In a predominately Black community that in recent years faced the Flint water crisis and slow response from government officials, big change is coming to the city of Flint. Today, Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed bipartisan Senate Bills 1251 and 1252 creating the Flint Settlement Trust Fund within the Michigan Department of Treasury, and amending the Michigan Strategic Fund Act, to address the funding of the $641.2 million settlement in the civil Flint Water cases, according to a press release.
Senate Bill 1251 was sponsored by Sen. 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 in the press release. “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.”
“There is no amount of money that can restore trust or erase the damage inflicted upon the people of Flint. While there are many who view today’s bill signing as the end of this story, for the people of Flint it is a chance at a new beginning,” Senate Democratic Leader Jim Ananich added in the press release. “This settlement is a measure of justice for the victims of the water crisis, and specifically the children of Flint who may endure the impact of lead poisoning for years to come.”
“Today’s bill signing delivers accountability to the people of Flint. I hope it brings some closure to the families affected by the crisis,” Sen. Jim Stamas said. “This settlement ends the fiscal uncertainty the crisis created in our state and allows us to move forward.” “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 her backing 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
- New lead and copper water quality standards that are the strictest in the nation.
To view the signing statement, click the link below:
Additional information on the Flint settlement and the governor’s actions can be found by visiting flintsettlementfacts.org.