Flint Legislators Seek to Increase Opportunity for Justice in Water Crisis
LANSING, Mich. —Today, Senate Minority Leader Jim Ananich (D–Flint) and state Representative John Cherry (D-Flint) announced legislation to extend the statute of limitations in criminal misconduct cases of public officials. The bills increase the window in which prosecutors can seek legal action against emergency managers, department leaders, local officials or any other public official who had a role in poisoning the residents of Flint.
This spring will mark six years since Flint’s drinking water source was switched to the untreated Flint river, beginning one of this nation’s worst manmade crises in history, sickening scores of Flint residents and killing twelve from Legionella contamination. Because of the previous administration’s botched investigation, and failure to hold accountable those who caused the water crisis, Sen. Ananich and Rep. Cherry’s legislation is an essential measure to provide the current Office of Attorney General reasonable time to complete a new investigation and file new charges and bring the cases to a much-needed conclusion.
“This legislation is necessary to ensure that the people of Flint have the opportunity for justice to be served and not cut short because the previous investigation was conducted irregularly and ineffectively,” said Rep. Cherry. “We need to ensure that investigators have the time needed to properly review the 99% of documents that were not turned over to prosecutors until this summer.”
The bills, House Bill 4834 and Senate Bill 462, specify that public officials, including emergency managers, must be charged within 10 years of the offense. This is a four-year increase from the current statute of limitations for crimes involving public officials.
“Flint will not be able to truly recover until those who poisoned our city are held accountable by the law,” said Sen. Ananich. “While we know that this is an extremely urgent matter that needs to be brought to a conclusion, the most important thing is that, at the end of the day, the people of our community see justice.”