Gov. Whitmer signs first responder, emergency services support bills


LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed three bills on Friday, each of which would help first responders and the emergency services industry.

House Bill 4172 enacts the Worker’s Disability Compensation Act, which covers current and former part-time, paid-on-call or volunteer firefighters with the First Responder Presumed Coverage Fund.

The First Responder Presumed Coverage Fund requires employees to have full-time employment at a fire department or public fire authority, have worked with a department for at least five years, have been diagnosed with respiratory tract, bladder, skin, brain, kidney, blood, thyroid, testicular, prostate, or lymphatic cancer to receive benefits.

In addition, a person must be employed in the active service of the department or authority at the time the cancer manifests itself and must be exposed to the hazards incidental to fire suppression, rescue or emergency medical services in the performance of his or her work-related duties,

“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. 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,” Gov. Whitmer said.

House Bill 4172 was sponsored by Rep. Jeff Yaroch, R-Richmond.

“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,” Rep. Jeff Yaroch, R-Richmond, said. “I appreciate the bipartisan support for taking care of firefighters.” 

The second bill she signed, House Bill 4247, will allow more children to access funds from the Survivor Tuition Grant.

The Survivor Tuition Grant is a program that helps children of those killed in the line of duty receive aid to a public Michigan university.

“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. 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,” Gov. Whitmer said.

House Bill 4247 was sponsored by Rep. Matt Koleszar, D-Plymouth.

“Our police officers, firefighters, and their families give so much for us,” Rep. Matt Koleszar, D-Plymouth, said. “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.” 

The third bill signed, House Bill 5026, ensures that the Emergency 9-1-1-Service Enabling Act will continue funding until Dec. 31, 2027.

Under the act, 911 system capabilities will be streamlined, as well as increase prepaid wireless surcharge among other changes.

“Maintaining and expanding public safety is a responsibility of our government. When an emergency occurs, our state’s first responders are ready to take action. Funding our state’s critical 911 services is necessary to equip our state in times of need,” Gov. Whitmer said. 

House Bill 5026 was sponsored by Rep. Julie Calley R-Portland.

“Public safety is one of the core responsibilities of government. 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,” Rep. Calley said. “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.”

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