LANSING, Mich., Feb. 25, 2021 — The Michigan House unanimously passed legislation today to expand benefits for children of fallen first responders. House Bill 4247, introduced by House Democratic Whip Matt Koleszar (D-Plymouth), would guarantee tuition-free college for all surviving school-aged children of police officers and firefighters who were killed in the line of duty.
“These families have already made the ultimate sacrifice and it is the least we can do to honor the memories of their loved ones who gave their lives protecting us,” Koleszar said. “The progress of this bill wouldn’t have been possible without the tireless advocacy of first responders, their families and the support of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle. To me, there is no better feeling here in Lansing than when we come together as one to help people.”
On average, three first responders are killed in the line of duty every year in Michigan. Currently, the Police Officer’s and Fire Fighter’s Survivor Tuition Grant Act is available to children of deceased Michigan police officers or firefighters that meet the established criteria, including a limitation on family income. HB 4247 ensures all children, no matter their family’s circumstances, can benefit from the program following the tragedy of losing a parent. Koleszar introduced identical legislation in 2019, which was not brought up for a final vote on the House Floor before the end of the term.
HB 4247 now moves to the Senate for consideration.