Michigan lawmakers are considering a move to reform a controversial law for fiscally stressed municipalities that was recently enacted, in order to head off an effort to repeal it.
The law went into effect in the spring and increased the state’s power over fiscally stressed governments,
A group opposed to the law said it is nearing its goal of gathering enough signatures to put a measure revoking the new law on the ballot in next year’s election.
If the group gathers enough valid signatures, it would automatically suspend the law until a vote is taken.
State officials have said they believe that during a temporary suspension, the state’s former emergency management law would take over.
But they are also considering rewriting parts of the law in order to render the petition drive moot, according to local reports.
The Detroit Free Press reported that Treasurer Andy Dillon has encouraged legislators to rewrite the law to avoid the referendum.
Dillon and other legislators said there would be “chaos” if the law were suspended, according to the paper.
House Speaker Jase Bolger, R-Marshall, told the Free Press, “Cities in emergency financial distress face the prospect of not being able to cover payroll checks and not providing basic services like police and fire.”
Legislators adjourn at the end of this week for their holiday break.
The debate comes as the state considers appointing emergency managers for Detroit and Inkster.
The state already runs the Detroit Public Schools, and the cities of Flint, Benton Harbor, Pontiac, and Ecorse.