A Detroit-based group opposed to Michigan’s controversial new emergency financial-management law filed petition language with the state Board of Canvassers for a referendum on it.

Michigan Forward, a group that describes itself as a progressive policy think tank for urban areas, held three press conferences across the state Monday announcing a campaign aimed at repealing the EFM law.

The law, crafted by Gov. Rick Snyder and passed by the Legislature three months ago, gives the state broader powers to intervene in and govern fiscally stressed local governments.

The group argues that the law gives the state too much power over local governments and that it will have a disproportionate affect on cities with large African-American populations.

The group needs to submit 161,000 valid signatures by next March to get the issue on the ballot. It is working with several other groups to gather up to 250,000 signatures by the deadline.

“The best way to handle this legislation is to suspend it,” Michigan Forward chairman Brandon Jessup was quoted as saying in local reports. “We will not surrender our cities and schools to the governor.”

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