Talking Points Memo: Protests In Michigan Over ‘Financial Martial Law’

March 16, 2011- Following the pitched political battles over public employee union rights in Wisconsin, Ohio, and elsewhere, another state's fight over finances is heating up. In Michigan, new Republican Gov. Rick Snyder has just passed a bill through the legislature to allow state-appointed financial managers to void municipalities' union contracts.

As the Macomb Daily Tribune reports, the bill has been described by Republican state Sen. Jack Brandenburg, a supporter, as "financial martial law" for localities where finances have gone out of control: "He [an emergency financial manager] has to have the backbone, he has to have the power, to null and void a contract."

Protests in opposition to the measure still don't seem to have reached Madison levels — that is, the tens of thousands who turned out in Wisconsin — but there certainly remains the potential that some of Snyder's tougher measures could trigger a backlash.

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