MEDIA ADVISORY: Conyers to Hold Forum on Michigan’s Emergency Manager Law
Detroit, MI, February 14, 2012
(DETROIT) – House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member John Conyers, Jr. (D-M14) will host a Democratic Judiciary forum concerning the legal implications of the Emergency Manager Law. The forum will start at 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, February, 21, 2012 and will be held at Soul Harvest Ministries in Highland Park.
Currently, there are six emergency managers appointed under the Michigan Emergency Law (Benton Harbor, Ecorse, Flint, Pontiac, Detroit Public Schools, Highland Park School District) and a review for an appointment is ongoing with respect to the cities of Detroit, Inkster, and Muskegon Heights. Several lawsuits have been brought challenging the law and its implementation, and a petition drive is pending which would suspend the law subject to a statewide referendum in November. At the same time, other states such as Indiana are considering adopting emergency manager laws similar to Michigan’s statute. This forum will consider a range of issues, including the EM law’s possible impact on voting rights, representative form of government, collective bargaining rights; the legality and appropriateness of effort in Lansing to reinstate the law notwithstanding the referendum process; the law’s consistence with the Open Meetings Act, and the state’s compliance with its revenue sharing obligations. Witnesses will include the Emergency Manager for Benton Harbor, preeminent constitutional, voting rights, and bankruptcy legal experts as well as representatives of impacted communities, safety officials, and unions.
In December, Representative Conyers wrote the U.S. Department of Justice to ask the attorney general to review the law’s constitutionality. That same month, Representative Conyers along with Representatives Clarke and Peters, 55 state legislators (9 sState Senators and 46 state Representatives) and 8 Detroit City Council members, wrote a letter requesting a meeting with Governor Snyder to discuss the Emergency Manager Law.