HB4214: Whereby the governor of Michigan can dismiss your locally-elected officials

Ok, folks, I don’t usually get directly into politics, but this is really serious.

I also don’t have it all figured out yet, and I’m not sure what to do about it, but we sure need to do something. The deal is, HB4214 has passed (in slightly different versions) both the Michigan House and the Michigan Senate. It will likely be reconciled today and get signed into law very soon – this week or next.

The upshot is that the governor will be allowed to:

  1. declare a town or school district to be in a “financial emergency”
  2. unilaterally replace all elected town/school officials with someone he appoints
  3. this appointee (who could be a corporation, not a person) could dissolve any contract the town has entered into, including all contracts arrived at by collective bargaining

So, basically, if the governor decides your community is in (or headed for) a financial emergency, he can replace your entire elected local government with one of his choosing, that is responsible only to him – not to you.

This sounds completely unconstitutional to me.  How could anyone have voted for this? And it’s so clearly NOT about money; the current budget crises were caused in large part by all the recent tax cuts.  I would much rather pay my old tax rate than lose my right to elect – and keep – my local government.

And more importantly, what do we do now? Writing my senator is almost pointless, as she voted against the bill and has been speaking out against it.  My state rep will get an earful, for sure – but the bill is, for all intents and purposes, passed.  I can’t believe something this major didn’t hit my radar until now.  But I refuse to just let this slide.  How can we be voting in more unchecked government control just when the rest of the world is shaking theirs off?

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8 Comments

  1. Sara said,

    March 10, 2011 at 11:02 am

    You can call and email the Governor’s office – express your views and urge him not to sign the bill when it crosses his desk. Call and email the Speaker’s office and the Senate Majority Leader’s office. You need to both call and email. You want their phones ringing off the hook and their email inboxes overflowing.

    Honestly, being that the House, Senate, and Gov. are all of the same party, it probably won’t do much… but you never know… it has helped to change the direction of things in the past.

    You can also write editorials to your local papers, urging citizens to do the same thing.

    • Scott said,

      March 10, 2011 at 1:33 pm

      Since this bill was apparently Governor Snyder’s idea, I have little hope that we can exert any leverage in that direction. Weirder things *have* happened, though….

  2. Sara said,

    March 10, 2011 at 11:03 am

    At this point, your local rep. and senator won’t have much/any impact… your only hope is with the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Speaker of the House, and Senate Majority Leader…

  3. Alexia said,

    March 10, 2011 at 7:34 pm

    Take a cue from those of us here in Wisconsin — protest en masse. Look into Michigan’s impeachment and/or recall laws. Contact your local ACLU and see what they have to say about the constitutionality of this move.

    Maybe all this won’t do any good but I agree you shouldn’t just roll over and take it.

    And at least thank your state senator for standing up for what’s right.

    From Wisconsin, I raise a fist in solidarity with you against government corruption. (The news media would have you think all the hubbub in Wisconsin is about unions, but it’s not — it’s at least as much about questionable political maneuvers).

  4. Jenn said,

    March 11, 2011 at 3:51 pm

    There have been protests at the capitol. The media has been portraying it as a “union issue” completely ignoring the part about the elected officials. There is a rally on March 16. Even if your not pro-union this still effects you, here is a link to the information from my union.

    http://www.seiu517m.org/Fed_Up__Speak_Out_.aspx

  5. John said,

    March 12, 2011 at 6:38 pm

    If you want to protest effectively, the obstruction of the obligation of contracts is unconstitutional (Michigan Constitution, Art I, Sec 10 – look it up, know it). If you’re going to protest, don’t just complain that you don’t like it – point out that it’s illegal.

    • Anonymous said,

      March 14, 2011 at 1:54 pm

      Excellent. Thanks for the tip. I keep thinking this can’t be legal.


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