by Claire Bernish, The Free Thought Project:
As the Detroit Free Press reports, Flint Mayor Karen Weaver filed a notice of intent to sue the State of Michigan with the Court of Claims back on March 24 — the last day of a 180-day limit from the time the city became aware of potential claims it could make against the state, according with court rules.
Weaver and Flint officials, at the time of filing notice, “had no plans to sue the state but had to take action to reserve the city’s rights” should that legal action have been warranted in the future, according to the Free Press.
In April 2015, Flint gained back some autonomy with the removal of a controversial emergency managership, but — underlying the lawsuit issue — the “state still exerts partial control over the city through a five-member Receivership Transition Advisory Board, whose members are appointed by Gov. Rick Snyder,” wrote the Free Press.
That board apparently didn’t find the notice to sue too amusing, and — despite it being a pure formality and preservation of protection for the people of Flint who had been poisoned by their government — cruelly and almost certainly retributively changed the rules.
For Flint to bring a lawsuit against Michigan, it now must be granted approval by Snyder’s state-appointed board.
Simply put, Flint has to ask the state for permission to sue it — something the already-embittered board couldn’t possibly be expected to grant.
As if the lead-poisoned people of Flint — who are still relying on donations of bottled water for all their drinking, bathing, and cooking needs over two years after the discovery of lead contamination — have not suffered enough already in Snyder’s hands.
Apparently, the notice of intent from Flint hit a sore spot with state officials, who had at the time already granted $67 million in state aid and were actively deliberating $165 million in additional assistance.
Michigan House Speaker Kevin Cotter explained, as quoted the Free Press, “a reckless lawsuit could throw the state budget into disarray and undermine everything we’ve done for the city.”
Both Snyder and Cotter requested Flint officials withdraw their intent notice — but on March 31 covertly used the power the board still holds over the city to change Flint governance to mandate state permission for legal action.
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