Auto insurance reform tops list of Republicans' policy priorities this year

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LANSING (WJRT) (2/12/2019) - As Gov. Gretchen Whitmer prepares to outline her policy priorities Tuesday evening, Republicans in charge of the Legislature have released a list of their own priorities.

Tops on the list: Bringing down Michigan's auto insurance rates that are highest in the nation.

Speaker of the House Lee Chatfield of Levering and Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey of Clarklake announced a list of top issues the Republican caucus hopes to hear from Whitmer.

“Making Michigan the best home for families, talent, and jobs is the driving force behind the priorities identified by our caucus. The governor has an opportunity to embrace that shared vision and work with the Legislature to improve our state,” said Shirkey. “Our goal is for Michigan to continue on its growth trajectory and for us to see more investment in our state to the benefit of all citizens.”

The joint House and Senate Republican priorities are:

1. Lowering auto insurance rates.

2. Fixing Michigan’s infrastructure, including investments in roads and bridges, providing clean drinking water in schools and supporting a tunnel under the Straits of Mackinac to carry an oil pipeline.

3. Making government work by continuing criminal justice reforms, fixing Michigan's mental health system and improving government accountability and predictability.

4. Supporting education and career readiness by giving students options to choose a career path, giving teachers strong funding and plenty of classroom time and providing parents with more choice and control over their children's futures.

Shirkey sees a lot of overlap and common ground between Republicans' goals and Whitmer's stated goals.

“Our shared legislative priorities represent ample opportunity to craft bipartisan solutions," he said. "Reducing the cost of car insurance is not a goal exclusive to Republicans or Democrats, it’s a problem all Michiganders want us to fix."

Shirkey said infrastructure improvements aren't based on who voters picked in the last election.

"It’s about continual improvement so that Michigan is an attractive option for capital investment,” said Shirkey. “Our caucus is eager to partner with our colleagues in the House and the Governor to deliver solutions for Michigan.”

Chatfield said legislators hear about the GOP list of priorities from their constituents over and over again. He believes focusing on these areas would bring the biggest changes to Michigan families.

“We have discussed policy priorities with our colleagues, and we can say with certainty that bringing these critical matters to the forefront will give the governor a leg up in finding common ground with the Legislature and a head start in delivering results for the people we represent,” Chatfield said.

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