Bill to require water testing in schools passes committee

LANSING — After nearly two years, a Michigan House bill that would require schools and day cares to test for lead in their water, and help them pay for testing and remediation, has finally cleared committee.
House Bill 4124, introduced by State Rep. Sheldon Neeley, D-Flint, was passed by the Michigan State House’s Committee of Natural Resources on Nov. 28, and could come up for a vote in the full House before the lame duck session ends on Dec. 31.
Mandatory testing for lead and other contaminants in schools is rare in the United States, with only eight states currently requiring it.
All other schools test on a voluntary basis, which many did after the Flint water crisis.
Sixteen percent didn’t know if they had tested.
Neeley’s bill, which was introduced in January 2017 as part of a larger legislative package on water quality testing, didn’t have a committee hearing until June 2018.
In the meantime, another bill that would require water suppliers to schools and day cares to test for lead was introduced in September.
“It has been four years since the beginning of a water crisis in my city, the signs of which can still be seen clearly throughout our community,” Neeley said in June.
“The people of Flint are still under a public health emergency and are advised to boil their water before using it.
Schools and child care centers throughout the city rely on bottled water to get through the day.

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