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Michigan Legislature Passes Emergency Funding For Flint

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U.S National Guard Major Joe Cannon

The state House and Senate have unanimously approved an emergency spending bill to help Flint address its water crisis.  It now goes to Governor Rick Snyder’s desk.  

State lawmakers have unanimously approved $28 million to help aid the drinking water contamination crisis in Flint.  House Bill 5220 now goes to Governor Rick Snyder, who requested the emergency spending bill last week during his State of the State Address.   Lawmakers say the money will only be enough to address immediate needs, such as bottled water, filters, health screenings, and unpaid water bills.

“We need to make sure that we start doing the assessment and the healthcare needs right away,” said state Senate Democratic Leader JimAnanich (D-Flint).  “And we need to make sure that the administration gets this money to where it needs to be as soon as possible. And then we’ll start working on the long-term.”

The Senate added language to track how the money is spent.  It instructs the state auditor general’s office to audit the use of the money at least every six months.  

Another amendment adopted in committee this week provides funding meant to guarantee every Flint child age 0-3 can get a free developmental screening paid for by the state.  State Representative SheldonNeeley (D-Flint) says the next step is to pay for long-term needs like replacing lead water lines.  “For the governor’s office to make sure that we have a good, fair amount of our next budget appropriated to fixing the long-term problems inside the city of Flint,” said Neeley.  Governor Snyder is expected to ask lawmakers for more money for Flint during his budget address next month.  

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— Jake Neher is the State Capitol Reporter for the Michigan Public Radio network.  Contact WEMU News at734.487.3363 or email us at studio@wemu.org

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