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New slate of bills would reform emergency manager law, and require more water tests

Filling a sample bottle.
Courtesy photo
Virginia Tech

Legislators in Lansing are introducing a series of bipartisan bills that would change the state’s emergency manager laws and require more testing for lead in drinking water.

One bill (SB 395) would require water tests at “vulnerable population centers” such as child care facilities, nursing homes and hospitals.

"Michigan is defined by its water, both literally and figuratively," said the bill's sponsor, state Sen. Kim LaSata, R-Bainbridge Township, in a statement. "With this plan, we are going above and beyond to help prevent another Flint water crisis and to ensure contamination is identified and remedied quicker than ever before." 

Legislators introduced similar bills in 2016, though those bills never passed through the committee stage.

Other bills introduced in recent weeks would allow for the state to create a three-member panel “financial management team” instead of an emergency manager (HB 4751, 4752). It also would prohibit either an emergency manager or a team from changing water supplies based solely on costs.

The changes were among the recommendations of a legislative committeeon the Flint water crisis in 2016.

The full package of bills also contain some measures that would affect the state auditor general. You can read the bills by following the links below.

Allow for appointment of "financial management teams" rather than emergency managers: 

HB 4751

HB 4752

HB 4753HB 4754HB 4755, HB 4756, HB 4757, HB 4758, HB 4759, HB 4760, HB 4761, HB 4762, HB 4763, HB 4764, HB 4765, HB 4766, HB 4767,HB 4768, HB 4769

Bills addressing state auditor general:

SB 201

SB 404

Bills to require more water testing:

SB 395

SB 396

SB 397

SB 401

Establish new Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention and Control Commission:

SB 398

SB 399

Require notification of existing lead service lines:

SB 400

Establish PFAS action response team:

SB 402

Appropriate funds to test for PFAS contamination:

SB 403

Dustin Dwyer reports enterprise and long-form stories from Michigan Public’s West Michigan bureau. He was a fellow in the class of 2018 at the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard. He’s been with Michigan Public since 2004, when he started as an intern in the newsroom.
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