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. Terry Sabo (D-Muskegon) released the following statement.

“First responders work hard. They work long hours, and they have more than earned, and more than deserve, a secure retirement and health care benefits. This morning, my Democratic colleagues and I won approval of a plan that will protect those benefits. By adopting the recommendations of the Responsible Retirement Reform for Local Government Task Force, we avoid the unnecessary and catastrophic cuts proposed by Republican leadership. Instead, we are taking the right first step to helping local governments start to address their financial issues. There is more work to be done to address the chronic underfunding of local governments by the state, and my House Democratic colleagues and I are ready to work across the aisle to fix that problem. This morning, I was glad to cast my vote for a plan that will protect the first responders that I worked with during my long career as a firefighter and police officer in Muskegon Heights and the surrounding Muskegon area.”