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Lawmakers debating over auto insurance overhaul

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Lawmakers in the state Senate passed a few changes to the state’s car insurance law. Supporters say it’s a start to tackle the state’s sky-high auto insurance rates.

Michigan has some of the highest auto insurance rates in the nation.

Republican Senator Joe Hune sponsored the legislation.

“Well it’s certainly a step forward. It’s a step forward that our citizens of Michigan desperately need.”

But some Democratic and Republican lawmakers, along with groups like the Insurance Alliance of Michigan say the legislation doesn’t go far enough to provide real savings.

The legislation would allow seniors to cap their catastrophic medical coverage. That would be an exception to the current requirement that all drivers have unlimited lifetime medical coverage for catastrophic crashes. It would also create an anti-fraud division in the Attorney General’s office and cap medical coverage for pedestrians and passengers in uninsured vehicles.

Senator Jim Ananich is the Democratic leader in the Senate. He offered an amendment to mandate 10-percent savings for senior drivers who reduced their catastrophic coverage. But that amendment was shot down. Ananich says this isn’t a serious attempt to lower the state’s rates.

“This was done quickly. I think some savings is better than nothing, but in this case I think we should take a comprehensive approach.”

The legislation was voted out of the Senate, with several Republicans joining Democrats to vote against the measure. The bills now await action in the state House.