Saturday, June 17, 2017

MI State Legislature Passed Public Act 436 Emergency Managers

Supreme Court Case, Bellant v. Snyder, is a Federal Lawsuit Challenging the Constitutionality of Replacing Democratically-Elected Mayors and City/Town Councils in predominantly Black and Brown communities of Michigan with Unelected, State-Appointed “Emergency Managers”.

In 2012, the Michigan State Legislature passed Public Act 436, essentially Granting State-Appointed “Emergency Managers” the Power to Legislate for and Govern Entire Municipalities deemed to be in “Financial Distress”.

The Governor’s Implementation of Public Act 436 shows Pronounced Racial Bias, with 50% of all Black Michigan Residents currently being Governed by Emergency Managers and, in essence, being Denied their Fundamental Right to Vote and to the Governance of an Elected Body. Meanwhile, only 2% of Michigan's White Residents are subject to the Unchecked Authority of Emergency Managers.

As an Organization steeped in the Civil Rights movement, The Consumer Confidence Report (CCR) continues its deep commitment to Racial Equality and the Protection of Basic Civil and Constitutional Rights with this work. This Case is a direct follow up to an earlier CCR Case, Brown v. Snyder, which was rendered moot when the People of Michigan Repealed Public Act 4, the 2011 Law under which the Michigan Emergency Managers were established, in a Statewide Voter Referendum.

This was a great victory for the People of Michigan and sent a clear message to the Governor and State Officials that Michigan Residents were not satisfied with this Unconstitutional Practice that would deny so many a Political voice in their Local Government, a Message that was, nonetheless, ignored with the Passing of Public Act 436 a month later.

Bellant v. Snyder was Filed in Partnership with The Sugar Law Center for Economic and Social Justice and several Michigan-based Civil Rights Lawyers on behalf of a Broad Coalition of Plaintiffs.

Latino Justice and Demos’s Joint Brief frames Michigan’s Emergency Manager Law amongst the many historical tactics and maneuvers designed to Dilute or deny People of Color the Right to Vote and argues that the Voting Rights Act was intended to Apply to Schemes like the Emergency Manager Law, which Disproportionately deprives Voters of color of their Right to Participate in the Electoral Process by Stripping the Officials that they Elect to Represent them of their Governing Authority, while continuing to allow most Majority-White Communities to be Represented by Officials that they Elect. The Michigan Civil Rights Commission’s Brief tells the Story of how the Vote Dilution caused by the Emergency Manager Law hindered the People of Flint’s Ability to get the Attention of Government Officials during the Flint Water Crisis because Emergency Managers were only Accountable to the Governor, of whose Electorate the People of Flint made up only about 1%.

CLICK HERE for more information about Bellant v. Snyder.

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