A group opposed to Michigan's new emergency financial manager law for fiscally stressed municipalities said it is closing in on its goal of gathering enough signatures to suspend the law until it is voted on next November.

Stand Up for Democracy members said they are nearing their goal of gathering 250,000 signatures against the EFM law and hope to file petitions with the secretary of state's office by mid-December, according to local reports.

A total of at least 161,305 signatures are required to put a measure on the ballot.

If the signatures are approved by Secretary of State Ruth Johnson, the new law would be suspended until Nov. 2012.

The move would create uncertainty for looming state takeovers in places like Flint, which the state recently declared to be in a state of fiscal emergency, and Detroit, which appears to be moving toward a takeover.

Emergency financial managers already in place in places like Pontiac and Detroit Public Schools would likely lose their enhanced powers, such as the ability to terminate or unilaterally modify labor contracts.

In related news, the Detroit City Council held an emergency session Monday to discuss cuts to propose to Mayor Dave Bing.

Several council members said that the city needs to lay off at least 2,300 employees, up from the 1,000 layoffs proposed by Bing.

At the meeting, several City Council members said they prefer that Detroit enter into a consent agreement with the state.

The move would allow local officials to remain in place and broaden their powers over labor contracts and other measures.

A consent agreement is a step toward state intervention but less dramatic than a full takeover and the appointment of an emergency manager, some council members said.

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