Friday, September 15, 2017

Michigan in focus: Flint water meets federal regulations, new research shows

By Watchdog News - September 15, 2017 at 01:02PM

Detroit Free Press: Flint water meets federal regulations, new research shows

New test results show Flint’s water meets federal regulations for lead, but residents still are cautioned to use filters and bottled water to curtail lead exposure, according to a leading researcher who is credited with helping to expose the Flint water crisis two years ago.

Virginia Tech College of Engineering professor Marc Edwards lead a team that found in 138 Flint homes a 90th percentile lead level of 9.8 parts per billion — below the federal Lead and Copper Rule’s action level of 15 parts per billion.

Flint water samples taken in March 2016 were at 22.5 parts per billion.

“Even though Flint is meeting the Lead and Copper Rule, residents should still strongly consider strategies to reduce lead exposure, including use of filters or bottled water,” Edwards said in a news release.

The Detroit News: Senate OKs unlimited political donations for groups

Michigan’s Republican-led Senate approved controversial legislation Thursday that would let candidates raise unlimited money for super political action committees that support them and share consultants.

The bills would write super PACs into state law following a landmark 2010 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United v. FEC that opened the doors for increased political spending by corporations and labor unions as a form of free speech.

Supporters contend the legislation would “codify” that ruling. But critics have dubbed it “Citizens United on steroids,” arguing it goes beyond the ruling and would blur the lines between candidates and independent groups.

The two-bill package would create a new class of “independent expenditure committees” that could raise and spend unlimited funds in elections. The super PACs could not coordinate directly with campaigns, but the proposal would allow them to share attorneys, consultants and vendors with candidates they support.

Michigan Public Radio: Bipartisan group rolls out plan for no-fault auto insurance overhaul

A bipartisan group of lawmakers in Lansing say they have a plan to make auto insurance more affordable – without cutting benefits.

Representative Ben Frederick is a Republican. He says auto insurance cost is a topic that is constantly brought up. But he says nothing ever gets done about it.

“So this year we’re taking what has many might think is a forgotten approach in Lansing, and certainly long gone in DC – a bipartisan approach.”

Among other things, the legislation would bar insurers from using factors like gender and zip code to set rates.