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MI lawmakers vote to eliminate their lifetime health benefits

By Laura Weber, Michigan Public Radio Network



Most state lawmakers would lose their so-called lifetime health benefits under a proposal approved Wednesday in the state Senate. But as Michigan Public Radio's Laura Weber reports, many state senators would be exempt from losing their benefits.

The proposal would allow current lawmakers who have already served about five years in the Legislature to keep their retirement health benefits. Anyone who has served less than that, and all future lawmakers, will be dropped from the benefits offering that costs taxpayers an estimated five million dollars a year.

State Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville would still receive benefits. He says he understands some voters might be cynical about why sitting senators chose not to forfeit their benefits as well.

"Well, I suppose," he says. "And if so, then I don't think you're going to satisfy a lot of cynics anyways. And I don't think there's a way to win that battle; you get compensated the way you get compensated."

Only one senator voted against the proposal, and said lawmakers should either eliminate the benefits for everyone, or no one.

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