Advance Notice: Briefs

State Supreme Court allows Detroit charter proposal to appear on ballot

By: - August 2, 2021 11:15 am

City of Detroit offices, Coleman A. Young Municipal Center | Susan J. Demas

Advocates of a proposed revision to Detroit’s city charter scored a major victory Thursday after the Michigan Supreme Court ordered the controversial initiative to be placed on the Aug. 3 ballot.

The panel voted 4-3 to overturn the Wayne County Circuit Court and Michigan Court of Appeals’ decision to remove the proposed revisions from the ballot.

Progressives have advocated for Proposal P, saying it would promote equity and accountability, crack down on police brutality, improve transportation and access to affordable housing, protect property values from unfair assessments, impose a moratorium on water shutoffs, and develop a comprehensive environmental health policy.

Opponents, including Mayor Mike Duggan, argued the charter could bankrupt the city, saying it would cost as much as $2 billion over a four-year period.

An independent analysis from Michigan State University estimated the charter would only cost an additional $7 million a year.

The Charter Revision Commission, which drafted the proposal, appealed the lower court’s decisions.

At issue was whether the charter revisions needed Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s approval to appear on the ballot. Saying Proposal P has “substantial” legal deficiencies, Whitmer declined to approve it.

Ultimately, the Supreme Court ruled that state law does not require the governor to approve a charter proposal for it to appear on the ballot. Since state law “does not explicitly provide the Governor with an unfettered veto in the charter revision process, we decline to create one from the statue’s silence,” the court’s decision states.

This story first ran in the Detroit Metro Times and you can read it here. Subscribe to their newsletters, and follow us on Google NewsApple NewsTwitterFacebookInstagram, or Reddit.

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Steve Neavling
Steve Neavling

Steve Neavling is an award-winning investigative journalist with the Detroit Metro Times. He operated Motor City Muckraker, an online news site devoted to exposing abuses of power and holding public officials accountable. Neavling also hosted Muckraker Report on 910AM from September 2017 to July 2018. Before launching Motor City Muckraker, Neavling was a five-year veteran of the Detroit Free Press, covering Detroit’s city hall.