A proposed settlement for many Flint water crisis civil lawsuits took another step forward Wednesday.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has signed a pair of bills creating the Flint Settlement Trust Fund. The legislation addresses how the state would handle funding of the $641 million settlement of Flint Water civil cases.
“What happened in Flint should never have happened,” says Whitmer, “While this settlement will never be enough to compensate for what happened, it is a major step toward helping the people of Flint heal.”
The state, the city of Flint, McLaren Flint hospital and Rowe Engineering have agreed to contribute to the fund. The state of Michigan is borrowing $600 million from the Michigan Strategic Fund to pay its share of the settlement. The money will be paid back over the next three decades.
The money would be divided among Flint residents and others impacted by the city’s lead tainted tap water. The bulk of the money is earmarked for children who were six years old and younger during the crisis, which began after the city's drinking water source was switched in 2014.
The settlement still needs the approval of a federal judge.
U.S. District Judge Judith Levy has promised to decide whether to give the settlement preliminary approval by mid-January.
If the judge gives her approval, there are still months of legal wrangling ahead before the settlement’s terms can be finalized.
The settlement does not include all possible civil claims tied to the Flint water crisis.