#FF: What’s ahead for the Michigan Legislature

Categories: Blog Features,Education,In Case You Missed It

Welcome to this week’s edition of #FollowFriday.

Instead of looking back at previous bills, this week we are looking ahead at what is still to come before the end of the 2014 legislative term. Three of the top issues that the House will be working on before the New Year are education, building better and more sustainable roads and reforming auto no-fault insurance.

HB 5111 creates the “Third Grade Reading Guarantee” in Michigan’s public and charter schools. This bill has caused quite a commotion, but through the legislative process and hearing from superintendents and parents alike, the bill has evolved into a larger conversation to ensure Michigan children are getting the education they deserve. It is important that students moving on to fourth grade can read, because reading is the basis of a good education. The bill as it stands will ensure acceptable fourth-grade reading levels while still including protections for children with IEPs and ESL students, as well as a phase-in system so schools can adapt to new challenges.

HB 5112 creates a new evaluation system for teachers, switching from the current, confusing color code system to a more clear letter grade system. The new evaluation process also gives parents access to the third-grade reading proficiency results from the previous two school years. The current evaluation system is cumbersome and confusing for most, and the new plan would create much-needed transparency for parents.

Both House Bills 5111 and 5112 were introduced last fall, and the Legislature will continue working to make these bills a reality.

Auto Insurance ReformThanks to House Republican leadership, auto no-fault reform has been underway in our state since the spring. The new plan will reduce the cost of insurance for Michigan drivers, continue providing the best catastrophic injury protection in the nation and ensure a fair and sustainable system into the future.

Michigan has repeatedly seen the fastest increase in auto insurance rates in the country because the current system is outdated. This legislation will bring the state’s no-fault insurance into this century by lowering costs, establishing a fraud authority and creating a central depository for fraud data; a plan all Michiganders can get on board with.

Finally, and maybe most importantly, Michigan’s roadways are at the forefront of everyone’s minds after last winter. Michigan’s roads are in trouble and something needs to be done. The Legislature has made great strides by utilizing funding from existing revenue to supplement road repair efforts, and now the goal is to find a long-term solution to create sustainable roads for many years to come.

 

There are quite a few bills in the House and Senate that would go a long way to create lasting results for Michigan’s roads. The following legislation is designed to create a long term solution to a big problem, all while keeping costs as low as possible for Michigan drivers.

House Bills 5492 and 5459 permanently designate one-percent of use tax revenue and all unrestricted portions of sales tax on gas for Michigan roads.

House Bills 5477 and 5493 eliminate the current $0.19/gallon gas tax and $0.15/gallon diesel tax and replace both with a 6 percent wholesale fuel tax.

HB 4630 applies newly purchased vehicle prices to registration fees at time of transfer, dedicate late registration payment fees to roads and simplify and streamline vehicle registration costs. Finally, HBs 5452 and 5443 will increase the fees for oversize and overweight vehicles.

It takes time to work through the legislative process, but House Republicans are working hard to address Michiganders’ concerns and pass legislation that will best serve all residents of the Great Lake State.