FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
News from Flint Rising
December 13, 2016
Michigan Legislature Fails to Bring Accountability to Flint Water Crisis Once Again
Elected officials push through voter and first-amendment suppression laws while failing to address water issues
FLINT – Today, Flint Rising responded the failure of representatives in the Michigan Legislature to debate and pass a complete bill package that would address some of the causes and effects of the Flint Water Crisis, as well as address issues residents around the state are facing around access to safe, clean, affordable water.
“It is clear that the Michigan Legislature’s priorities are in the wrong place and they are incapable of adopting any sort of policy solutions to prevent another stateside water disaster,” said Nayyirah Shariff, director of Flint Rising. “A year ago grassroots organizations in partnership with elected officials developed the Water is a Human Rights bill package. They have been languishing in committee for over a year and it is unlikely these 15 bills will never make their way to the House floor. The largest public health disaster in the history of this state happened on the watch of these elected officials in Lansing.”
The “Water is a Human Right” bill package contains bipartisan, bicameral bills that were introduced during the current legislative session in 2015. The bill package would, among other things, make safe, clean, affordable, and accessible water a right to every individual in Michigan, address affordability of water, decriminalize the act of reconnecting water that has been shutoff due to an individual’s ability to pay, ensure transparency in billing, prevent pre-flushing for water samples, provide shut-off protection for vulnerable communities, and increase access to water supply for those not on municipal water hook-ups. The bills would also establish criteria for action from the state related to lead and copper contamination, establish water testing and interventions for lead contamination in schools, and create a water ombudsman to advocate for residents on issues related to water.
“We still cannot drink the water coming out of our taps unfiltered,” Shariff continued. “Flint residents have been waiting for far too long for relief. The current policies can create a hundred Flints within the state unless the legislatures stand up and make some changes. They must act and pass this bill package in its entirely before the current session ends.”
Flint Rising is a coalition of community organizations and allies working to ensure that directly impacted people are building the organizing infrastructure and leadership necessary for this long-haul fight for justice and creating the future that Flint families need and deserve. For more information, please visit www.flintrising.com