Tag Archives: Rick Snyder

In ‘Craven’ Bait-and-Switch Attack on Workers, Michigan GOP Guts Minimum Wage and Sick Leave Proposals

“Imagine hating working-class people this much.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 12-5-2018

Michigan voters—joined by a “lame duck”—gathered to watch in Michigan’s capital as Republican lawmakers gutted a minimum wage hike and paid sick leave protections. (Photo: @LindsayVanHulle/Twitter)

Three months after ensuring that Michigan voters would not have a say in proposals to hike the state’s minimum wage and provide sick leave to workers, the state’s Republican-led Senate pushed through major changes to the initiatives on Tuesday, effectively gutting legislation that hundreds of thousands of Michigan residents had demanded.

Under the original minimum wage proposal, the state’s minimum wage would have gone up from $9.25 to $12 per hour by 2022—but workers will have to wait until 2030 under the GOP’s version of the bill. Tipped workers’s wages will go up to only $4 from $3.52 per hour by that time under the Republican proposal. Continue reading

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Involuntary Manslaughter Charges for Top State Health Official for Role in Flint Water Crisis

Advocacy group says new charges boost call for governor to resign

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-14-2017

Michigan’s top health official was among five people charged with involuntary manslaughter for their role in the Flint water crisis. (Photo: Flint Rising/ Facebook)

Michigan’s attorney general announced Wednesday that the head of the state’s health department and four others have been charged with involuntary manslaughter for their role in the years-long Flint water crisis.

Nick Lyon, director of Michigan Health and Human Services, “failed in his responsibilities to protect the health and safety of the citizens of Flint,” state AG Bill Schuette said at a press conference Wednesday. Continue reading

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Flint Residents Now Have to Pay for Water They Still Can’t Drink

State government ends program that helped residents of Flint, Michigan with their water bills after widespread lead poisoning was revealed

By Nika Knight, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 3-1-2017

“It’s been three years, and we still can’t drink the water.” (Photo: Steve Johnson/flickr/cc)

The state of Michigan has declared that Flint’s drinking water “meets all federal water quality standards,” ending a program Wednesday that reimbursed residents for most of their water costs in the wake of the lead crisis.

Yet Flint residents still can’t drink the water, and the announcement was met with outrage.

“They want to make it look like they’ve resolved this thing, that it’s fixed,” Tim Monahan, a carpenter who survived Legionnaires’ disease caused by the poisoned water supply, told the Washington Post. “It’s been three years, and we still can’t drink the water.” Continue reading

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Flint Residents Barred From Closed-Door Water Quality Meeting

Advocates and residents are concerned that officials are rushing to declare the city’s water supply safe

By Lauren McCauley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 1-10-2017

“My eyes are still burning. I can’t breathe when I get out of the shower…we’re still melting here,” Flint resident Tony Palladeno said. (Photo: Flint Rising/ Facebook

Residents of Flint, Michigan who traveled to Chicago were barred from attending a private meeting Tuesday between Michigan Governor Rick Snyder and other officials, who advocates say are rushing to declare the city’s water supply safe.

Outrage over the closed-door meeting prompted protests in Flint and Chicago, where residents held signs outside the Water Quality Summit asking for their detailed water quality report. Continue reading

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Snyder’s “Unconscionable” Use of Millions in Taxpayer Money for Criminal Defense Fees Questioned

“I can’t think of a clearer conflict of interest than the governor signing a contract to provide his own personal legal defense … without anybody providing oversight,” attorney said.

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 10-12=2016

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder has been named in numerous lawsuits by Flint residents seeking justice for the lead-tainted water crisis. Image via CommonDreams.org.

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder has been named in numerous lawsuits by Flint residents seeking justice for the lead-tainted water crisis. Image via CommonDreams.org.

One resident of Flint, Michigan—a city still grappling with a lead-contamination crisis—is asking a grand jury to look into whether Gov. Rick Snyder illegally used $2 million in taxpayer money for his legal fees related to the disaster.

“After what has happened in this city, it’s just a slap in the face,” said 46-year-old Keri Webber, adding that she finds it “unacceptable and unconscionable” for city residents to “pa[y] for the defense of the very man at the center of the whole issue.” Continue reading

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Detroit Schools Shuttered as Lawmakers ‘Illegally’ Withhold Teacher Pay

“Teachers are not volunteers. Why doesn’t the state of Michigan take responsibility for funding the schools?”

By Lauren McCauley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 5-3-2016

Teachers say the bankruptcy claim is a "scare tactic to get terrible legislation passed through that will give us money now but screw us all over even harder in the long run." (Photo: DFT-Local 231/Twitter)

Teachers say the bankruptcy claim is a “scare tactic to get terrible legislation passed through that will give us money now but screw us all over even harder in the long run.” (Photo: DFT-Local 231/Twitter)

Ninety-four of 97 Detroit Public Schools (DPS) remained shuttered on Tuesday as the ongoing city-wide teacher “sickout” prompted calls for Michigan lawmakers to “stop playing political games and do the right thing for Detroit’s students, educators, and community.”

