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Car Insurance Overhaul Dies In State House

Car Accident
Wikipedia Media Commons

A plan to overhaul the state’s auto insurance system failed late Thursday night. 

The bill would have gotten rid of the requirement that everyone have unlimited personal injury coverage. Instead, drivers would have been able to choose from three levels of coverage. 

Speaker of the House Tom Leonard (R-DeWitt) blamed Democrats for the failure.  Leonard said he was always clear that he would need 10 to 15 Democrats for the bill to pass.

“Today, House Republicans stood up for the people of this state to lower auto insurance rates and the Democrats decided to side with the hospitals and trial attorneys over the people that they represent,” he said.

But only 41 Republicans voted in favor of the legislation that failed in a 45-63 vote.  A few Democrats crossed party lines to vote yes.  Opponents said this system wasn’t sustainable and didn’t really guarantee savings for drivers. 

“To me, there were so many flaws in this bill,” said House Democratic Leader Sam Singh (D-East Lansing).  “That’s why you saw such bipartisan opposition to this.”

Singh called on Leonard and the House Insurance Committeeto take up a bipartisan package introduced recently. 

“I am committed to coming back next week, taking a look at those bills that are in committee and making sure that they get a fair hearing,” Singh said.

Even some proponents agreed that this wasn’t the best solution, but they said it was the closest they could get.  Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan worked with Republican lawmakers on the legislation. 

“There’s something about once you enter the boundaries of this city that, year after year, nothing gets done,” he said.

Duggan said he’s not going to quit until some type of auto insurance changes become law. 

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—Cheyna Roth is a reporter for the Michigan Public Radio network.  Contact WEMU News at734.487.3363 or email us at studio@wemu.org

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