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Firing state employees would be easier under new bills

Republican state House Speaker Kevin Cotter has announced a two-bill package to make it easier for higher ranking government officials to fire state employees beneath them.

Cotter told reporters Thursday that the legislation isn't a reaction to the public health emergency in Flint.

It comes at a time, however, when Republican Gov. Rick Snyder and state workers face intense scrutiny after Flint's water supply became contaminated with lead after the city began using water from the Flint River in 2014.

Snyder's administration has said protections for civil service workers are why only one employee from the Michigan Department of Environmental quality has been fired.

Two others face criminal charges related to the Flint water crisis.

Cotter called the timing "coincidental."

He says the bills promote accountability.

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