LANSING, Mich. (WXYZ) — Governor Gretchen Whitmer on Wednesday signed bipartisan Senate Bills 1251 and 1252 creating the Flint Settlement Trust Fund within the Michigan Department of Treasury.
The governor also amended the Michigan Strategic Fund Act to address the funding of the $641.2 million settlement in the civil Flint Water cases. Senate Bill 1251 was sponsored by Senator Jim Stamas (R-Midland), and Senate Bill 1252 was sponsored by Senate Democratic Leader Jim Ananich (D-Flint).
“What happened in Flint should never have happened,” said Governor Whitmer. “From my first month in office, Attorney General Nessel and I made it clear to our teams that even though we inherited this situation, it was our responsibility to achieve the best possible settlement for the children and families of Flint. While this settlement will never be enough to compensate for what happened, it is a major step toward helping the people of Flint heal. I want to thank Senators Ananich and Stamas for sponsoring these bipartisan bills. This is another example of both parties working together to protect the people of our state.”
"I echo the sentiments of many that no amount of money will heal the wounds inflicted on this community. The residents of the City of Flint deserve justice and they deserve a resolution to these lawsuits," Mayor Sheldon Neeley said. "As a strong man of faith, I would ask that we continue to pray for the City of Flint and those who have been negatively impacted."
In August, the state of Michigan announced a $600 million settlement of the civil lawsuits brought against the state by Flint residents after the water supply for the City of Flint was switched to the Flint River in April 2014. Additional parties have since joined the settlement bringing the total to just over $641.2 million.
The City of Flint is contributing $20 million to the settlement, with McLaren Regional Medical Center providing $20 million and Rowe Professional Services Co. providing $1.25 million.
Governor Whitmer has announced a series of initiatives to show support for the City of Flint and its families, including:
- Working to help the city complete lead service-line replacement;
- A 2021 State budget that includes millions of dollars for Flint’s ongoing nutrition programs, child health care services, early childhood programs, lead prevention and abatement, school aid, services to seniors, and other programs supporting people in Flint who were previously exposed to lead and other contaminants.
- A 2020 budget that included $120M of investments in water infrastructure;
- Creating the Office of Clean Water Advocacy, and the appointment of a clean water public advocate and an environmental justice public advocate; and
- New lead and copper water quality standards that are the strictest in the nation.
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