BREAKING: Senate Comm. passes bill to create Emergency Manager transition team, Roger Fraser a no-show in Detroit

Today the Michigan Senate Government Operations passed an S-1 substitute bill to SB 0865 on to the full Senate. The bill creates a transition team that will be assigned to municipalities and school districts under the control of an Emergency Manager.

From the Senate summary:

The bill would create a new act to do the following, with respect to a local government (a municipal government or a school district) for which an emergency manager had been appointed under the Local Government and School District Financial Accountability Act:

  • Authorize the Governor to remove the local government from receivership or appoint a receivership transition advisory board, if the local government’s financial emergency had been rectified.
  • Allow the Governor to appoint a receivership transition advisory board before removing the local government from receivership.
  • Specify the powers of a receivership transition advisory board.
  • Authorize the Governor to appoint a new emergency manager if the local government’s financial conditions had not been corrected in a sustainable fashion.

The original bill exempted the transition team from Open Meetings Act requirements. However, the S-1 substitution removes that stipulation. According to MIRS, “The board would have key powers, like requiring the local government to provide monthly cash flow projections and approving collective bargaining agreements.”

MIRS also reported last week that this bill may be a vehicle for an interim emergency manager law should the petition drive to halt the Emergency Manager law now underway be successful (as it increasingly looks as if it will be.) House Republicans have said that they don’t want to move on creating the interim legislation until the petitions have been certified. However, should that happen, they would simply drop the new legislation into this bill as a replacement for existing language. House Speaker Jase Bolger has indicated that the new law, should it be “necessary” would NOT contain an appropriation that would make it referendum-proof.

It is clear that Speaker Bolger is beginning to freak about the petition drive. The Livingston County Press & Argus reported today that he is embarking on a fear campaign through his spokesperson Ari Adler.

Livingston County municipalities would receive less state funding and have a harder time borrowing if the cities of Detroit, Flint or Pontiac went bankrupt, state officials said.

Those cities, all either assigned a state-appointed emergency financial manager or being considered for one, would draw state dollars from county communities if the cities went belly-up — something possible if the state’s emergency manager law is challenged in November, said Ari Adler, spokesman for state House Speaker Jase Bolger, R-Marshall.

In that case, a “financial earthquake” would occur in which less funding would be available for Michigan’s other municipalities and the statewide bond rating would diminish, Adler added.

“You suddenly have communities in Livingston County that are going to have to pay more for borrowing money because we’re all part of the state as a whole,” he said.

“It’s going to ripple out. You’re going to have those shock waves” as far as Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, Adler added.

In related news, Deputy State Treasurer Roger Fraser stood up the NAACP in Detroit today. Fraser, who left the city of Ann Arbor deeply in debt, was scheduled to be at a meeting of the Detroit Branch NAACP to discuss the Emergency Manager law, Public Act 4, along with Brandon Jessup of Michigan Forward. However, he was a no-show.

Also, a coalition of pastors and activists have planned an “Occupy Rick Snyder” event on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, January 16, 2012.

Saying the new emergency manager bill unfairly targets predominately African American communities, civil rights leaders pledged today to march in Superior Township — home of Gov. Rick Snyder —on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

They plan to march in the township — about 12 miles east of Ann Arbor — on Jan. 16 in an effort to call attention to a bill that could soon lead to an emergency manager in Detroit. [...]

“We’ve been fighting the dictator bill since its passing, all the time knowing it was meant for unilateral opportunity to take over Detroit just like it did in Benton Harbor,” said the Rev. Charles Williams II, pastor of the Historic King Solomon Baptist Church and one of the state’s leaders of Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network. “An emergency manager has yet to prove that it can get rid of deficits.”

Inspired by the Occupy Wall Street movement, the group plans to “occupy” Snyder’s home by demonstrating outside his house.

“We started this fight in Benton Harbor but we plan to end it in Superior Township,” said Rev. D. Alexander Bullock, local leader of the Michigan Chapter Rainbow Push Coalition, a social justice group founded by Jesse Jackson. “We will show the world that democracy is at stake in Michigan just as it is in Libya or Egypt.”

Cross-posted from Eclectablog.

I am a chemist by day and progressive liberal blogger by very early morning and very late night. I live just outside of Ann Arbor, Michigan with my lovely and talented photographer wife, Anne C. Savage. I am a vegetarian and an avid organic gardener who loves to cook. I'm heavily involved in county-level Democratic Party activities and am on the Washtenaw County Democratic Party Executive Board as co-vice chair for precinct organizing.
Chris Savage (aka Eclectablog)
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