LANSING — Tonight, House Democrats voted to protect the earned health care benefits of Michigan’s retired first responders. Last week, hundreds of police officers and firefighters rallied against proposals which could have gutted health care for local heroes. Today, thanks to the thousands of first responders and municipal employees that raised their voices, the recommendation to implement the reforms of the bipartisan Responsible Retirement Reform for Local Government Task Force was accepted. While these benefits are now protected, communities in the state continue to struggle with chronic underfunding of local budgets. In response, state Rep. Abdullah Hammoud (D-Dearborn) issued the following statement:

“Tonight, I stood with my Democratic colleagues, police officers, firefighters and municipal employees to protect retiree health care from unnecessary and catastrophic cuts. I’m glad that House Republicans saw reason tonight and abandoned a drastic plan that would have jeopardized health coverage for retired first responders. Instead of that reckless and unnecessary proposal, I stood with a bipartisan group of lawmakers to vote in favor of recommendations, developed over months of deliberative work, that labor groups and municipalities support. However, our work isn’t over. Dramatic shortages in revenue sharing payments helped create this situation, and it’s our responsibility to fix it once and for all.”