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, the recommendation of House Democrats 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. Henry Yanez (D-Sterling Heights) issued the following statement:

“I was a firefighter and paramedic in Sterling Heights for 18 years, and I’ve worked with first responders who have faced serious, life-threatening health issues as a result of their work. These brave men and women worked hard to keep our communities safe. They earned and deserve the benefits they were promised, and tonight, my Democratic colleagues and I won approval of a plan that will protect those benefits while helping local governments get a better handle on how to deal with their fiscal issues. This is the right thing to do, and I am pleased to vote for this plan.”