Unbiased look at Michigan's 6 ballot proposals - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Unbiased look at Michigan's 6 ballot proposals

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(10/29/12) - Michigan voters will be asked to consider six ballot proposals on Nov. 6. All but one are constitutional amendments.

Proposal 1 is a referendum on Public Act 4, or the Emergency Manager law. The City of Flint is under the old law, Public Act 72, after Public Act 4 was suspended and put on the ballot.

Northwood University's Chief Academic Officer Dr. Kristin Stehouwer helps us break down Proposals 1, 2 and 3.

There's been plenty of opposition to the controversial emergency manager law, or Public Act 4, since it's inception into Michigan law last year. Look no further than the city of Flint. Gov. Rick Snyder appointed Mike Brown to the position in December. Months of legal action and public protests followed across the state. The Michigan Supreme Court eventually placed the issue on the November ballot. In August, Brown was replaced by Ed Kurtz, acting on behalf of Flint under the old EM law.

"When we're looking at Proposal 1, the emergency manager, that's one where we already have a law on the books, but it's been suspended with it being on the ballot," Dr. Stehouwer said.

The official ballot language for Proposal 1 asks whether Public Act 4 should be approved. The law establishes criteria to asses the financial condition of local units of government. It also authorizes the Governor to appoint an Emergency Manager upon finding a financial crisis in a given city. Perhaps, the most controversial part of the law, the EM has more power to modify contracts and act in place of local government officials.

Dr. Stehouwer explains what the proponents and the opposition are saying about Proposal 1.

"There's some concern that those who oppose Proposal 1 about the Emergency Manager that they may have too much latitude not to honor collective bargaining agreements," she said. "The people who are proponents or who are for the proposal believe it's important to be able to appoint an emergency manager in these different governmental entities, in some cases it's cities, public school systems, and appoint an emergency manager to deal with a financial crisis."

"If you vote no, then there are two schools of thought on that, one would be that the prior emergency manager law would be in place and opponents are saying that would be called into question as well," Stehouwer said.

In addition to Flint: Allen Park, Benton Harbor, Ecorse and Pontiac have emergency managers, as do Detroit Public Schools, Highland Park Schools and the Muskegon Heights School District.

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