The Flint water crisis could become a focus for a near-$1.6 billion endowment created through the overhaul of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.
The Senate voted 36-1 Thursday for legislation adding "public health emergency" to purposes for which the Michigan Health Endowment Fund can spend money. A law modernizing Blue Cross requires it to contribute $1.56 billion over 18 years.
The bill's supporters say including a focus on emergencies like Flint is consistent with the fund's mission to improve people's health and wellness.
Opposing arguments, according to the Senate Fiscal Agency, include that the legislation is unnecessary and would reduce grants for other communities.
The fund awarded $1.1 million to Flint causes in 2015 and 2016. The House will next consider the legislation.
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