LANSING, Mich. — With the official report and recommendations of the Joint Committee on the Flint Water Public Health Emergency expected soon, the Democratic members of the panel outlined key principles they believe should be included. The committee held its last hearing on May 10, and the report and recommendations could be released as early as next week.
“This report must be action-oriented, not just academic,” said Senator Jim Ananich (D-Flint), Democratic Leader and Minority Vice-Chair of the committee. “My community is still struggling to recover and other communities are still at risk if we don’t get this right.”
Among the critical components the lawmakers wish to see in the report are:
– It must be at least as thorough and unflinching as the independent Flint Water Advisory Task Force, which made 44 recommendations on March 21.
– It must include substantial reforms in the areas the members heard about during the committee meetings, such as accountability, public health and infrastructure.
– It must include a concrete timeline and agreement to make changes, including a long-term commitment, as the effects of this crisis could last for decades.
“During our hearings, the committee learned of fatal flaws in the emergency manager law and a regulatory culture that valued technical compliance above public health,” said Rep. Jeff Irwin (D-Ann Arbor), the House Democrat on the Committee. “At a minimum, the recommendations should include replacing pipes, tightening drinking water protections and ending Michigan’s failed emergency manager law.”
The committee held several meetings during the spring, but refused to consider subpoena power or request testimony from Governor Snyder or a number of key potential witnesses.