Sunday, July 29, 2012

Green Party on Emergency-Manager Law

From the Green Party of Michigan:

Green Party of Michigan

** News Release **
** ------------ **
July 27, 2012

For More Information, Contact:
John Anthony La Pietra, Elections Co-ordinator

Jennifer La Pietra, Media Co-ordinator
(508) 280-1360

Greens to Supreme Court: Let People Vote on Emergency-Manager Law

The Green Party of Michigan (GPMI) counts grassroots democracy among its core principles -- its Ten Key Values. And the party has been living that value quite a lot this year in supporting the petition drive to let the people of Michigan vote on Public Act 4 of 2011, the emergency-manager law.

It was almost five months ago that Stand Up for Democracy turned in many more valid signatures on referendum petitions than opponents could hope to challenge on the merits. And it's been three months since expert testimony and common sense joined to prove that the petition both substantially and actually complied with the requirements of Michigan's Election Code.

But anti-democratic legal maneuvers have so far blocked this exercise of the people's fundamental right to a voice in their government.

The matter reached the Michigan Supreme Court this Monday -- and now there is only one month left to put the issue on the November 6 general-election ballot. Or so says the state Bureau of Elections -- basing its timetable on a law which isn't constitutionally eligible to take effect yet.

Michigan Greens urge the Michigan Supreme Court to act quickly and decisively to end the unjust delay and confusion, and put the referendum on the ballot.

"We the people of Michigan understand what 14-point type is," commented GPMI's Elections Co-ordinator John Anthony La Pietra, an attorney with training and experience in election law and other aspects of civil rights and Constitutional law.

"And over 200,000 of us saw 14-point type when we read, understood, and signed the petition to end the emergency-manager law and revive the power of grassroots democracy -- which all Greens support.

"Michigan Greens call on the members of the Supreme Court to live up to their title, and give the people justice on this matter."

La Pietra, the Green candidate for Calhoun County Clerk and Register of Deeds, added that the Court needs to act soon -- to avoid entangling the referendum on PA 4 with another controversy, and another anti-democratic bill.

Part of Public Act 276 of 2012, signed by Governor Snyder two weeks ago, will remove a current eleven-day period for finalizing the language describing ballot questions. This will give future citizen initiatives and referendums less time to go through the legal hoops to get on the ballot.

But the new law can't apply to the emergency-manager referendum, La Pietra pointed out. "The enrolled Senate Bill 823, which became PA 276, says it is to take immediate effect -- and also says it is to take effect on August 16. But the House did not approve the bill by the 2/3 majority required in Michigan's Constitution. So PA 276 can't take effect until 90 days after this legislative session ends."

Despite this, La Pietra noted, the Bureau of Elections has declared that court action on the petition against PA 4 must be finalized by August 27 to get the referendum on the ballot. That is ten days earlier than the September 7 date (60 days before the November 6 general election) established by current sections of Michigan law which PA 276 would repeal.

"Maybe the Bureau's just playing it safe, and planning for an earlier process than is really necessary," La Pietra suggests. "That would be understandable -- but it could put liberty and justice at risk.

"Perhaps we can all agree to hope that the point becomes moot -- because the Supreme Court does the right thing, recognizes precedent and common sense, and acts promptly to put the question on the ballot for voters to decide."

For more information about the Green Party of Michigan, its values, and the candidates who will represent both on the November ballot, visit:

Also check out the Green Party/Partido Verde of Michigan group on Facebook, and the party's Twitter feed @MIGreenParty.

Stand Up for Democracy, sponsor of the referendum on PA 4

Senate Bill 823, which became Public Act 276 of 2012
shows Michigan House's 68-42 vote to approve the bill;
see also link to text of enrolled bill, which says both
that it will take effect immediately and
that it will take effect August 16

Michigan Constitution, Article IV, Section 27
shows a 2/3 majority in both houses is required for immediate effect

Michigan Supreme Court Webpage on _Stand Up for Democracy v Secretary of State_
includes a summary of the case and links to briefs filed in it

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created/distributed using donated labor

Green Party of Michigan
548 South Main Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48104

GPMI was formed in 1987 to address environmental
issues in Michigan politics. Greens are organized
in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Each
state Green Party sets its own goals and creates its
own structure, but US Greens agree on Ten Key Values:

Ecological Wisdom
Grassroots Democracy
Social Justice
Community Economics
Respect for Diversity
Personal/Global Responsibility
Future Focus/Sustainability

Check out the Green Party/Partido Verde of Michigan group
on Facebook – and follow us at Twitter: @MIGreenParty
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