Governor Snyder

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette.
Bill Schuette / Facebook.com

The U.S. Justice Department, Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette and Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton have asked Gov. Rick Snyder’s administration to shut down its internal investigations into the Flint water crisis.

They say those internal administrative investigations may have damaged their criminal investigations. 

Under Michigan law, Governor Snyder is exempt from the Freedom of Information Act.
Flickr user Michigan Municipal League / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

There is only one state in the entire country where, under the law, the governor is exempt from the Freedom of Information Act.

You guessed it: it's Michigan.

Senators Jim Stamas and Jim Ananich at a hearing on the Flint water health emergency with local officials and members of the public at the University of Michigan
senatorjimstamas.com / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The legislative committee in charge of examining what went wrong with the Flint water crisis has concluded.

When Midland Republican Sen. Jim Stamas was appointed chairman, he promised to take testimony on the mistakes that led to the Flint water disaster "at all levels of government,"and to ensure that something like this never happens again. 

However, neither Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder nor any of the former emergency managers in charge of the city of Flint were called to testify. 

Crowd waits to hear President Obama speak in Flint, Michigan.
Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

Governor Rick Snyder stepped before a crowd of thousands of Flint residents Wednesday in advance of President Obama's speech at Northwestern High School.

The reaction was not warm. 

Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes joins us to talk about what it will take to end the free-for-all of political games and blame-shifting in the ongoing water crisis. 

Governor Snyder speaking at a Flint water press conference on January 27, 2016.
SnyderLive

President Obama's visit this week puts the national spotlight back on Flint and its water crisis. 

It has been four months since Governor Snyder declared a state of emergency in Flint. There were promises to fix the many problems Flint now faces because of its water. But a bill that would send the city $144 million to help fix the city's problems is still stuck in the state Legislature. 

sign that says "Flint Vehicle City"
Michigan Municipal League/flickr / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

President Barak Obama is scheduled to visit Flint on Wednesday, and Governor Rick Snyder said today  that he has formally asked to meet with the president and Flint Mayor Karen Weaver during the visit.

Snyder said it would be an opportunity to discuss at the highest level how to best support Flint.

“How can we all work together to make Flint a stronger, better community and address the water question as much as possible,” said Snyder.

Gov. Rick Snyder talks about Wednesday's criminal charges against two MDEQ employees and one Flint official.
SnyderLive / screen grab

Two state water quality experts and a Flint utility official have been charged with felonies and misdemeanors related to the city's drinking water crisis. 

The charges include misconduct and neglect of duty, and lying to cover up the lead contamination. 

When asked specifically whether Governor Snyder was being looked at as part of the state's ongoing investigation, state Attorney General Bill Schuette simply responded that "no one is above the law."

Governor Snyder sits with Flint resident Cheryl Canty in her home on Monday
Facebook

Gov. Rick Snyder visited a Flint home on Monday and drank filtered water from the family's tap.

He then announced that he'll be drinking filtered tap water from Flint for the next 30 days to show the public that it's safe. 

 

Cheryl Canty, the Flint resident who opened up her home to Snyder, tells us she was surprised to find out that the governor would be paying her a visit. 

sign that says "Flint Vehicle City"
Michigan Municipal League/flickr / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Leaders of a task force that looked into the causes of the Flint water crisis told a panel of state lawmakers they should consider changes to Michigan’s emergency manager law.

The task force report says a culture of arrogance and dismissal of local concerns helped cause the crisis, and so did the sweeping power of emergency managers. 

Former state Senate Majority Leader Ken Sikkema co-chaired the task force. He says the law focuses too much on fixing a local government’s finances without looking out for public health and safety.

Gov. Rick Snyder
gophouse.com

The hallmark of Rick Snyder’s tenure as Michigan’s governor has been his relentless drive to run government like a business.

Many believe that putting the bottom line first is what helped cause the Flint water crisis.

The Flint Water Advisory Task Force presents the findings of its final report.
Screenshot from livestream

This week the Flint Water Advisory Task Force released its 116-page report.

Although Gov. Snyder appointed the task force, he and his administration were not spared in its frank findings.

