Month in Review: Flint fallout, House DPS plan

Feb 29, 2016

We revisit February’s top developments in the Flint Water crisis, the Michigan House’s controversial plan to save Detroit Public Schools and more with Kyle Melinn of MIRS News and Alethia Kasben of Gongwer News.


Credit WKAR File Photo

February at the state Capitol featured a series of developments involving the Flint Water Crisis. Emails released last week revealed top Snyder administration officials were concerned about the situation in the fall of 2014. Their concern did not reach the Governor.

And with possible insolvency looming for the Detroit Public Schools, Michigan House Republicans weighed in with a controversial plan for the district’s future.

To discuss those stories and more, Current State talks with Kyle Melinn, editor and Vice President of Lansing’s MIRS newsletter, and Alethia Kasben, who focuses on the state House for Gongwer News.

INTERVIEW HIGHLIGHTS:

On fallout from the latest e-mails released by Governor Snyder

“I think the Democrats have raised a lot of questions about them. How could the Governor not know about this major situation going on in Flint? It seems like everybody else under him did know. Democrats have been extremely critical of what they believe is mismanagement of state government. There have been additional calls by the Democrats to have some type of Free of Information Act reform in state government so the Governor’s e-mails are subject to a FOIA request; as opposed to just giving them out to the media when he feels like it.” -- Kyle Melinn

On a recently appointed House committee for the Flint water crisis

“It will be looking at what sort of policy changes can be made to prevent something like [the Flint water crisis] from happening in the future. The Republican speaker has been adamant that it is not an investigative committee - it’s going to be an oversight committee” -- Alethia Kasben

Was there resistance for another investigative committee?

“There was resistance for another investigation. That’s obvious by the fact of how long it took to come. Republicans didn’t want to be ‘eating their own’. They didn’t want to be duplicative and add another layer of investigation. I think it’s interesting that it happened now, when it first appeared there wasn’t going to be [an investigation] at all. The heat on the burner got a little too high, and they realized they better not be horribly late to the party.” -- Melinn

On a recent House proposal for Detroit Public Schools

“The House proposal has the State looking over the school district’s shoulder for eight years. That’s not acceptable for the folks in the city of Detroit. It also allows teachers to be hired into Detroit Public Schools without having a regular teaching certificate. Obviously the teacher’s union is not happy about this. They’re asking ‘Why is Detroit different in this? Why are we the lab rats again?’ -- Melinn