Lawmakers want more for Flint

Posted at 8:06 AM, Jan 20, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-20 08:06:53-05

Governor Rick Snyder says he has a six-point plan to help Flint residents. Some lawmakers call it a solid first step, while others claim it falls short.

Despite their opinion of the plan, many lawmakers agree they're willing to spend what it takes to help thousands exposed to lead in Flint's water.

"We're going to fix it and I like that," said Senator Rick Jones (R-Grand Ledge).

"We need to invest in those kids now and long term," said Senator Curtis Hertel Jr. (D-Lansing).

Governor Snyder is asking lawmakers for $28 million to meet emergency needs in Flint, including getting water filters and helping with unpaid water bills.

Rep. Tom Barrett (R-Potterville) says the Governor's plan is what the state needs to focus on.

"Right now we're most focused on stopping the bleeding, solving the issue, getting safe drinking water there and then fixing the problem long-term as well," Barrett added.

But across the aisle other lawmakers say that doesn't go far enough.

"We put a major road block in front of those kids when we poisoned them with lead," said Sen. Hertel. "If we don't invest in programs like early on and nutrition for those kids then we're going to be paying for this problem--not today, not tomorrow, but a long time down the road."

Rep. Sam Singh (D-East Lansing) agrees and says he's willing to back the governor's plan but only if there's a long-term funding plan. He says the state's $575 million budget surplus is a good start.

"We should be dedicating a lot of that budget surplus to the infrastructure and the health care needs of the citizens of Flint," Singh said. "Then beyond that what is he going to do year after year?'

In order to get that solution, some lawmakers say they're ready to drop party lines.

"What we really need is bipartisan cooperation," Sen. Jones said. "Lets fix it."