Proos supports bill to provide health coverage to families of fallen safety officers

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LANSING—Sen. John Proos recently supported legislation to guarantee health care benefits for the surviving spouse and dependents of public safety officers who die in the line of duty.

“Our first responders put their lives on the line to keep our communities safe, protect our families and save lives,” said Proos, R-St. Joseph. “Unfortunately, too often these brave men and women never return home. This is about expressing our appreciation for the service and sacrifice of fallen public safety officers in Southwest Michigan and throughout the state by doing something to help support their families in a meaningful way.”

Under Senate Bill 218, the spouses and dependents of law enforcement officers, firefighters, rescue squad members or ambulance crew members who lose their lives as a result of their duties on the job would be provided health care coverage comparable to those of retired state police officers.

“This is a benefit that should be shared by all first responders in our great state. The price that this may cost the state of Michigan is nothing compared to the sacrifice made by the public safety worker,” said Berrien County Sheriff Paul Bailey. “This is the least we can do for the families across our state where their loved one paid the ultimate sacrifice while protecting our citizens.”

The state Department of Technology, Management, and Budget’s Office of Retirement Services would be responsible for determining and administering the health plans.

SB 218 has been approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee and now advances to the full Senate for consideration.

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Editor’s Note – Audio comments by Proos will be available on the senator’s website at www.SenatorJohnProos.com. Click on “Audio” under the Media Center tab.