better. We can get there with a Yes vote on Prop. 1.”

     

    State Senator Bert Johnson (D-Detroit) is a vocal critic of PA4. He has been very public about his strong opinions against the legistlation.

    Johnson:

    “No effort was made to do this in a bipartisan fashion and what we have, quite frankly, is gross government overreach into our local communities. Voters should choose to repeal PA4. The reason is two-fold. 

     

    On the surface, it goes against every Constitutional and democratic principle we claim as Americans: Local control, election of our representatives and no taxation without representation.

    In practice, it has been a failure. It has led to corruption on the part of Emergency Managers. It has allowed for massive privatization, outsourcing of jobs and has in fact put children at risk.

     

    Additionally, the results are all we need to prove this point. Cities and school districts under an Emergency Manager have not improved. A No vote on Proposal 1 will return some semblance of our democratic rights and will allow us to, hopefully, return to the drawing board to create a better law – one which does not infringe on our Constitutional rights.

     

    Both sides seem to make good points. What do you think?

     

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