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Gov. Whitmer Signs Bills Supporting First Responders and Emergency Services


December 17, 2021 



Gov. Whitmer Signs Bills Supporting First Responders and Emergency Services 


LANSING, Mich. - Governor Whitmer today signed House bill 4172, 4247, and 5026 to put Michigan first by supporting Michigan's first responders and emergency services.  


First Responders 


House Bill 4172 will amend the Worker's Disability Compensation Act to include current and former part-time, paid on-call, or volunteer firefighters under the First Responder Presumed Coverage Fund. This enables firefighters who develop certain cancers to claim worker's compensation benefits from the First Responder Presumed Coverage Fund.   


"Michigan's firefighters--whether they are full time, part-time or volunteer courageously sacrifice their time and health to serve our communities and keep us safe," said Governor Whitmer. "First responders and their families should know that the state of Michigan will support them during their time of need. House Bill 4172 will expand the options for firefighters to receive benefits for cancer treatment. We owe our state's firefighters endless thanks for their selfless acts of service." 


"Our first responders put their lives on the line every day to protect us - that's why it's important we ensure they're taken care of when their work leads to injury and illness," said Rep. Jeff Yaroch R-Richmond. "I appreciate the bipartisan support for taking care of firefighters." 


"Firefighters are exposed every day while on the job to cancer causing toxins," said Mark Docherty, President of Michigan Professional Fire Fighters Union. "They have much higher rates of cancer both occurring while still active and once retired.  We are grateful to Reps. Allor and Rep. Yaroch for introducing this legislation and for Governor Whitmer's signature. House Bill 4171 and 4172 will mean that all fire fighters will have the same access to the First Responders Presumed Coverage Fund in their greatest time of need." 


House Bill 4172 was sponsored by Rep. Jeff Yaroch R-Richmond, and a copy can be found here. 


House Bill 4247 will change the calculation of the Survivor Tuition Grant, a program that provides tuition assistance to children whose parents were killed in the line of duty in Michigan. Under current law, a person is not eligible for tuition grant assistance through the Survivor Tuition Grant unless their school's financial aid office determines that the student has financial need. House Bill 4247 would eliminate that requirement, allowing more surviving children to access the funds. 


"Michigan police officers and firefighters have served our communities with honor and dedication, and the Survivor Tuition Grant is crucial in honoring the children of our fallen first responders," said Governor Whitmer. "This bill will streamline benefits under the Survivor Tuition Grant, helping alleviate the financial burden for the families of those who have sacrificed so much to keep us safe." 


"Our police officers, firefighters, and their families give so much for us," said Rep. Matt Koleszar D-Plymouth. "With this action, we're honoring the memories of all of those who made the ultimate sacrifice by honoring their commitments to their families after they pass. I'm thrilled to see this bill signed into law." 


House Bill 4247 was sponsored by Rep. Matt Koleszar D-Plymouth, and a copy can be found here. 


Emergency Services 


House Bill 5026 will amend the Emergency 9-1-1-Service Enabling Act to continue funding until December 31, 2027. The bill will also streamline 9-1-1 system capabilities, increase the prepaid wireless 9-1-1 surcharge, and make other changes to improve the 9-1-1 system. 


"Maintaining and expanding public safety is a responsibility of our government," said Governor Whitmer. "When an emergency occurs, our state's first responders are ready to take action. Funding our state's critical 9-1-1 services is necessary to equip our state in times of need."  


"Public safety is one of the core responsibilities of government," said Rep. Julie Calley R-Portland. "If we fail to take action, we'd be shirking our responsibility and letting down every single Michigander who relies on 911 to be at the ready when an emergency occurs .The software and technology we have today to support the trained experts on the line is truly incredible - but it's not free. It's absolutely essential to make sure this fund is sustainable long into the future." 


House Bill 5026 was sponsored by Rep. Julie Calley R-Portland, and a copy can be found here.