Group sues over emergency manager law

INGHAM COUNTY, Mich. — A lawsuit seeking to undo Michigan’s emergency financial manager law has been filed in Ingham County Circuit Court, the fourth challenge to the measure since it was passed in March, according to media reports.

The 28 plaintiffs in the latest suit allege that the revised law is an unconstitutional “power grab,” the Michigan Information & Research Service Inc. reported.

The law gives appointed managers greater authority to reform financially troubled cities and school districts, including the power to break existing union contracts, MIRS reported. The law does not allow managers to remove elected officials from office, according to MIRS.

Regarding its constitutionality, Rep. Al Pscholka, R-Stevensville, the bill’s sponsor, pointed out that the state has had an emergency manager law on the books since 1990, MIRS reported.

An attorney with Sugar Law Center for Economic and Social Justice, which filed the suit, said that the plaintiffs would be satisfied to revert to the previous version, MIRS reported.

This is the second lawsuit challenging the law, and two petition drives are under way to repeal it, according to the Lansing State Journal.

Michigan Information & Research Service Inc., “Lawsuit Filed to Overturn Emergency Manager Law,” June 22, 2011 (Subscription required)

Lansing State Journal, “New suit challenges Michigan’s emergency manager law,” June 23, 2011

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, “Acts of God,” April 20, 2011