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. Stephanie Chang (D-Detroit) issued the following statement:

“By adopting the Responsible Retirement Reform for Local Government Task Force recommendations, we have protected police officers and firefighters from unnecessary and catastrophic cuts proposed by House Republican leadership. While there is still more work to be done to address the revenue sharing cuts that helped create these problems, we are at least now on the right track to the right solution. House Democrats have supported the task force report from the beginning, and we are ready to continue the work to ensure that our local governments get on sound financial ground so they can keep their promises to their first responders and employees. I gladly cast my vote for this legislation.”