MICHIGAN: Republican Advisory Board Bans City Of Flint From Suing State Over Continuing Water Crisis

The Detroit Free Press reports:

Days after Flint Mayor Karen Weaver served notice that her city might file a lawsuit against the State of Michigan over the Flint drinking water crisis, the state removed Flint’s ability to sue.

Though Flint has not been under a state-appointed emergency manager since April 2015, 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.

The board moved quickly to change the rules under which Flint is governed so that the city cannot file a lawsuit without first getting approval from that state-appointed board. In other words, Flint cannot sue the state without getting the state to sign off on it first.

State officials, who at the time were considering $165 million in state aid requests for Flint over the water crisis, on top of about $67 million already approved, were furious about the notice. House Speaker Kevin Cotter, R-Mt. Pleasant, said “a reckless lawsuit could throw the state budget into disarray and undermine everything we’ve done for the city.”

Cotter and Snyder, through a spokesman, called on Flint to withdraw the notice. That never happened, but the state quickly and quietly defused any imminent legal threat, using the Receivership Transition Advisory Board that continues to oversee many aspects of Flint city government while the city emerges from emergency management.