At the formal release of the task force report, co-chair Chris Kolb singled out the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality as having, as the report said, “a degree of intransigence and belligerence that has no place in government.”

“I think the residents and citizens of Flint will take the remorse of government to be genuine when they see quality, pure, safe water coming out of the tap," says NAACP president Cornell William Brooks.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Top leaders of the NAACP were in Lansing Wednesday pressing Governor Snyder on the Flint water crisis.

The group blocked a street in front of the State Capitol with pieces of pipe, calling it a “pipe-in.”

Leading the group was the National NAACP President and CEO Cornell William Brooks.

Brooks was in Lansing a month ago, and threatened civil disobedience if Governor Snyder didn’t present a plan within 30 days that included a deadline for replacing Flint’s water pipes.

 

flickr user Violet Jiang / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Late last week, the state House passed a stopgap funding bill that gives nearly $50 million to the Detroit Public Schools.

That’s just enough money to see the flailing school district through to the end of this school year.

Governor Snyder’s proposed $715 million fix is still on the table. It would divide the district into two entities: an “Old Co.” that would use millage revenue to pay off the $515 million in debt, and a “New Co.” that would exist solely to educate students.

Congress may have grabbed headlines by grilling Governor Rick Snyder Thursday, but now those in Flint are asking: What really got done?

Snyder and Environmental Protection Agency administrator Gina McCarthy testified in front of the House Oversight Committee, giving their versions of and explaining their culpability in the Flint water crisis.

But Flint activists Melissa Mays and Nayyirah Shariff were unhappy with what they heard. 

Michigan Radio's Lester Graham talked with the pair on Stateside.

Gov. Snyder is taking heat regarding decisions made by his Emergency Managers that lead to the Flint water crisis
Gov. Rick Snyder / screengrab

Governor Rick Snyder was questioned today by the House Oversight Government Reform Committee as it continued probing the Flint water crisis.

Michigan Radio’s Lansing Bureau Chief Rick Pluta was in Washington for the hearing.

Gov. Rick Snyder
gophouse.com

Gov. Rick Snyder joined Environmental Protection Agency administrator Gina McCarthy today to testify before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee in Washington today. This was the third Flint water hearing by this House panel.

Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes tells us that of all the people the panel has questioned, Snyder has come the closest to admitting and accepting his mistakes.

A Flint water protest
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Before Flint's water problems were widely known to the public, Snyder administration officials spent a lot of time emailing back and forth about the city and its water. 

We wouldn't know that if the governor hadn't voluntarily released batches of emails. That’s because he and the Legislature are exempt from Michigan’s Freedom of Information Act.

But that could change.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

That moment you step up to the voting machine to cast your vote is arguably the foundation of our democracy.

But here’s something you might not know: Those voting machines that we rely on are wearing out, and fast.

Two years ago, a presidential commission on elections warned of an impending national crisis because of these worn-out voting machines, and according to Ingham County Clerk Barb Byrum, Michigan is in the thick of it.

Will Greenberg/Michigan Radio

Governor Snyder's committee on the Flint water crisis met again Friday, primarily discussing the best evaluation tools for assessing the city's water safety.

Comprised of notables like Flint Mayor Karen Weaver, along with high-ranking officials from agencies like the MDEQ and Health and Human Services, the Flint Water Interagency Coordinating Committee is tasked with developing long-term solutions to the water crisis. The governor formed the committee with an executive order in January.

michigan.gov

Gov. Rick Snyder is now officially scheduled to testify before Congress on March 17 about the Flint water crisis.

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee is holding two new rounds of hearings about Flint, after an initial hearing in early February.

Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, did not invite Snyder to testify at the previous hearing, despite urging from Democrats.

Snyder’s office recently released a statement saying he’d called Chaffetz, asking to testify.

Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaking with supporters in Manchester, New Hampshire
Gage Skidmore / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

Just a little over nine months from today, Americans will choose their next leader. This election year has already seen its fair share of presidential candidates rushing to comment on every major news story, but when does a politician cross the line from commenting on news to politicizing events such as the Flint water crisis?

