Levin, Community Leaders, Gather to Decry 60-Day “Gag Order”

Jan 21, 2016 Issues: Government Reform

ROSEVILLE, MI – U.S. Rep. Sandy Levin (MI-09) today joined Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel and more than 60 mayors, city managers, superintendents, school board members, and other local leaders from Oakland and Macomb to decry the recently enacted 60-Day “Gag Order” provision in the new Michigan campaign finance law. Under the legislation, local officials and school districts are not allowed to provide factual information about proposed ballot measures within 60 days of an election.

Rep. Levin said: “Under the new law – passed under the cloak of darkness – within 60 days of an election, a school district or local government cannot tell people whether a millage question appearing on their ballot is a new tax or a renewal of a previous millage, or even tell residents what their tax dollars would be spent on should a millage be approved. The large gathering today of local leaders from various walks of life vowed to turn up the heat until this misguided provision is repealed.”

Mark Hackel, Macomb County Executive said: “The public has a right to information about what is on their ballot, and as an elected representative of the people of Macomb County, I’m offended that the Legislature says I have to keep my mouth shut about ballot issues for the 60 days leading up to an election. The people of Macomb County expect to get factual information from me and from other public officials, and it’s outrageous the Legislature decided that this issue is more pressing than roads, public safety, and educating our children.”

Jim Fouts, Warren Mayor said: “I can think of nothing more fundamental than the freedom of speech. This law is an attempt to muzzle elected and appointed local officials. It limits free speech, it eliminates the free exchange of ideas, it doesn’t allow us to let citizens know about proposals on the ballot and it prohibits free and open discussion. Enough is enough.”

Dr. Jackie Johnston, L’Anse Creuse Public Schools Superintendent said: “On March 8th, L’Anse Creuse Public Schools is asking voters to consider approval of a non-homestead millage renewal, which goes toward daily operations in our schools. Our voters expect and deserve information from us when making their decision. This law is a barrier to transparency, and keeps factual information from them – it must be repealed.”

Jessica Keyser, Ferndale Area Library Director said: “PA 269/SB 571 created criminal and civil penalties for librarians and boards concerning sharing of factual information about their elections within 60 days of Election Day. As librarians, we see this as not only a free speech issue but also a blow to transparency in government and harmful to one of librarians’ basic doctrines which is to educate patrons and inform citizens about issues impacting their communities.”

Michael Taylor, Sterling Heights Mayor said: “Last year, the Governor asked Mayors from across the state to share information with our residents about Proposal 1, which was a very complicated ballot measure. A few weeks ago, he signed a bill into law that would make me a criminal for doing what he asked me to do less than one year ago. This law needs to be repealed to allow us as public officials to give our residents unbiased, factual information about what we are placing on the ballot for their consideration.”   


Full List of Attendees:

Bill Anderson, Government Finance Specialist, SEMCOG

Fred Barbret, Community Ombudsperson, SMART

Howard Baron, School Trustee, Bloomfield Hills Schools

Piper Bognar, Van Dyke Schools

Sheila Brice, Board President, Birmingham-Baldwin Public Library

Amy Butters, School Board Member, Ferndale Public Schools

Dennis Champine, City Manager, City of Center Line

Cardi deMonaco, Jr, Councilman, Eastpointe

Barb Dempsey, Mayor, Mount Clemens

Steve Duchane, City Manager, City of Eastpointe

Jim Ellison, Mayor, City of Royal Oak

Jim Fouts, Mayor, City of Warren

Charles Frontera, City Council Member, City of Roseville

Theresa Genest, Board Vice President, Macomb Intermediate School District

Dr. Robert Glass, Superintendent, Bloomfield Hills Schools

Mark Hackel, County Executive, Macomb County

Jan Haggerty, Mayor Pro Tem, City of Roseville

Heather Hames, Director, Center Line Public Library

Michael Holland, Fire Chief, City of Roseville

Dan Hutchins, Director, Harrison Township Public Library

Dr. Christine Johns, Superintendent, Utica Community Schools

Dr. Jackie Johnston, Superintendent, L’Anse Creuse Public Schools

Jessica Keyser, Director, Ferndale Area District Library

Alan Kideckel, City Council Member, City of Berkley

Gene Klida, Board Vice President, Utica Community Schools

Veronica Klinefelt, County Commissioner, Macomb County

Ed Klobucher, City Manager, City of Hazel Park

Susan Krichbaum, Vice President, Metropolitan Affairs Coalition

Dr. Amy Kruppe, Superintendent, Hazel Park Schools

Dr. Robert Livernois, Superintedent, Warren Consolidated Schools

Mike Lovelock, Supervisor, Chesterfield Township

Sarah Lucido, Councilwoman, Eastpointe

Midge Lusardi, Director, Chesterfield Township Library

April Lynch, City Manager, City of Ferndale

Jeremy Mahrle, Commissioner, Royal Oak

John Marion, Councilman, Eastpointe

Dennis McDavid, Superintendent, Berkley Schools

Ryan McLeod, Superintendent, East Detroit Public Schools

Nicole McKee, Macomb Community College

Jamie Morris, Director of Community Relations, Clinton-Macomb Public Library

Joseph Nichols, Mayor, City of Fraser

Bill Pearson, Superintendent, Mt. Clemens Public Schools

Karl Paulson, Superintendent, Lakeview Public Schools

Ann Perry, City Commissioner, City of Pleasant Ridge

Suzanne Pixley, Mayor, City of Eastpointe

Blake Prewitt, Superintendent, Ferndale Public Schools

Beth Pyden, Board Vice President, Chippewa Valley Schools

Ronald Roberts, Superintendent, Chippewa Valley Schools

Bill Shoemaker, City Council Member, City of Roseville

Mike Smith, City Manager, City of St. Clair Shores

George Sobah, Trustee, Chippewa Valley Schools

Randy Speck, Superintendent, Madison District Public Schools

Amy Sullivan, City Manager, City of Huntington Woods

Michael Taylor, Mayor, City of Sterling Heights

Robert Taylor, Mayor, City of Roseville

Sue Trombley, Board President, Warren Consolidated Schools

Mark Vanderpool, City Manager, City of Sterling Heights

Elizabeth Vogel, Deputy Supervisor, Clinton Township

Mike Webb, City Councilman, Hazel Park

Tracy Wilson, Librarian, Roseville Public Library

Jennifer Zelmanski, Deputy City Clerk, Roseville