Flint-area lawmakers' bills would help residents seek damages from water crisis

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LANSING (WJRT) (5/30/2018) - Two Flint-area lawmakers introduced legislation on Wednesday that would help residents affected by the water crisis collect damages.

Both Democrats are working to lengthen the time Flint resident have to file claims against the state and hold state officials legally accountable for their roles in creating the water crisis.

Sheldon Neeley of Flint introduced House Bill 6101, which would allow individuals to recover damages relating to the death or injury of a person or damage to property as a result of a water emergency.

The bill would apply the statute of limitations retroactively to help all residents affected by the Flint water crisis seek damages in court.

Neeley contends Gov. Rick Snyder is trying to "run out the clock" on residents, leaving them with no action until after the statute of limitations expires.

“My legislation will create a statute of limitations increasing the length of time for residents affected by a water emergency and give them an opportunity to have their day in court,” Neeley said.

State Rep. Phil Phelps of Flushing introduced House Bill 6102, which would remove governmental immunity from state employees implicated in creating the Flint water crisis.

“At the very least, we should remove the state’s immunity so the courts can sort out damages for those who file claims against the state,” Phelps said.

The bills have not been assigned to a House committee yet. They would have to be approved there, by the full House and the Senate before going to Snyder's desk for a signature to become law.

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