State senate creates bills to help Flint residents - WNEM TV 5

State senate creates bills to help Flint residents

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Since the Flint water crisis began more than two years ago, efforts from state lawmakers to make changes have moved at a slow pace.

On Wednesday, two new bills in Lansing gave the Vehicle City new hope. One of those bills promised every child in Flint will receive a college education at little to no cost.

A state Senate committee met Wednesday afternoon and agreed to make Flint a promise zone. It essentially allows the city to pool resources and use funded scholarships for city high school graduates to attend college for a very little cost or for free.

The committee also voted in favor of giving the city the power to establish a recovery authority. If the city chooses to create an authority, it would be made up of people designated by the city and the state to focus primarily on oversight of the water crisis and provide updates to the progress being made.

Democratic State Senator Jim Ananich, from Flint, authored the bills that passed through the committee.

"I don't know what this is going to look like a year from now, two years from now, five, but I want to make sure while people are focused on the issued and we know it's an important issue that needs to be dealt with. That we can put the tools in place now so that when the faces and the names change, and there's less awareness for what happened, we don't have to deal with it then. We can deal with it now," Ananich said.

Republican Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekov said the legislation has bi-partisan support and believes it is movement in the right direction to help the city and its residents.

"It's one of the first steps at it and Senator Ananich was very gracious with us in trying to do it the right way and he had a lot of great ideas and we incorporated those with some of ours as well. And it doesn't have a Democrat or Republican seal on it. We're just trying to fix the problem," Meekov said.

Meekov said the bills should be brought to a vote in the Senate in October. If it passes it will head to the House for its approval.

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