The Detroit Federation of Teachers (DFT) announced a second day of action after the city and state lawmakers failed to assure the union that teachers will be paid their full yearly salary.  Continue reading

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Search for Justice Heats Up As Attorneys Weigh Criminal Charges in Flint Crisis

Family of poisoned two-year-old files federal suit against top Michigan officials including Governor Rick Snyder

Written by Lauren McCauley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 2-9-2016.
Michigan Governor Rick Snyder has been named in numerous lawsuits by Flint residents seeking justice for the lead-tainted water crisis. Image via CommonDreams.org.

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder has been named in numerous lawsuits by Flint residents seeking justice for the lead-tainted water crisis. Image via CommonDreams.org.

The search for justice for victims of the Flint water crisis is heating up this week after investigators announced that they are weighing criminal charges while a new lawsuit, filed on behalf of a poisoned child, implicates those officials at the very top.

During a press conference in Lansing on Tuesday, attorney Todd Flood, a former Wayne County assistant prosecutor who was tapped by the Michigan attorney general to lead the investigation, said they are considering charges including “gross negligence, involuntary manslaughter, and misconduct in office” against those responsible for the lead-tainted water.

Flood explained that even in the case where someone made an “honest mistake,” that individual could still be charged with breaking civil or criminal laws if they turned a “blind eye” on the problem, rather than work to protect potential victims, the Detroit Free Press reports.

In fact, a lawsuit filed Monday in federal court accuses Michigan’s top officials, including Governor Rick Snyder and former Flint emergency manager Darnell Earley, of “failing to act” despite knowledge of the dangerously high lead levels in the city’s water supply.

Flint resident Luke Waid filed the suit after learning that his two-year-old daughter is one of the thousands of children now suffering from lead poisoning after the city, under the control of the state-appointed emergency manager, switched its water source to the Flint River as a temporary cost-cutting measure.

Waid told the Free Press that his children “don’t have a voice of their own so I have to be their voice. I have to stand behind my children. If I didn’t feel so betrayed, I wouldn’t have brought it this far.” According to the suit, daughter Sophia “has experienced serious physical and emotional issues due to the contaminated water, including skin rashes, digestive problems, infections, excessive crying and irritability and the inability to sleep at night.”

“Even when these officials knew of a lead problem, they failed to act, thus resulting in an epidemic of lead poisoning,” said attorney Brian McKeen, managing partner of McKeen & Associates. This suit marks the first individual case on behalf of Flint residents, though it is one of a number that has been brought against Michigan officials in recent weeks.

Snyder and Earley have repeatedly tried to dodge any accountability for their roles in the crisis. Both have refused to testify before U.S. House officials about the situation.

Michigan attorney general Bill Schuette on Tuesday also called on lawmakers to amend the governor’s exemption from the state’s open-records law and thus force the release of all internal documents related to Flint water.

Michigan is one of just two states with a blanket exemption for the governor’s office to the Freedom of Information Act. Government accountability group Common Cause Michigan says that this has allowed Snyder to “hide” certain correspondence that might indicate that he or his staff knew more about Flint’s lead-tainted water than they have let on.

Last month, Snyder released his personal emails from 2014 and 2015 pertaining to Flint, but not the correspondence among his staff.

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Rejecting Snyder’s Claim, Experts Say Poisoning of Flint Blatant Racial Injustice

Meanwhile, research suggests Flint crisis ‘is not an isolated incident of poor public policies endangering the health of residents living in economically distressed communities.’

By Andrea Germanos and Deirdre Fulton, staff writers for Common Dreams. Published 1-22-2016

Photo: Jillian Hurley/Twitter

Photo: Jillian Hurley/Twitter

Experts are voicing strong disagreement with Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, who on Friday tried to argue that the lead poisoning plaguing the water of the majority-black city of Flint was “absolutely not” a case of environmental racism.

The Republican governor made the comment in an interview with MSNBC, adding that he’s “been devoted to helping” the city.

But that’s quite different from the way Paul Mohai, a professor at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, whose work focuses on racial and socioeconomic factors in pollution, see it. Continue reading

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Calls for Michigan Gov. Snyder’s Arrest as Flint Poisoning Scandal Implicates Top Staffers

‘To poison all the children in an historic American city is no small feat’

By Sarah Lazare, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 1-7-2016

Governor Rick Snyder

Governor Rick Snyder

Calls for Michigan Governor Rick Snyder’s ouster—and arrest—are growing after internal emails showed that his high-level staffers were aware of lead poisoning in Flint’s public water supply six months before the administration declared a state of emergency.

According to the newly-released emails, which were obtained by NBC News, Snyder’s chief of staff at the time, Dennis Muchmore, wrote to an unnamed high-level health department staffer: “I’m frustrated by the water issue in Flint.” Continue reading

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