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Snyder administration wants legislature to undo 'live-in partner' benefits

Governor Rick Snyder has asked the Legislature to reverse an employment panel’s decision to allow un-married state workers to claim their live-in partners on their benefits.  

The governor’s letter gives the Legislature 60 days to overturn the state Civil Service Commission’s decision. Reversing the independent Civil Service Commission will require two-thirds majorities in the House and the Senate. Both are controlled by Republicans, but getting to the necessary super-majorities is not guaranteed.  

Dennis Muchmore is the governor’s chief of staff. He says the letter is not a statement on benefits for unmarried or same-sex partners. He says the new policy would cost the state millions of dollars during a budget crisis.

“It’s not fiscally sound, and right now we just can’t afford to do it.”

Benefits to unmarried partners is a legacy of Governor Jennifer Granholm, who wanted to offer the perk to gay and lesbian state workers. The new policy would take effect on October first.  

State employee unions say they’d prefer the issue was resolved during contract bargaining instead of being taken away by an act of the Legislature.

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.
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