Proposal to strengthen responder benefits moves on in Maine

March 5, 2020 GMT

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — A proposal to beef up health insurance benefits for retired emergency responders has received the approval of a legislative committee in Maine.

The bill from Democratic Sen. Nate Libby is designed to make stronger the state’s law about the health insurance program for retired firefighters and law enforcement officers. The Labor and Housing Committee unanimously approved the proposal on Wednesday.

A previous law sponsored by Libby created a change in which counties and municipalities that employ first responders must notify them of the Retired County and Municipal Law Enforcement Officers and Municipal Firefighters Health Insurance Program less than two months after they are hired. Libby’s new proposal makes changes such as removing the requirement of five years of contributions by enrollees. It also changes the percentage of gross wages for contributions.

The bill must pass the full Maine House of Representatives and Maine Senate to become law.