AP News Guide: Latest developments in Flint water crisis

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Posted: Jan 28, 2016 6:29 PM
AP News Guide: Latest developments in Flint water crisis

FLINT, Mich. (AP) — The Michigan Legislature has directed another $28 million to address Flint's lead-tainted water supply. The measure now awaits Gov. Rick Snyder's signature.

Flint is under a public health emergency that has led to local, state and federal emergency declarations because its drinking water is tainted with lead.

The water became contaminated when the financially struggling city, under state management, switched from the Detroit municipal system and began drawing from the Flint River in April 2014 to save money. The water was not properly treated to keep lead from pipes from leaching into the supply. Some children's blood has tested positive for lead, which has been linked to learning disabilities, lower IQ and behavioral problems.

Here are the latest developments in the Flint water crisis:

STATE WORKERS GOT BOTTLED WATER

Emails released by a liberal group critical of Gov. Rick Snyder show the state was sending bottled water a year ago to state employees in Flint.

The water came at a time when Flint announced it had flunked some drinking water standards apart from the lead contamination that has spoiled tap water and caused a crisis.

Lonnie Scott of Progress Michigan says Snyder's administration was taking care of employees while Flint residents were being told to not worry about tap water.

Melanie Brown, a spokeswoman at the Department of Environmental Quality, couldn't immediately say for how long the state provided water.

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MICHIGAN LEGISLATURE ACTS

The Michigan Legislature unanimously approved $28 million in additional funding to address the lead contamination. The emergency spending bill includes money for more bottled water and filters and services to monitor for developmental delays in young children. The funds also will help the city with unpaid water bills and cover testing, monitoring and other costs.

It is the second round of state funding allocated since the lead contamination was confirmed in the fall.

Gov. Rick Snyder still must sign it. That could come Friday.

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STATE EMERGENCY EXTENDED

The Michigan Legislature on Thursday extended the state emergency declaration in the city of Flint and Genesee County until April 14. It had been set to expire on Monday.

Gov. Rick Snyder said the extension ensures Flint residents will have access to bottled water, filters, and testing kits, while long-term solutions are sought.

The extension coincides with President Barack Obama's federal emergency declaration.

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CONGRESS WEIGHS IN

Democratic U.S. Sens. Gary Peters and Debbie Stabenow of Michigan on Thursday proposed up to $400 million in emergency federal funding to replace and fix lead-contaminated pipes in Flint. The bill requires the state of Michigan to match the federal spending.

Gov. Rick Snyder, a Republican, has estimated the cost of replacing Flint's water supply infrastructure at $767.4 million.

The bill would also require federal action if a state refuses to warn the public about unsafe water and authorizes $20 million a year to monitor lead exposure in Flint. It is being offered as an amendment to a Senate energy bill.

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NO SNYDER RECALL

The Board of State Canvassers on Thursday rejected petitions to recall Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder over his handling of Flint's lead-contaminated water.

The board said the reasons for a recall must be clear and factual, under Michigan law. If they're not, no one can gather signatures to force a recall election.

Flint resident Quincy Murphy wants to recall Snyder for "failing to protect the health and safety" of the citizens of Flint. Snyder attorney John Pirich says that's opinion, not fact.

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PISTONS OWNER HELPS

Tom Gores, a Flint native and owner of the Detroit Pistons, pledged Thursday to raise $10 million to address the short- and long-term needs of his Michigan hometown.

Gores said Thursday that he has appointed two associates to raise money from other business leaders and identify priorities in Flint.

Gores, who is chairman of Los Angeles-based Platinum Equity, also will contribute. Pistons vice chairman Arn Tellem and Platinum Equity partner Mark Barnhill will lead the effort.

Barnhill said the residents' immediate needs are important but that long-term opportunities in Flint will also be explored, such as small business assistance.

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Corrects second item to say Michigan Legislature voted to extend the emergency declaration, not that Snyder extended it.