U.S. Senators Gary Peters (D-MI) and Susan Collins (R-ME)  introduced bipartisan legislation to help local fire departments across the country save money hiring and promoting trained first responders.

The Firefighters Retention Act of 2017 would give fire departments flexibility to use Staffing for Adequate Fire & Emergency Response (SAFER) Grants to transition part-time or paid-on-call personnel to full-time status. Under current law, SAFER Grants can be used to hire and train new personnel, but cannot be used to promote part-time or paid-on-call fire fighters, who are already trained and equipped to respond to emergencies.

For more on the The Firefighters Retention Act of 2017, please click here for the release from Senator Peters office.

State income taxes are not expected to be rolled back anytime soon; the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) is seeking changes to the state's marijuana law; a battle appears to be looming over whether a $2.5 million state appropriation to private schools is constitutional; high school graduation requirement changes are approved by House; and criminal justice reform bills are signed into law. These topics and more are highlighted in the April 2017 Karoub Report.

Governor Rick Snyder has formed a task force to tackle local government retirement reforms; he expressed serious concerns about the proposed income tax rollback going before the House; with state revenues on the rise, he proposed a 2018 budget; and he appointed a Chief of Staff and Lottery Commissioner. These topics and more legislative issues are featured in the February 2017 Karoub Report.

House Republicans are proposing a roll back of the state’s 4.25 percent state income tax to 3.9 percent in 2018 and eventually eliminating the income tax completely; the Michigan Supreme Court unanimously elected Justice Stephen Markman as its new chief justice; and Gov. Rick Snyder has now appointed three of the four-members of the Michigan Civil Service Commission (MCSC) - including former House Speaker Jase Bolger, the leading legislator behind the enactment of Right to Work in 2012. Click on the January 2017 Karoub Report for more information on these and other legislative topics.

Public safety employees stop bill that would've ended future retiree health benefits

House Bill 6074, which drew protest from public employees in Michigan and a barrage of calls to State Legislators will not be moved out of the House as part of a package of bills.

Early this morning, the House Local Government Committee reported that the only bill in this package that will be moved is House Bill 6075, which creates reporting requirements between public employers and Michigan Department of Treasury. This bill has no effect on retiree health care.

MAFF Executive Director Fred Timpner wanted to thank MAFF members for their support! MAFF members participated in the MAPO effort, contacting State Legislators to make this victory possible.

However, Timpner also wanted to alert members that is this a temporary win and MAFF members may be called on again soon. Republicans are expected to introduce bills as early as January 2017, after new legislators have been sworn into office, that would negatively impact public employee healthcare and pensions.

In the meantime, Legislators were clearly swayed by the overwhelming involvement of MAPO members.

CLICK HERE TO READ MAPO TESTIMONY