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Local Government
Wayne State University Law School
Mogk, John E.

Local Government Law Mogk Winter 2017
Federal Perspectives
MI Constitution governs local gov’t law (1963)
Historical Context
i. Historically, 13 sovereign states turned over their powers
ii. All power emanates from US Constitution, it cannot be added to–cities and states can't add to it
iii. Powers delegated fed government
Congress, Executive branch, judiciary
Commerce power is one of main delegated powers–Congress shall have power to regulate commerce among the states
iv. Some powers reserved to states
State constitution governs powers reserved to the states–reserved powers flowed into constitutions
Limitation on both state and federal is that there must be a republican form of government–states can distribute power however as long as republican form of gov. maintained.
State constitution formulated and enacted by the people of the state, who decide how those powers limited/distributed
10th Amendment: powers not delegated by Constitution reserved to states respectively or the popele
Powers flow into state constitutions, which are shaped by people of the state as they choose to shape it
v. If federal and state constitutions silent on where power goes, then all powers flow through to state legislature
Example of people of Michigan limiting power that would otherwise flow through to legislature= power of eminent domain–people of MI decided eminent domain cannot be used for economic development if b/w private parties– Art II, Sec 10 of MI Const?
Example of diverting power: creating constituionally created universities like MI St.; WSU, UM
vi. No reference in US constitution to local units of gov’t—local government is entirely creature of a state–if people decided not to create local govs., they would not exist
Sources of local power
i. All powers flow from the state to the local unit of gov’t once created
ii. States have to form local units from one kind or another in order to exercise the powers reserved to them in order to maintain public health, safety, and morals
iii. State constitutions are often referred to as documents of limitation
People of the state can limit the power of the state
People can also amend constitution to have state power delegated to the local level (e.g., state universities)
iv. Power can be delegated by the legislature passing an enabling act that delegates the power to the municipality
E.g., Zoning acts that the state leg has passed
Authorizes local gov’t to regulate private land use
v. Home Rule Provision (MI)
Detroit is a home rule city
Allows the voters/residents to create a charter to determine how the powers the city has received will be managed
Latitude to determine how the powers will be exercised
Citizens DO NOT create the power but have the ability to manage the power
Power and rights analysis
i. First question   
“what is the source of the power the city is purporting to exercise(what authority is government acting under) that requires the client to comply with the regulation/request?”
If imposing burden on plaintiff–if there's no power the plaintiff is free from that burden
ii. Second question
“has the power been properly exercised?”
E.g. if a hearing is required, is notice required?
iii. Third question
Does client enjoy right to be free from the exercise of the powe

have a petition
ii. Cohesiveness
iii. Common interests
iv. Boundaries would have to be defined of the local municipality
If a municipality once created and wants to add additional land state entity has to approve application to be recognized
Two incentives to incorporate:
i. Improve services
ii. Regulate the environment in which you exist
Ensure certain standards of conduct are maintained
Power in a charter doesn’t come from the people, people are only given the ability to manage the power
Certain powers and certain benefits are derived from incorporating
i. Power to tax comes along or such other fees (levy in order to support gov’t)
Township Governments: don't perform as many services at local level–but they act like municipal government in smaller communities
School districts
Have elected board; carry out responsibility of state to educate
Special Purpose Districts
Ex: Water districts, development districts, drainage, rural fire protection, housing authorities (speical purpose districts created to perform special fxn sometimes across local boundaries where services not being provided by local units effectively
May have elected reps or be appointed
There are cases that suggest that special districts do not have to comply with one person, one vote—may be distributed by property for example