LANSING — Auto insurance rates will take front and center stage in Lansing this week as hearings begin on a bill aimed at reducing Michigan’s highest-in-the-nation premiums.
“For far too long, action on this issue has been waylaid and stymied by people who tend to gain from the system. They’re supporting the status quo. We aren’t. We want to see absolute change,” said state Rep. Lana Theis, R-Brighton, who sponsored the legislation. “We may not always agree on much, frankly we don’t agree on an awful lot, but we all agree on this: The system is broken, it’s unsustainable and it has to be fixed.”
The bill, which will have its first hearing at 9 a.m. Tuesday, would guarantee premium reductions of 20% to 50% by allowing drivers to choose lower levels of coverage; setting fee schedules for the health care services provided to car crash victims, and allowing senior citizens to use their Medicare coverage to pay for crash-related injuries, rather than their auto insurance.
Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan and state lawmakers gathered in Lansing Tuesday to unveil auto insurance reforms that could reduce premiums by 20% to 50%.
The hearings are sure to be packed with interests on all sides of the issue, with severely injured car-crash victims and medical professionals lined up against the bill and the business community and some lawmakers testifying in support of the legislation.
Other bills introduced last week also would have a dramatic impact on some drivers, if driver responsibility fees are eliminated a year early and $634 million in the fees, owed by nearly 350,000 people, are wiped out.
Bills introduced last week:
HB 5003: Require drivers to maintain a 5-foot buffer distance when passing a bicyclist. Sponsor: Rep. Andy Schor, D-Lansing.
HB 5004: Require individuals to provide photo ID when applying for unemployment benefits. Sponsor: Rep. Michele Hoitenga, R-Manton.
HB 5005–5008: Require restitution of lost income from rental properties made uninhabitable by theft of appliances. Sponsors: Reps. Jason Sheppard, R-Lambertville, Klint Kesto, R-Commerce Township, Brandt Iden, R-Kalamazoo, Michele Hoitenga
HB 5009: Create a renewable energy and energy efficiency loan fund for school districts. Sponsor: Rep. Jon Hoadley, D-Kalamazoo.
HB 5010: Include the crime of armed robbery in the 10-year category of the statute of limitations. Sponsor: Rep. Diana Farrington, R-Utica.
HB 5011: Prohibit the sale and use of sky lanterns. Sponsor: Rep. Daire Rendon, R-Lake City.
HB 5012: Change the definition of an aggrieved candidate in the state’s recount law to include a candidate who believes that but for fraud or mistake, the candidate would have a reasonable chance of winning the election. Sponsor: Rep. Jim Lilly, R-Holland.
HB 5013: Overhaul the state’s no-fault auto insurance system. Sponsor: Rep. Lana Theis, R-Brighton.
HB 5014 and SB 599–600: Allow an applicant for a medical marijuana dispensary license to continue to operate during the licensing process. Sponsors: Rep. Yousef Rabhi, D-Ann Arbor, Sens. David Knezek, D-Dearborn Heights, Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge.
HB 5015: Establish disclosure requirements for veterans’ benefit services. Sponsor: Rep. Jason Wentworth, R-Clare.
HB 5016: Allow the implantion of microchips in children with special needs or vulnerable adults for the purpose of locating the person if they become lost or missing. Sponsor: Rep. Peter Lucido, R-Shelby Township.
HB 5019–5020: Create the biometric privacy act and regulate the protection and disclosure of personal information by Internet and online service providers. Sponsor: Rep. Peter Lucido, R-Shelby Township.
HB 5021: Create the local infrastructure improvement act. Sponsor: Rep. Robert Kosowski, D-Westland.
HB 5022: Provide access for grandparents to central adoption registry. Sponsor: Rep. Robert Kosowski, D-Westland.
HB 5025: Provide for administrative procedures for withholding tax refunds for unpaid city income taxes administered by the state. Sponsor: Rep. Wendell Byrd, D-Detroit.
HB 5026: Modify the definition of facility operator in the MISS DIG underground facility act. Sponsor: Rep. David Maturen, R-Brady Township.
HB 5027–5030: Create four crime categories for elder abuse and embezzlement carrying felony sentences ranging from four to 25 years in prison and require nursing home administrators to be trained in detection of elder abuse and exploitation. Sponsors: Reps. Klint Kesto, R-Commerce Township, Diana Farrington, R-Utica, Vanessa Guerra, D-Bridgeport, Frank Liberati, D-Allen Park.
HB 5031: Require licensure of assisted living facilities. Sponsor: Rep. Abdullah Hammoud, D-Dearborn.
HB 5032: Establish a definition of consent in the crime of embezzlement against vulnerable adults. Sponsor: Rep. Patrick Green, D-Warren.
HB 5033: Revise the cap on interest of a public school employee reporting unit’s late fee. Sponsor: Rep. Martin Howrylak, R-Troy.
HB 5034: Clarify the limitations and restrictions on retirement or pension benefit income deduction for a surviving spouse. Sponsor: Rep. Aaron Miller, R-Sturgis.
HB 5037: Provide for guardians and conservators to have to power to implant a tracking device in a ward. Sponsor: Rep. Peter Lucido, R-Shelby Township.
HB 5038: Require use of standardized hereditary breast and ovarian cancer screening questions by physicians. Sponsor: Rep. Kathy Crawford, R-Novi.
HB 5039: Modify the motor fuel tax exemptions. Sponsor: Rep. Jason Wentworth, R-Farwell.
HB 5040-5046: Speed up the phaseout of driver responsibility fees, provide for fee forgiveness for drivers, set up education outreach for the amnesty program and for people trying to get their drivers’ license back. Sponsor: Reps. Lee Chatfield, R-Levering, Sylvia Santana, D-Detroit, Leslie Love, D-Detroit, Roger Hauck, Mt. Pleasant, Joseph Bellino, R-Monroe, Phil Phelps, D-Flushing, Steve Marino, R-Mt. Clemens.
HB 5047: Exclude health maintenance organizations from the definition of an insurance company. Sponsor: Rep. Hank Vaupel, R-Fowlerville.
HB 5048: Prohibit administrative rule-making when that authority isn’t expressly stated in statute. Sponsor: Rep. Beau LaFave, R-Iron Mountain.
HB 5051: Require that emergency manager membership on a receivership transition board to be as a nonvoting member only. Sponsor: Rep. Stephanie Chang, D-Detroit.
SB 587–588: Provide for the reduction of the sales and use tax on the difference between any rebate, discount, or price reduction and purchase price of new vehicle, watercraft, or recreational vehicle. Sponsor: Sen. Wayne Schmidt, R-Traverse City.
SB 589: Permit the use of electric patrol vehicles on sidewalks. Sponsor: Rep. PeterMacGregor, R-Rockford.
SB 590–593: Modify the computation of net indebtedness for cities, townships and villages to include eligible reimbursements under the local community stabilization act. Sponsors: Sens. Jim Stamas, R-Midland, Mike Shirkey, R-Clarklake.
SB 596: Provide for the development and management of recreation trails. Sponsor: Sen. Goeff Hansen, R-Hart.
SB 597: Require physicians and hospitals to obtain consent for procedures to withhold or withdraw life-sustaining treatment. Sponsor: Sen. John Proos, R-St. Joseph.
SB 598: Provide for a court determination of whether a patient advocate is acting in the best interest of a patient. Sponsor: Sen. John Proos, R-St. Joseph.
For more information on the bills, go to www.legislature.mi.gov
Contact Kathleen Gray: 313-223-4430 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @michpoligal.
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