Senate passes controversial financial manager overhaul
Legislation that would allow emergency financial managers to throw out union contracts and overrule elected officials in financially distressed municipalities and school districts was approved in the Senate today. The measure passed 26-12 along party lines in the Republican-controlled chamber. Similar bills passed in the House in late February. The chambers must now agree on a final version to send to Gov. Rick Snyder for his signature. More than 1,000 union members demonstrated opposition to the bills Tuesday, chanting loudly outside the chamber doors as senators worked through details of the legislation. Before casting her no vote, Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer, D-East Lansing, called the legislation an "unfair and unjustified power grab." "This bill represents bigger government, more bureaucrats (and) less accountability and less transparency," Whitmer said, sending up a cheer from the hallway that could be heard inside the chamber. "Where the heck is the Tea Party now? We were sent to Lansing to create jobs, not dismantle them."