LANSING - The House Democratic caucus today applauded efforts by AFSCME and Stand Up 4 Democracy as they turned in over 220,000 signatures from Michigan residents to put the emergency financial manager law up for a vote by the people. The State Elections Division now has 60 days to review the signatures to determine if 161,305 of the signatures are valid and the issue can be put before the people of the state.
“These signatures are a win for the people of our state to show Legislative Republicans that Michiganders do not tolerate extreme breaches of power by their government,” said House Democratic Leader Richard E. Hammel (Mt. Morris Township). “Our caucus has heard numerous complaints about this law from residents and have consistently fought against the seizing of local control by the governor’s administration. It is time to let the people of Michigan decide if these broad reaching powers are something they’d like to give to their government.”
The announcement comes at a time when 48 Michigan school districts are facing deficits this year according to the Michigan Department of Education. Last week, Republicans passed a bill that would institute a new voucher plan in the struggling school district of Highland Park which looks to upend students midway through their school year and place an additional financial burden on the district through the loss of students.
“The governor and legislative Republicans sent a clear message to our struggling schools with the vote last week affecting Highland Park that they will not hesitate to board up the school doors in the middle of an academic year and displace your kids if your district needs help,” said State Representative Woodrow Stanley (Flint), who attended an event celebrating the turning in of the signatures to the Secretary of State. “The 47 other districts across this state would not be in such dire financial straits had the governor and Republicans not cut over $1 billion from the School Aid Fund last year to finance their corporate tax break. These aren’t Democratic or Republican schools, these are schools that transcend racial and political boundaries and it is in all of our interest to make sure they succeed.”