Committee advances Libby bill to strengthen health insurance and retirement fund for firefighters and law enforcement officers

Posted: May 14, 2019 | Senator Libby

Legislation from Sen. Nate Libby, D-Lewiston, to strengthen the Retired County and Municipal Law Enforcement Officers and Municipal Firefighters Health Insurance Program passed by a 6-5 vote in the Legislature’s Labor and Housing Committee on Monday.

“It’s only right that these benefits are present and available to the men and women who protect our communities when the benefits are needed,” said Sen. Libby. “LD 1674 strengthens our ability to ensure that remains the case, so I’m glad the members of the committee voted the bill forward.”

LD 1674, “An Act To Amend the Laws Concerning the Retired County and Municipal Law Enforcement Officers and Municipal Firefighters Health Insurance Program,” makes amendments to the program to ensure earned benefits are accrued and disbursed fairly.

Health care and retirement benefits are an important part of attracting and retaining local public safety professionals.

Paul Gaspar, executive director of the Maine Association of Police, was involved in the original setup of the fund. He spoke at a recent public hearing on LD 1674 and a companion bill, saying that “LDs 1664 and 1674 represent that continued stewardship, along with the program administrators, to improve and allow the program to continue to be successful for future first responders.”

Speaking to the success of the program and its intent, Ronnie Green, of the Professional Fire Fighters of Maine, said, “it has done what it was intended to do, which is give a little bit of help to law enforcement officers and firefighters with health insurance in retirement so they are not stuck working well beyond their retirement age just so they would have health insurance.”

The bill now moves to the Maine Senate and House for additional votes.