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Emergency manager opponents tout petition numbers

Organizers of a campaign to repeal Michigan’s new emergency manager law said they’re in the final stretch of gathering petition signatures.

Herb Sanders is with the group Stand Up For Democracy. He said the organization is getting close to its target of 161,000 voter signatures. That would suspend the law, and possibly the authority of the emergency managers in charge of three cities and one school district.

“We’re almost there. We just need the rest of those signatures, those other 30,000 signatures and we can put this law to rest for right now until November of 2012 and then at that point we can vote to completely do away with this law,” said Sanders.

Amy Hardin, a petition drive organizer in Traverse City, echoed Sanders’ sentiment.  

She believes the referendum will succeed if it gets on the ballot:

“The voters get it. They understand this law is unconstitutional and it flies in the face of democracy. I firmly hold that a fiscal crisis is no reason to suspend democracy – period. There are just no exceptions there.”

Currently, the Detroit Public Schools, and the cities of Benton Harbor,  Ecorse and Pontiac are operating under state-appointed emergency managers.

The law was amended earlier this year to give more sweeping authority over emergency managers.  

Opponents are also challenging the law in court.

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.
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