Why Michigan's Emergency Manager Law Is Preemption on Steroids

Route Fifty: State-level preemption of local government authority is expanding in this era of increasing one-party state government control. Preemptive state policies have been imposed on a range of specific issues such as minimum-wage laws, ride-sharing services (e.g. Uber and Lyft), and anti-discrimination laws.

But beyond single issue preemption, states also preempt local authority more generally when they intervene in jurisdictional affairs due to local fiscal distress. Through its controversial Emergency Manager law, Michigan offers one of the nation’s more extreme case studies, going beyond issue-specific preemption and exerting near-total control over local authority. Now a new survey of Michigan’s local government leaders finds widespread agreement that this approach—while offering some benefits—simply goes too far.

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