The Michigan House of Representaüves passed SB 583 on June 15, prohibiting rent control ordinances in local communities. The bill was rammed through the Senate several months ago when the Apartment Association of Michigan (landlords) began their attempt to pre-empt rent control initiatives in Ann Arbor and Detroit. With a $75,000 check from the landlords, a Lansing lobbying firm successfully pressured Democrats and Republicans alike to vote for the measure in the House, where it passed 74-25. The Detroit Organization of Tenants, which for the past several months has been conducting a rent control campaign for the city elections on August 2nd, protested Governor Blanchard's signing of the bill at his Detroit office on June 22 and 23. The Tenants Organization plans to challenge the bill. State of Michigan Divests On June 22, the Michigan state legislature voted 97-4 to divest all interests held in U.S. firms participating in a broad range of business activities in South África. The legislation affects all major state pension systems. Unlike most other state and local divestment mcasures, the Michigan plan specifïcally includes most indirect business activities, such as licensing and managing agreements, and franchises. The legislation sets out a five year timetable for divestiture, which may be extended for one year in the event of severe market instability, as happened in October, 1987. The legislation, which passed soon after a threeday national strike by Black South African workers against the white regime, is aimed at discouraging the South African government's policy of apartheid. Veteran Peace Convoy Halted On June 7, the Veterans Peace Convoy was denied permission to exit the country at Laredo, Texas, on the Mexican border. The 40-truck convoy was en route to Nicaragua where it was to deliver over 30 tons of food, medical supplies and school supplies to the Nicaraguan people. U.S. Customs officials claimed to have blocked the trucks on the grounds that the trucks themselves do not constitute "humanitarian aid" under the International Emergency Economie Powers Act. The Veterans planned (see News Briefs, page 11) NEWS BRIEFS (f rom page 2) to leave the 38 vehicles, mostly old pickup trucks and school buses, in Nicaragua. Four trucks were confiscated by U.S. officials at the border. The Veterans Convoy reassembled in lanta on June 20 and headed for Washington, D.C., for a "Drive In" protest of the Reagan Administration's escalation of the economie war against the people of Nicaragua. The convoy plans to stay in Washington until the Administration balances its interpretation of "humanitarian aid." July 17th Celebration of Freedom and Struggle The Latin American Solidarity Commmittee and the AMISTAD Construction Brigade, along with the Free South África Coordinating Committee are sponsoring a joint commemoration of the ninth anniversary of the Nicaraguan revolution and Nelson Mandela's 70th birthday. It will be held Sunday, July 17, firom 2-7 pm in West Park. The event will feature speakers, music and dancing, volleyball, refreshments, and performances by local theater groups. Admission is frec. For more information cali 665-8438.
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