The Michigan Supreme Court says a referendum on the state's emergency manager law will appear on the November ballot.
Republican Justice Mary Beth Kelly provided the crucial vote for Friday's decision, joining three Democratic justices.
The court was asked to decide a technical issue: Did the petitions used to gather signatures have the right type size?
But its decision means voters will decide whether to keep or kill a law that sends powerful emergency managers into distressed communities and school districts to fix their finances.
The decision is also a major victory for unions, which represent many workers who have been laid off or whose pay has been slashed by emergency managers.
It's a significant loss for Republicans, especially Gov. Rick Snyder, who signed the law.
Gov. Rick Snyder is warning about "painful" solutions for distressed local governments when Michigan's emergency manager law is suspended.
Snyder is reacting to the decision Friday by the Michigan Supreme Court to put a referendum to repeal the law on the fall ballot.
The decision means the law will be suspended until the election. Emergency managers are appointed to turn cities and school districts around.
They have much power and don't need the consent of elected officials. Snyder says the law is aimed at preventing "full-blow crises."
He says suspending the law until at least Nov. 6 limits the state's ability to intervene. Most managers already in place will be reappointed but have less authority.