Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Now that summer is here; I want to take a minute to share with you some highlights during my first term here in Lansing. I can’t believe all the progress we have made, and I am excited to see Michiganders benefit from the policies we have instituted.
In this Edition
- Auto Insurance Reform
- Pension Tax Repeal – House 4006
- Lyme Disease
- Property Lien – House Bill 4699
Auto Insurance Reform
I heard your cries for relief. As Detroiters, no one has suffered the financial burden of auto insurance more than us. As a citizen of ZIP code 48227, where insurance rates are the highest in the nation, I share your struggle. I am so fortunate to have been a part of the Select Committee to Reduce Auto Insurance Rates this term. My time on that committee equipped me with the tools to craft several amendments, including the expansion of non-driving factors to include race, gender, zip code, education level and credit score.
I am proud to be an active player in fixing Michigan’s broken auto insurance system. The new law goes into effect in July 2020. It gives drivers choices on personal injury protection coverage (PIP), addresses fraudulent claims and will take steps to control medical costs.
For more information and policy reviews, stay tuned for an auto insurance themed town hall Monday, August 19.
Location and time are coming soon!
Pension Tax Repeal House Bill 4006
House Bill 4006 aims to restore public pensions and social security to tax-exempt status. Eligible taxpayers would be able to subtract private retirement income, but the exemption for private retirement income or a combination of private retirement income and tax-exempt public retirement income cannot exceed a specific limit, which for tax year 2018 is $51,570 for single filers and $103,140 for joint filers. I voted in support of this bill in committee, and it has been referred to the House Committee on Ways and Means for further review.
Currently, our state is underserving those who have and are suspected of having Lyme disease. Problems range from receiving a proper diagnosis, receiving treatment and lack of health care coverage. This package seeks to provide resources for prevention. In the event a person contracts Lyme disease and the illness is not cured with oral antibiotics; it has the potential to become chronic, more commonly known as post-treatment Lyme disease.
Treatment for chronic Lyme disease is problematic due to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) failure to officially recognize the disease, resulting in limited access to treatment. Physicians who confront the CDC’s guidelines for treating Lyme disease risk being investigated and losing their license.
I was successfully treated by a physician who believed in treatment for chronic Lyme disease, despite the recommendations of the CDC. Because of him, I am alive today. My situation, as well as others I have encountered in the Lyme disease community, has inspired me to introduce legislation allowing doctors to diagnose, treat and administer antibiotics how they see fit.
Property Lien – House Bill 4699
I Introduced House Bill 4699 to attach a “failure to maintain property” fine to all properties in the owner’s name, including all property at the time of the fine and any future purchases until the fine is paid.
Currently, if a local residential property owner fails to keep their property appropriately maintained, local governments can only issue a ticket or fine attached to that property. Therefore owners can walk away from secondary properties without consequence, resulting in an influx of vacant homes and unkept rental properties.
The bill requires the owner be notified of the intent to carry the lien over to other private properties and given the option to set up a payment plan for the owed fees within 45 days of the notice. If the property is in probate, the lien would freeze until the probate is settled.
Stay tuned for updates on community events pending legislation!
“Success is liking yourself, what you do, and liking how you do it.”
State Representative Karen Whitsett
9th House District