State committee releases action plan for water crisis - WNEM TV 5

State committee releases action plan for water crisis

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A joint committee of lawmakers in Lansing tasked with finding solutions through policy to the Flint water crisis has now released their report.

Dozens of new proposals have been released by the Joint Committee as solutions for the water crisis. 

“After many months of work and discussions, I am pleased to release a bipartisan, bicameral report of the joint committee,” said Sen. Jim Stamas, R-Midland. “The report contains more than 30 policy proposals based on testimony and a comprehensive review of materials presented to the committee.”

The committee met six times and took more than 18 hours of testimony from more than 60 participants.

The committee held hearings in Lansing as well as visited Flint to hear from residents affected by the water crisis.

“From the start, I have emphasized that the committee’s role was not to find fault or blame, but to offer solutions to help the people of Flint and to prevent a similar event from happening anywhere else in Michigan,” Stamas said.

The report details more than 30 policy proposals for consideration by the Legislature. Of those listed, 14 proposals are identified as short-term goals in the committee report.

Not all members agree with the proposals included in the report, but all members do agree that the residents of Flint deserve solutions, Stamas said.

However, some Flint residents are not happy with the report.

"Inaccurate information. As much time as they have spent on this they should know that it was chloride in the water not chlorine. They know the Flint River water was more corrosive just in general before any treatment was done to it," said Melissa Mays, mother and social activist for the water crisis.

The report also had an explanation of why the crisis happened in the first place, but Mays doesn't buy it.

"It was not Detroit kicking us off that forced us to go to the Flint River. That was a decision made by the emergency manager," Mays said.

The report includes a timeline of events, proposals and recommendations of things that must be changed or stopped to prevent something like the water crisis from happening again.

Among the findings was creating a culture of accountability in state government, protecting and promoting public health by changing the state's health infrastructure, strengthening water laws and rules, and changing the state's lead copper rule.

Mays said the report has some good points, but overall it is flawed.

"I would be happier with this report, I would forgive a lot of this other stuff and just shrug cause whatever, if this said get rid of the emergency manager law," Mays said.

The report also asks legislature to consider adding additional help to spur economic development in Flint.

Mays said the entire proposal is too light. She's demanding greater accountability and more action.

"Absolutely ridiculous, especially when it comes to the health and well being and future of Flint residents," Mays said.

State Rep. Sheldon Neeley said the proposal isn't perfect, but he insists it does have some strong points.

"Part of the good is that the strengthening of the water quality in the state of Michigan is a part of the good," Neeley said.

He said the biggest issue with proposals is the emergency manager reform.

"So I want to see a full vetting of the emergency law. Until we can get that done we should repeal the law in total and the put forth good recommendations," Neeley said.

Other state lawmakers also spoke out about the report. See what they had to say below:

Statement from Senate Democratic Leader Jim Ananich to the Flint Water Committee Report:

“The families in Flint are most interested in results, and that’s what we must deliver. The challenge for this legislature now is whether we can get results on some of these reforms. I've said all along we need to change the state’s emergency manager law and this misguided culture. We need to make public health the top priority when it comes to decision-making, and we need to have long-term solutions for the people in Flint. This isn't exactly how I would have drafted every item, but there is an opportunity to make some important changes — and now we need to act on them.”

Statement from State Representative Jeff Irwin on Flint Water Committee Report:

“While there are some good and necessary reforms in the report, the Chairman’s report is short on the details regarding the tough issues, opting to delay or suggesting further consideration of options rather than a clear path forward.

“The recommendation to weaken the protections for state workers misses the mark and attempts to shift blame from politicians to bureaucrats. This recommendation removes the very employment protections that allow whistleblowers to stand up to supervisors who give unethical or unsafe directives. They have bold recommendations to attack state employees but weak plans to address the real problems that led to the Flint Water Crisis.”

Read the full report here: 

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