FLINT, Mich. (AP) — The latest on developments in the lead contamination of Flint’s water (all times local):
Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder on Wednesday will propose an additional $195 million in state spending to address Flint’s water emergency, including $25 million to potentially replace lead-contaminated pipes.
If approved by lawmakers, the state will have allocated $232 million toward the crisis this fiscal year and next.
Spokesman Dave Murray said Tuesday that Snyder also will call for a separate $165 million to fund infrastructure needs across the state, including upgrades to old water pipes, natural gas lines and wastewater treatment facilities.
Flint is under a state of emergency because state regulators allowed the city to switch its water source in 2014 without adding anti-corrosion chemicals.
Snyder is due to present a $54.9 billion spending plan for the 2016-17 budget year.
Michigan’s top law enforcement official says the governor’s office should no longer be exempt from public-records requests.
Michigan is one of just two states with a blanket exemption for the governor and the executive office from open-records requests. Republican Attorney General Bill Schuette said Tuesday the “reset button has been pushed” because of crisis over Flint’s water being contaminated with lead, and he is hopeful that lawmakers will broaden the law.
Republican Gov. Rick Snyder — who has apologized for the crisis — has voluntarily released his personal emails from 2014 and 2015 related to the water emergency, but not correspondence among his staff.
He has said he wants to discuss with legislators bills to subject his office and their offices to Michigan’s Freedom of Information Act.
A special counsel appointed to investigate the lead contamination of Flint’s water says the harshest criminal charge could include involuntary manslaughter.
Todd Flood suggested manslaughter as a possibility during a meeting with reporters Tuesday. He says government officials might face that charge if they were grossly negligent in breaching a duty.
Flood and others appointed by Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette remain in the early stages of their probe into the potential violation of civil or criminal laws. Flint’s water is contaminated from lead pipes, and experts have suggested a link between the city’s water switch and a Legionnaires’ disease outbreak in which some people died.
Flood says restitution will be a “very big issue” to ensure the people are held accountable.
Schuette says he does not know how long the investigation will take.
Flint Mayor Karen Weaver says officials are working on a plan to remove and replace all lead water pipes as the city seeks solutions to its lead-tainted water crisis.
Weaver said at a news conference on Tuesday that the work is expected to cost $55 million. Households where residents are deemed to be high-risk would be given priority for pipe replacement.
State officials disconnected Flint from Detroit’s water supply in 2014 and began using the Flint River to save money. Regulators failed to ensure the new water was treated properly and lead from pipes leached into the water supply, contributing to a spike in child lead exposure.
Weaver said that Flint is “going to restore safe drinking water one house at a time, one child at a time.”
General Motors and the United Auto Workers union plan to donate $3 million to support increased health and education services for Flint children who have been exposed to lead.
The United Way of Genesee County announced the five-year commitment Tuesday from the Detroit-based automaker and the union, saying it will address “immediate, ongoing and growing needs of Flint children affected by lead.”
The United Way says it’s outlining a framework that will provide children with at-home care, nutritional assistance and early childhood and supplemental education.
Those involved say the initiative will include support for preschool, nutritional needs, school nursing, before- and after-school programming, increased special education capacity and increased school counselors.
If consumed, lead can cause developmental delays and learning disabilities.
Flint’s city administrator says $30 million to help pay water bills isn’t enough to counteract the effect of the crisis with lead-tainted water on city finances.
Natasha Henderson told city council members Monday the proposal passed last week by the state Senate would only keep Flint’s water fund financially solvent until year’s end. She says that could force water service shutoffs to resume.
The Flint Journal reports Henderson says at least $60 million is needed. Gov. Rick Snyder formally announced the $30 million plan last week.
On Tuesday, Flint Mayor Karen Weaver plans to outline the next steps in her plan to remove lead pipes from the city’s water system.
Separately on Tuesday, Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette and his office’s investigators plan to offer an update on their investigation.
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