ACLU, Flint Residents to Sue City, State over Lead in Drinking Water
DETROIT – Residents of Flint, together with the ACLU of Michigan and the Natural Resources Defense Council, today announced their intention to sue state and city officials for ongoing violations of the federal Safe Drinking Water Act amid the city’s widespread lead-contamination crisis. A lawsuit would force officials to address repeated, systemic failures to follow federal rules designed to protect the public health from dangerous levels of lead exposure.
Revised EPA Memo Raises Troubling Questions Amid Flint Water Crisis
The ongoing Flint water crisis generated headlines last week when the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a report warning that road work or hydrant flushing could shake loose toxic lead particles from rusted pipes and that residents needed to be notified about such work in order to protect themselves.
But what is not included in the EPA report is at least as significant as—and perhaps even more worrisome than—what the report does contain.
ACLU of Michigan Video Exposes State's Lies About Water Crisis
Flint Water and the No-Blame Game
In last week’s press conference announcing that the city of Flint would finally be allowed to return to Detroit’s water system, Gov. Rick Snyder made it a point to note that placing blame for the lead poisoning of children is not something he intends to do.
He wants to address the current problem, learn what can be done better in the future, and move forward.
Call it the “no-blame” game.
The governor’s spokesperson, Sara Wurfel, is playing it as hard as anyone right now.
ACLU of Michigan Legislative Docket: Voting Rights
The ACLU maintains a presence in Lansing that enables us to pass policies that expand civil liberties or prevent the passage of policies that are hostile to civil liberties. Through traditional lobbying techniques lobbying, advocacy, and advocacy the legislative program seeks to advance and protect our civil liberties.
The ACLU of Michigan’s legislative program works on a breadth of issues. To give you an idea of what we’ve been up to, we have provided a brief summary, our position on the issue and where the bill is currently situation in the legislative process.
Citizenship Checkbox at the Polls
In 2012 the Michigan legislature passed a bill that would have required voters to check a box affirming their United States citizenship before they can receive a ballot. The measure made little sense because you must already be a U.S. citizen in order to register to vote. Voting rights advocates opposed the law, arguing that it was unnecessary, redundant, and could be used to intimidate some voters on the basis of race or language proficiency. Wisely, Governor Snyder vetoed the legislation.
Emergency Managers Violate International Law
Public Act 436 gives unelected “emergency managers” sweeping, far-reaching powers to displace or in some cases even dissolve local governments and school districts. A coalition of civil rights groups challenged the law in federal court, and the state filed a motion to dismiss.
In 2013 the ACLU of Michigan filed a friend-of-the-court brief explaining that under international law, the declaration of a state of emergency allowing the suspension of political rights is permissible only when there is an emergency that “threatens the life of the nation.”
Democratic Rights Stolen in Benton Harbor
Residents of Benton Harbor who claimed the city’s mayor was unresponsive to their needs circulated a petition to have him recalled from office. The county clerk certified the petition in February 2014 and scheduled a recall election for May. However, just before the election the clerk sought an injunction from a judge to postpone the election based on unproven allegations that some petition signers may have signed more than once and the dates for some of the signatures may have been altered.