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. Ronnie Peterson (D-Ypsilanti) issued the following statement:

“I am proud that my Democratic colleagues and I were able to ensure that the state keeps its promise to our retired police and firefighters throughout the state. While there is no denying that our local governments are in financial distress, robbing selfless public servants of their promised benefits was never the answer. Now that their health care is safe, it’s time to address the crux of the issue, which is our state’s tendency to underfund local governments in the first place. I look forward to working with my colleagues to take action to support our communities without sacrificing the wellbeing of our public servants. That began today by accepting the task force’s recommendations that my Democratic colleagues and I have been promoting from the start.”