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"Font Size Dispute" invalidates 200,000 signatures against Mich. emerg. financial mgr law

Opponents of Michigan's beefed-up emergency manager law are headed for the state Court of Appeals after a state elections panel... split 2-2 along party lines... after hearing exhaustive testimony on a single point of contention about the adequacy of the petitions -- whether the typeface used on a heading met a statutory size requirement. [...]

Published on Friday, April 27, 2012 by Common Dreams

'Wrong Font Size' Keeps Michigan's 'Shock Doctrine' in Place

- Common Dreams staff

Opponents of Michigan's emergency manager law who had gathered more than enough petitions to put the law on the November ballot were told yesterday that it wouldn't happen because the petitions had used the wrong font size.

Organizers had hoped to suspend Public Act 4, the Local Government and School District Fiscal Accountability Act, also known as the "emergency financial manager law" signed by Gov. Snyder last year. The Center for Public Integrity explained that with the law, "appointed managers can nullify labor contracts, sell public utilities and dismiss elected officials." Greatly contested was the ability of emergency managers under this law to nullify collective bargaining agreements.

Even though organizers had gathered 203,000 petition signatures, about 40,000 more than necessary to put a repeal on the ballot, the Board of State Canvassers was unable to accept the petitions due to a deadlock 2-2 vote with the two Republican members of the board ruling out the petitions, saying the size of the font on the heading was incorrect.

The Detroit Free Press reports that Canvassers board member James Waters who agreed to certify the petitions said, "I believe there was more than substantial compliance, there was total compliance," while Republican Norm Shinkle, who voted against them said, "I think there is a legitimate question as to size."

The Detroit News reports that opponents of the "emergency financial manager law" are furious at the results. "The Constitution was not judged on the basis of font size," said Anthony, president of the Detroit NAACP and pastor of Detroit's Fellowship Chapel church. Rashid Baydoun, executive director of the Arab-American Civil Rights League, said, "The will of the people was denied. All we ask is for Michigan people to be able to decide."

If the petitions had been certified, the emergency manager law would have been immediately suspended.

Stand Up for Democracy, the group that organized the petitions, has vowed to file an appeal.

* * *

Detroit Free Press: Emergency manager ballot issue rejected, now it's headed for the courts

LANSING -- Opponents of Michigan's beefed-up emergency manager law are headed for the state Court of Appeals after a state elections panel declined by deadlock Thursday to place a referendum on the law before voters in November.

Herbert Sanders, attorney for the group Stand Up for Democracy, which collected 203,000 petition signatures to put the issue on the ballot, said he would file an appeal of the Board of State Canvassers' decision within a week.

The canvassers split 2-2 along party lines (Democrats supporting and Republicans opposed) after hearing exhaustive testimony on a single point of contention about the adequacy of the petitions -- whether the typeface used on a heading met a statutory size requirement. [...]

Certification of the petitions for the ballot would have suspended the 2011 law, forcing emergency managers appointed to seven cities and school districts around the state to operate with diminished authority under an earlier version of the law.

* * *

The Detroit News: EM referendum off November ballot, opponents vow appeal

LANSING— Angry shouts broke out Thursday at a Board of State Canvassers meeting when members failed to allow a repeal of the emergency manager law to make the ballot based on the type size on the petitions.

Supporters of the repeal effort said they'll take their fight to court. [...]

Michigan has seven emergency managers operating with the tough new powers granted under Public Act 4. Four that were appointed under a previous and weaker emergency manager law had their powers boosted when the new act was past last year. The current managers are in Pontiac, Flint, Ecorse and Benton Harbor, and in the Detroit, Highland Park and Muskegon Heights school districts.

The year-old law grants nearly unlimited power to emergency managers to overrule elected officials and toss union contracts. It replaced Public Act 72 of 1990, which Republicans who control the House and Senate, and Gov. Rick Snyder claimed did not give enough power to emergency managers.

Had the board voted to put the repeal question on the ballot, P.A. 4 would have been immediately suspended, according to the Secretary of State's Office. It is the position of the Snyder administration, and of Attorney General Bill Schuette, that if P.A. 4 is suspended, the law it replaced, P.A. 72, would be revived.

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Showing 11 of 75 comments:

bill's comment --

Here is a letter which I today sent to Michigan Republican Caucus Chairman Randy Richardville:

Dear Senator Richardville:
I am writing this with the sincere hope that the font size I have chosen for this communique is readable for you and the rest of the Republicans in your caucus.

Clearly, the Michigan Republican Party is now so well-organized that an official state uniform might merit your consideration.

I'd like to suggest a long-sleeved style brown shirt. The shirt I have in mind has an interesting history throughout the 1930s in Europe. Although in Italy black shirts were also quite popular, overall, I think you and your fellow Republicans would be most happy with the brown.

I can get you a special "American Legislative Exchance Council" price on a thousand gross on the plain brown shirts, however, they will cost slightly more if you include the arm bands.

Sieg Heil!!

Bill D.


Warren G Johnston's comment --

I wonder if they'll protest that the torches the citizens are using to burn down the statehouse aren't of the proper composition.


d4l3d's comment --

Waiting for the day when the same logic can be applied to legislators with the wrong hat size.


mapczar's comment --

"Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable." --John F. Kennedy, 35th President of the United States [Democrat]


John Coghlan's comment --

Sounds like something out of Alice and Wonderland.


PJD's comment --

Well, is seems to me that the poor working people of Michigan should simply get to to Lansing however thay can and BURN the State capitol and various other key state office buildings to the ground.

Do it on Mayday - this coming Tuesday. It's called REVOLUTION.

Where I live, We need to do the same thing to Harrisburg...


Memory_Hole's comment --

This is an utterly contemptible abuse of democracy.


JohnShade's comment --

That is probably the most arbitrary way of blocking democracy I have ever heard of. Pretty shocking. I would be suing, well, this morning.


Margo Nielsen's comment --

How lame is that?
Squashing democracy based on irrelevant technicalities.
I wonder how much the lawyers were paid to find that error, because apparently everything else about the petition was completely legitimate and would have easily overturned Public Act 4!!!


Joshua S's comment --

We've played by their rules and they denied us. It's time to stop playing by their rules. The 200,000 of us who signed those petitions need to bring all our friends and show up in Lansing and not leave until the law is suspended. As a comrade has said: "They won't be talking about font size then."


EKATON's comment --

Wrong font size. How absurd. Things like this are what cause most people to hate most politicians. I hold the most dishonest used car salesmen in much higher regard over most politicians.

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