Named for Judge John F. Dillon and followed by most states, Dillon’s rule proclaims that the duties of local governments are limited to what the state grants them. Dillon’s Rule originates from numerous 19th century cases including U.S. Supreme Court cases in 1907 and 1923 which upheld Dillon’s definition of state and local powers. Dillon’s Rule and the Home Rule City Act work together to establish the relationship between city governance and state governance.
Home Rule City Act
Home Rule City Act, Act 279 of 1909 is the state law by which local units of governments are allowed to engage in self-governance. Essentially, without this law, Detroit wouldn’t be able to have a mayor and city council create ordinances (laws), manage the city budget, etc. This law also establishes the hierarchy between the city and state; local law cannot contradict state law. The Home Rule City Act and Dillon’s Rule work together to establish the relationship between city governance and state governance.
See the act here