State Employees' Domestic Partners Will Get Health Benefits

By: Jamie Edmonds Email
By: Jamie Edmonds Email

The Michigan Civil Service Commission voted Wednesday to extend health benefits to domestic partners of state employees.

"The UAW 6000 is glad to see the Civil Service Commission lived up to their agreement," Ray Holman of UAW 6000 said.

It's an issue that was negotiated by the Granholm Administration with state employee unions more than six years ago, but the legality of certain words stalled the process.

Wednesday's agreement names "domestic partners" as those now eligible which includes any live-in boyfriends or girlfriends of state workers 18 years and older -- same-sex or opposite sex -- who've lived with state workers for at least a year.

The new governor questions the cost of it all. Gov. Snyder's spokeswoman said during a challenging budget year, now is not a good time to add to the bottom line, and that money will have to come from somewhere else.

But there are others who said, something like this is long overdue.

"It means people can get health care they wouldn't get otherwise because of the cost of health care," Penny Gardner said.

Gardner knows how those state workers feel, her employer MSU offers similar benefits the state just approved, but her partner is not covered because Gardner only works part-time.

"She doesn't have any coverage right now," Gardner said. "I know what its like having to make choices others don't have to make."

Gardner's also the president of a local LGBT advocacy group and she calls this move by the Civil Service Commission a "great break through."

"I think it's very positive, but it's only a first step," she said.

The benefits for domestic partners do not kick in until October of this year.

The union contract expires at the end of the year, where it leaves this benefit during the bargaining process with the new administration remains to be seen.

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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by nick Location: okemos on Jan 28, 2011 at 10:20 AM
    We found money for this BS but can't keep police and firemen employed???!!! What a crock! So ready to get the 'blank' out of here!
  • by Claudia on Jan 27, 2011 at 06:32 PM
    This is so ridiculous. They eliminated the Promise Scholarship for students, but would rather spend our tax dollars to provide health care for significant other partners? I’m outraged. This is so stupid!! I can’t believe it and I’m so disgusted.
  • by daniel edward schutzler Location: Jerome, Mi on Jan 27, 2011 at 05:30 AM
    I dont understand how the state can afford to pay for benefits on someone who is not married or even a relative.It seems like that money would be used to maybe keep police and fireman employed.
  • by david Location: charlotte on Jan 26, 2011 at 08:41 PM
    and where is the state going to get the appox. 6 million $ to pay for this. this state cant even pay its bills and now they have to come up with more money what a bunch of bs thank you jen granholm.
  • by fred Location: Grand Ledge on Jan 26, 2011 at 03:37 PM
    This is insane. Tell me the politics that are behind (sorry) this one! This isn't a cost-cutting measure at all!
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