Skubick: Battle of first responder retiree benefits rages on

LANSING, Mich (WLNS) - This is day two of the legislative battle over first responder retiree benefits.

The Senate Republican leader here is not praying but he may need some divine intervention because perhaps as many as 19 Republican senators are opposed to the proposal he is pushing.

"I can not support it as it stands," insists Sen. Margaret O'Brien.

Sen. Mike Nofs adds "I am a no vote. there are changes that need to be made."

"I am a hard no vote," Sen. Rick Jones joined in. "The state has no business sticking its nose into this."

And the firefighters and police officers totally agree. They do not want three emergency manager panel members to impose, unilaterally, a cut or elimination of retiree health care benefits.

But Gov. Rick Snyder argues you need that threat or hammer in order to get both sides to agree to reduce retirement debt.

There are also not enough "yes" votes in the Michigan House to pass this 16-bill package either.

The situation is very fluid and the Senate sponsor says everyone wants to avoid what he calls a cancer.

"I'll call it as it is..trying to avoid the cancer of an emergency manager," said Sen. Mike Shirkey. "They don't want it so if everybody can put their hands in the bucket and say we don't want to go there and trust each other to avoid going there, that will be a sweet spot for us to achieve."

So far that sweet spot has not emerged.

So the hunt continues.

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