Sen. Cherry introduces bill to require lead poisoning testing for Michigan children


James Sklar


After years of mismanagement concerning Flint’s water system, leaving the city’s residents with little trust in their government, state lawmakers are still introducing legislation to help children, families, and the community screen for lead poisoning.


Stay one step ahead. Join our email list for the latest news.



On January 19th, 2023, Sen. John Cherry (D – Flint) introduced Senate Bill 31, which was immediately referred to the Committee on Health Policy. SB 31 would direct a physician to test for lead poison on Michigan minors.

This is not the first time this type of legislation has been introduced by Cherry. Last session while in the Michigan House, Cherry introduced House Bill 4678, which did not get a vote on the House floor and consequently died after the legislative session ended.

Additionally, last year, a bipartisan group of lawmakers sponsored a series of bills that aimed to address lead poisoning resulting from the Flint water crisis, including legislation to require lead poisoning education for providers and legislation similar to Cherry’s recently introduced bill to mandate lead poisoning testing for children. The package failed to advance during last year’s session.

Currently, physicians test the blood of young children who are enrolled in Medicaid, which is mandated by federal and state law. However, physicians are not required to test children who have other insurance coverage or who are not insured. The effects of lead poisoning may not be apparent until a child is older and a parent may not suspect that their child has a blood level of lead that requires treatment.

SB 31 looks to cover all children in the state of Michigan, which would require lead testing when a child is between nine and 12 months old, and again between the ages of two and three years old. Additionally, SB 31 would require testing of four-year-olds if they live in an area of the state that poses a high risk of lead poisoning. 

Legislation like this can help not just the Flint community but all Michigan families, since early detection and treatment can mitigate the dangerous effects of lead poisoning. If passed, SB 31 would take effect on January 1st, 2024.

The bill’s Senate co-sponsors are Sens. Joseph N. Bellino Jr., Stephanie Chang, Rosemary Bayer, Mallory McMorrow, Erika Geiss, Paul Wojno, Sylvia A. Santana, and Sue Shink.