Jones, Runestad introducing bills to eliminate state benefits to unmarried couples

LANSING, Mich. Sen. Rick Jones and Rep. Jim Runestad are introducing legislation to ban health insurance benefits for domestic partners of state employees unless the couple is married.

“These benefits are supposed to help state employees provide health care to their families,” said Runestad, R-White Lake. “Unfortunately since Governor Granholm, unmarried people in Michigan have been allowed to receive state benefits like married couples — opening up the system to the possibility of unintended abuse of taxpayer dollars.”

State law currently allows benefits for domestic partners of state employees and their dependents as long as they live together.

The bills would prohibit the state from providing medical benefits for an individual currently living with a state employee unless the individual is married to the employee or a dependent of the employee.

“Children of state employees would still get health insurance under the bill; it only impacts benefits for the unmarried domestic partner,” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge. “If you are a state employee with a girlfriend or boyfriend and you want them to get state benefits, then make a commitment and get married. If you want it, put a ring on it.”