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. John Chirkun (D-Roseville) issued the following statement:

“I am happy to be able to tell my former colleagues in the Wayne County Sherriff’s office, and police, firefighters and first responders throughout my district that House Democrats were able to save their retiree benefits and health care from the devastating cuts proposed by House Republican leadership and Gov. Rick Snyder. This is the first step in helping our local governments get back on sound financial footing. Next we need to address the state’s chronic underfunding of locals through revenue sharing. But tonight, I am pleased to cast my vote for plan offered by the Responsible Retirement Reform for Local Government Task Force, which was the right plan from the beginning.”