Ronna Romney McDaniel is the chair of the Michigan Republican Party. Regarding the drinking water situation in Flint, McDaniel says, “It’s very clear that there were failures at the local, state and federal level.”

Gov. Snyder's proposed budget would set aside over $100 million for the Healthy Michigan plan
Zoe Clark / Michigan Radio

Gov. Rick Snyder’s new budget contains over $100 million for Healthy Michigan.

That’s a reminder that it’s time for the state of Michigan to pony up some of the Medicaid expansion program’s operation cost. That Healthy Michigan program means health insurance for some 600,000 lower-income Michiganders.

Under Michigan law, Governor Snyder is exempt from the Freedom of Information Act.
Flickr user Michigan Municipal League / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

FLINT, Mich. (AP) - Gov. Rick Snyder is asking the federal government to expand Medicaid coverage to people under 21 and pregnant women who have been exposed to Flint's lead-contaminated water.

In a statement released Sunday, Snyder says about 15,000 more Flint residents would benefit if the government approves the request. The governor says the state would help by lining up doctors and behavioral health specialists and providing other services.

Michigan.gov

Governor Snyder just released 21,403 pages of emails about the Flint water crisis. 

The emails include documents the  The Detroit News already published Friday, in which the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency discussed the Genesee County Legionnaires’ disease outbreak in late March 2015.

Under Michigan law, Governor Snyder is exempt from the Freedom of Information Act.
Flickr user Michigan Municipal League / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Governor Snyder says he now wants to testify before congress to “explain mistakes made by water quality experts that led to the current crisis, and detail the emergency response in place to help residents recover,” according to a statement released Friday.

Snyder’s office says he called the chairman of the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, to ask for the opportunity to testify.

Snyder Press Secretary Dave Murray says the governor will use the opportunity to call for a national conversation on infrastructure.

Kate Wells/Michigan Radio

Luke Waid says he was stunned when he got the results from his daughter Sophia's 1-year check-up.

It was August 2014, and a blood test revealed a lead level of 14 micrograms per deciliter. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control considers 5 "high." 

Six months earlier, Sophia's blood-lead level had been fine, Waid says. Then, in April of 2014, Flint started pumping its drinking water from the Flint River. Four months after that, her lead level spiked.

The following month, in September, Waid says doctors did a follow-up test, just to be certain. Same result.

Former Flint mayor Dayne Walling joined us in-studio to discuss the Flint water crisis
Paula Friedrich / Michigan Radio

The Flint water crisis is complicated, and more details are being revealed nearly every day.

Dayne Walling has lived it from the beginning. Walling was the mayor of Flint from 2009 to 2015, the period of time when crucial decisions were made regarding Flint’s water supply.

Protests over Flint's drinking water crisis have been going on for nearly two years. A rally marking the 2nd anniversary of the switch to the Flint River is planned for this afternoon at 3pm at city hall.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint officials say the city’s water utility could run out of money by the year’s end as more and more Flint citizens skip paying bills amid the crisis with lead-tainted water.

City Administrator Natasha Henderson told city council members at a meeting Monday that the public health emergency is driving down collections on water bills. She says it's an "imminent concern" and it is leaving the city in a "very precarious situation."

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder
Gov. Rick Snyder

Governor Snyder could be called to testify before Congress about the Flint Water Crisis.

U.S. Rep. Brenda Lawrence, D-Southfield, says she's requested the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform hold a hearing.

She says she wants Governor Snyder, the Michigan Department on Environmental Quality, and the EPA to testify.

People in Flint are relying on bottled water while officials try to figure out how to fix the tap water.
Michigan State Police

In his State of the State address this week, Governor Rick Snyder apologized to people in Flint for the water crisis. 

“I’m sorry most of all that I let you down,” he said. “You deserve better. You deserve accountability. You deserve to know that the buck stops here with me. Most of all, you deserve to know the truth, and I have a responsibility to tell the truth.”

The governor said he would release his emails related to Flint. Those emails came out late yesterday afternoon.

In general, the emails didn’t divulge anything big. They pretty much underscored what’s already been revealed. That the state didn't recognize the severity of the problem, and downplayed or dismissed the warning signs.

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