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Legislature starting hearings on bills to fund retiree plans

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Michigan's Legislature is beginning hearings on legislation that would force local governments to boost funding for employee retirement plans or face the possibility of a state intervention.

The bills are being debated Tuesday in House and Senate committees controlled by Republicans. Legislative leaders hope to enact the measures this month to shore up underfunded municipal systems, but opposition is building from police and firefighters worried about cuts to benefits.

The legislation would require local pension and retiree health care plans to report financial information to the state. They would have to meet gradually higher minimum funding thresholds over time.

If corrective actions weren't taken, the state could appoint a three-person team to act as an emergency manager.

The leaders of Oakland and Macomb counties came out against the bills Monday.