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Board rejects Snyder recall petition

Gov. Rick Snyder

A state elections board has rejected a petition seeking to recall Governor Rick Snyder over the Flint water crisis.

The bipartisan Board of State Canvassers says the petition is premature since there are still inquiries underway into what happened in Flint, and the allegations are unproven. Democrats and Republicans on the board voted to reject the petition, which says Snyder is “culpable” for the contamination.

“I am of the opinion, frankly, that people should go to jail over this, poisoned children, affecting their lives long-term,” said Democrat Julie Matuzak. “There are a number of ongoing investigations at this point to figure out who made what decisions, when they made them, the effects of those decisions. My opinion at this point is that your petition is probably premature given that those investigations have not seen fruit yet.”

Dave Murray is the governor’s press secretary. He says the administration is still sorting through what went wrong in Flint. “We have experts assembled, working on the task force to review state, city, and federal involvement with that,” he said, “and we expect that, perhaps, within three months.”

The handwritten petition was submitted by Detroit pastor Angelo Scott Brown. He says it’s undisputed that children in Flint were subjected to lead-contaminated tap water. And he says it happened while the city was under the control of a state-appointed emergency manager.

“He is responsible,” said Brown. “The buck stops with the governor.”

Brown says he may submit a new petition, or he may go to the state Court of Appeals in an effort to get the board decision reversed.

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