It really does suck to be a Michigander right now, because your Republican lawmakers apparently hate you – with a passion.
Let’s see, in the span of less than one week, they have managed to pass a pair of unprecedented union-busting bills – signed, sealed and delivered; they’ve all but shut down women’s access to abortion services – guaranteed to be signed, sealed and delivered; and now they have passed an emergency manager bill, which would allow an emergency manager to “break or terminate collective bargaining agreements under certain circumstances.”
I’m guessing those “circumstances” are defined rather broadly and are open to interpretation…
Incoming House Minority Leader Tim Greimel, D-Auburn Hills, said it is a “mirror image” of what voters just rejected and “another slap in the face to democracy perpetrated by this House.”
The bill says an emergency manager will have the power to undertake “the modification, rejection, termination and renegotiation of contracts.” The ability for an emergency manager to break or terminate collective bargaining agreements under certain circumstances was one of the most controversial aspects of PA 4.
Provisions of the new law include:
• Providing for greater input by local officials before the governor declares a financial emergency. Financial review teams would be required to hold at least one public meeting before making a decision.
• Giving local officials a choice among four options if a financial emergency is declared: a consent agreement; mediation; an emergency manager; or Chapter 9 bankruptcy.
• Giving local officials more power to approve certain actions by an emergency manager or come up with alternative solutions that provide equal cost savings.
• Paying the salaries of emergency managers, and costs associated with a financial review, eliminating a sore point for cities and school districts, which now have to pick up those costs.
• Providing for the removal of an emergency manager if two-thirds of the local unit of government votes in favor of removal.
Again, this measure caught activists and voters by surprise:
The leader for Stand Up for Democracy, the coalition that turned in more than 200,000 signatures to get the referendum on the ballot, said he was shocked to hear about the proposed alternative. Brandon Jessup said his group met recently with a Snyder administration official and offered several recommendations, including mediation as a first option, but nothing came of it. He first saw the proposal late last night.
“(The legislation) does not represent the will … of voters,” he said.
I wonder how long it’s going to take to undo all of the damage being wrought so quickly in Michigan. I’m guessing years, if not decades. So, Michiganders, I hope you have your game faces on, because this is going to be a long, hard slog.