The Michigan Supreme Court has ordered the referendum on the state’s emergency manager law onto the November ballot. A divided court ruled the ballot campaign’s petitions met the letter of the law, that the type on a critical portion of the petition was, in fact, 14-point font, as required. Republican Justice Mary Beth Kelly was the pivotal vote to put the question to voters.
The ballot campaign turned in more than 200,000 signatures, but opponents filed a technical challenge. They said a critical portion of the petition was printed in a font size that was too small.
Following this ruling, a state elections board will have to officially put the question on the ballot. As soon as that happens the emergency manager law is suspended until the after the election.
But it’s not clear what happens next. The ballot campaign says there is no emergency manager law and the seven emergency managers currently serving are out of a job. Governor Rick Snyder and Attorney General Bill Schuette say the old law takes over, and the emergency manager will continue to serve with diminished authority.
It could take another court fight, or extraordinary action by the Legislature, to settle the question.