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Legislature moving quickly on emergency funds for Flint water fix

Capitol Building in Lansing, MI
Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0
Capitol Building, Lansing, MI

Update 12:00 p.m. October 15, 2015:

The state Senate approved the legislation this morning. The bill now goes to Gov. Snyder's desk.

Original post October 14, 10:23 p.m.:

The Legislature is close to approving the state’s share of money to help Flint with its water crisis. Children in the city are showing elevated lead levels after a state-appointed emergency manager switched water supplies. 

The state House approved the expenditure today and the state Senate’s expected to do the same tomorrow.

State Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof, R-West Olive, says the Legislature is treating it as a public health emergency. He says lawmakers are moving so quickly he’s not sure where the money will come from.

“I really want to solve the public health issue part of it,” Meekhof said. “Where and when and how the money arrives is still up for some debate.”

The money will be used to switch Flint back to the Detroit water system, for testing children and water in schools, hiring more public health workers, and water filters.

The Legislature is also expected to approve money to deal with other aspects of the public health crisis.

“We’re actively moving on all accounts,” said Dan Wyant, director of the state Department of Environmental Quality. “So, the action plan, we’re doing school testing. We’re doing individual testing. We’re actively meeting with local public health to evaluate exposure. Flint’s moving forward with the re-connect.” 

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.
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