Flint water crisis report calls for reform, repealing emergency manager law

Posted at 5:05 PM, Oct 19, 2016

LANSING, Mich. -- "The government has failed the people of Flint."

This is the opinion from a state legislative committee chairman after a lengthy investigation into the city's water crisis.

The chairman, Sen. Jim Stamas, (R) - Midland, released the final report of the Joint Select Committee on the Flint Water Emergency Wednesday, after hearing testimony from more than 60 people connected to the Flint crisis. In the 34-page report, it calls for more than 30 policy proposals meant to prevent a crisis like this from happening again.

Read the committee report and timeline of the Flint water crisis here.

Stamas writes the report is focused on solutions, not placing blame, but it does take a hard stance on the state's emergency manager law. It calls for major reform, writing the state should repeal the current one-person emergency manager and replace it with a team of three experts, if any city or school district should fall under state control.

The committee chairman also calls for stricter safeguards within Michigan's Lead and Copper Rule writing: "One of the primary causes of the Flint water crisis was a poorly written, interpreted, and applied Lead Copper Rule. This rule, which was promulgated by the federal government and adopted in Michigan, is simply insufficient to protect Michiganders."

The chairman proposes setting stricter lead action levels down from 15 to 10 parts per billion, and replacing lead service lines statewide.

State Senator Jim Ananich, (D) - Flint, also Minority Vice Chair of this joint committee, says most critical is the report's acknowledgment that Michigan's emergency manager law failed.

"I think it’s important to note that we’re going to continue to push for reform or repeal of the emergency manager law," said Ananich.

"We know that the emergency manager and the culture created by the governor’s office had a devastating effect in Flint and it’s really had no success anywhere in the state. I think there’s a way to improve it, whether it’s to be repealed or replaced that still gives people, the citizens, a voice in their government, to make sure there’s oversight, and make sure that decisions are made that aren’t solely for financial concerns; they’re about the best interests of the public."