While much of the media coverage about the Flint water crisis has died down, there is much activity in Lansing in regards to childhood lead poisoning. Most notable at this time is the Governor's request for $2 million in funding for the newly formed Child Lead Exposure Elimination Commission. This request is working its way through the legislature, with the House and the Senate both offering different perspectives. There are also six bills that have been introduced to address lead exposure.
In his 2018 budget, Governor Snyder requested $2 million to support the work of the newly appointed Child Lead Exposure Elimination Commission. Both the Senate and the House appropriations Health and Human Services subcommittees have reported out their budgets and neither gives the Governor his full request. The House subcommittee is recommending $500,000 and the Senate subcommittee included a $100 placeholder for this line item. These bills now go to the full House and Senate where they will be voted on as soon as later this week. If there is still a difference after the House and Senate approve their respective bills, points of difference will be sent to conference committee to be worked out.
There is still time for the Governor’s original recommendation to be restored in part or in whole. The Healthy Homes Coalition has contacted Senator Hildenbrand’s office to let him know of the importance of this funding to Kent County - home of the zip code with the most lead poisoned children in the state. Readers are encouraged to contact their Representative and Senator to let them know of the importance of this appropriation to Kent County.
Once a conference committee is appointed, the Healthy Homes Coalition will let Get the Lead Out! partners know more specific contacts and requests that can be made.
The following bills dealing with child lead poisoning have been introduced.
- SB-62 Amends the “landlord penalty” law for units that lead poison children, lowering the action level from 10 ug/dL to 5 ug/dL. Referred to the Senate Committee on Health Policy.
- SB-63 Reduces the permissible level of lead in municipal water supplies from 15 ppb to 10 ppb in 2017 and 5 ppb in 2021. Referred to the Senate Committee on Government Operations.
- HB-4051 Requires that all children on Medicaid less than six years of age receive an annual blood lead test. Referred to the House Committee on Health Policy.
- HB-4124 Establishes a program for testing and removing lead in drinking water used by schools and child care centers. Referred to the House Committee on Natural Resources.
- HB-4125 Specifies new procedure for testing for lead and copper in water, paying special attention to lead service lines. Referred to the House Committee on Natural Resources.
- HB-4179 Authorizes use of the Safe Drinking Water Revolving Fund monies for replacement of lead service lines. Referred to the House Committee on Natural Resources.
Additionally, Representative Winnie Brinks introduced HB-4352 calling for the adoption of a state environmental justice plan. This bill is important in recognition of the fact that more than a decade of surveillance data demonstrates that lead exposure disproportionately impacts poor communities, communities of color, and children.