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Politics & Government

House Speaker: Auto insurance rate relief and pension reform among top priorities

The Michigan State Capitol
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Speaker Leonard said auto insurance rate relief should be the "top priority" this legislative session.

Michigan lawmakers returned to Lansing last week to launch the fall session.

State House Speaker Tom Leonard, R-DeWitt, joined Stateside today to break down the legislative priorities this session for Michigan’s House of Representatives.

Leonard and other House Republican leaders have been in conversations with Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan about lowering auto insurance premiums. One of the main components they discussed was a guaranteed rate rollback.

Last week, Leonard’s counterpart in the state Senate, Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof, said he would not support any plan that forces insurers to reduce rates, calling it “price fixing.”

Leonard sees it differently.

Instead of price fixing, Leonard says rate rollbacks are part of “fixing a rigged system.”

“We’ve got a system right now where people have absolutely no choice,” he said. “They are forced to purchase an unlimited, lifetime liability with absolutely no cost control or cost containment in the system.”

He says that means Michigan citizens need rate relief.

“I mean, everywhere I go, this has become a top issue for many, many people…” he said. “It is not just a Detroit thing.”

For that reason, Leonard says a statewide solution is crucial.

“This is going to have to be a bipartisan solution,” he said. “It’s going to take everybody coming to the table. But again, at the end of the day I think — or I know — rate relief has to be our top priority.”

Listen to the full conversation above.

You’ll hear Speaker Leonard’s take on local government pension reforms, Michigan’s school accountability plan, reforming mental health services in Michigan — which he calls "a very big problem” in our state right now — and a possible attempt to override Governor Snyder’s veto of a bill.

(Subscribe to the Stateside podcast on iTunes, Google Play, or with this RSS link)

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