In Michigan
3:40 pm
Fri February 12, 2010

MI Senate Committee to take up lifetime health benefits for lawmakers

LANSING, MI –

A state Senate panel is expected to start discussing reforms to public employee health benefits soon. But first the committee will negotiate a plan to eliminate lifetime health benefits for lawmakers.

AUDIO:
The measure to eliminate retirement benefits for lawmakers would only apply to future lawmakers, and not current or former lawmakers. Majority Leader Bishop says he knows that leaves current legislators wide open for criticism from the public.

"Sure. Sure it does," he says. "We'll never do enough in terms of legislator health care, pay - unless legislators somehow work for free and have no benefits."

The measure has already been approved by the state House, and the Senate is expected to pass it as well. The bigger hurdle for Senate Republicans may be to pass a proposal that would require all public employees to pay for 20% of their health benefits. That would require a constitutional amendment, and would need to be approved by voters in November.