Sen. Ananich Launches Effort to Repeal Emergency Manager Law

Bills to Repeal EM Law, Create Local Fiscal Health Plan Introduced Wednesday

LANSING, Mich. — Today, Senate Minority Leader Jim Ananich (D-Flint) announced legislation to repeal Michigan’s problematic emergency manager law. The controversial policy has long been criticized as a tool for taking control away from local governments in a “state knows best” approach.

Since the law’s inception, more than two dozen governmental entities have been placed under emergency management, including the City of Flint, where a Gov. Snyder appointee’s decision to recklessly slash the budget resulted in the Flint water crisis, the worst man-made environmental disaster in the nation’s history.

“The emergency manager law should have been repealed decades ago, but what happened in Flint should have been the final straw,” Sen. Ananich said. “Appointees emboldened with too much power should not be allowed to fly in and fly out of communities facing serious financial crises. We need to get this law off the books before another community suffers similar mistakes that were made in mine.”

Repealing the emergency manager law alone will not stop financial distress from reaching local governments. Today, Sen. Ananich also introduced a fiscal health plan to identify local governments that are experiencing financial stress. The bill would create a multitiered, locally driven process to identify financial issues where the state can assist and advise. Sen. Ananich’s goal is to change the state’s approach to being proactive and helpful – rather than reactive and punitive – toward local entities that may find themselves struggling.

“We cannot wait until communities are in dire straits before reaching out a hand to help,” Sen. Ananich said. “We also shouldn’t be in the business of forcing cookie-cutter rules from Lansing on towns or cities that have individual priorities and cultures. This fiscal health plan will help detect signs of distress early, prompting locals to begin collaborating with the state to find solutions to budget issues before they get out of hand. My bill acknowledges that while local populations, revenues, and needs can change, the state’s commitment to helping problem solve won’t.”

The emergency manager repeal, Senate Bill 779, and the fiscal health plan, Senate Bill 780, have both been introduced and referred to the Committee on Local Government for consideration.

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