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New legislation aimed at keeping focus on how Michigan tackles lead in water systems

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State legislators are trying to keep the focus on lead in Michigan water systems.

New bills would require lead testing at veteran's facilities and the creation of a childhood lead poisoning prevention and control commission.

Democratic Senator Jeff Irwin sponsored the bill creating the new commission. He said the group would review state procedures for lead poison prevention and increase childhood blood lead testing.

“In other words, identify potential problems and tackle them before we notice lead in our children,” he said.

The commission would also serve as a sounding board where citizens could voice concerns about how lead removal is being handled.

“Just being a permanent place for this discussion to continue so we don’t need a reminder to stay focused on this important work,” Irwin said.

Another bill, introduced by Democratic State Senator Winnie Brinks, would require lead testing at veteran's facilities across the state.

Brinks said it is important that the state ensures any state run facility is lead free.

“Sometimes the lead source is in a building. It could be older pipes or something like that,” Brinks said. “We need to make sure we’re taking a look at the quality of the drinking water and making sure whatever the source we’re addressing it.”

Brinks said the bill is part of a larger state initiative to improve water quality testing and reporting in Michigan.

Other bills in the package would require similar sampling at colleges, hospitals, and adult foster care facilities.