Speaker blames Dems for no-fault reform failure

Michigan House of Representatives, Michigan Legislature
On the floor of the Michigan House of Representatives. (Nov. 2, 2017)


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Last week’s defeat of no-fault automotive insurance reform in the Michigan House of Representatives leaves the issue in limbo.

Speaker of the House Tom Leonard, R-DeWitt, knew when he put the vote on the board Thursday that it would be difficult to get to 55 yes votes. As it turned out, he got only 45: four Democrats and 40 Republicans, along with his own vote. He always said he needed 10 to 15 Democrats.

Lowering premium rates was one of the chief stated goals of the bill. Leonard, who pushed the plan, says some of the lawmakers from the hardest hit areas of the state did not step up to the plate.

“There’s no place that’s suffering more than the city of Detroit right now as it relates to auto insurance premiums and, in fact, I’ve met families that are paying $6,000 per premium,” Leonard said Monday. “It is very unfortunate that the Detroit delegation, with the exception of four of their members, continues to play politics with this issue.”

But what about Republicans who didn’t support the measure? If they had gone along, there would have been more than enough yes votes.

“While I respectfully disagree with their position, I can respect that they were standing up for their districts and they were honest and let me know where they were at right out of the gate,” Leonard said.

He referenced some members worrying that one of the area’s largest employers, a hospital, could be negatively impacted if the bill had been passed.

With that plan history, the question is what will come next. Again, Leonard seems to be putting part of the future of no-fault reform on Democrats. He said the ideas he’s hearing from that side right now of the aisle won’t fly.

“But if they want to seriously come to the table, I’m willing to have that discussion, but right now I need to move on to other issues,” Leonard said.

The House will be back in session Tuesday for the first time since no-fault failed.