By: State Representative Matt Hall
Since my term began in January, I have hit the ground running. I have already been able to work alongside both my Republican and Democrat colleagues to get results on key issues that benefit Michigan families and seniors.
First, I helped deliver historic auto insurance reform that lowers the cost of auto insurance for all Michigan drivers.
The new law guarantees auto insurance rate reductions for all Michigan drivers starting July 1, 2020. The law gives consumers more choices so every Michigan driver can choose the personal injury protection coverage that best fits his or her needs. Some will choose to keep unlimited lifetime coverage, which remains available under the new law. But others, including many seniors living on a fixed income, will decide to opt out completely and use their Medicare or private medical insurance coverage to cover auto accident related injuries. Consumers who opt out of auto insurance personal injury protection coverage will save up to half of their current auto insurance premium by using their medical insurance coverage instead. Because their medical coverage will cover auto injuries they will no longer be paying for their auto insurance medical coverage twice – once in their health care premium and once in their auto insurance premium.
The new law stops price gouging and caps the price a medical care provider can charge for a car accident victims’ medical services. This means the cost of treatment for an auto accident victim will no longer be substantially more expensive than treatment covered by private insurance plans, Medicaid or Medicare.
The quality of the new law greatly benefitted from people of different views listening to one another and working together. I suspected we had landed on a good compromise when I discovered that the trial lawyers, insurance companies, and medical care providers all disliked the bill. The beneficiaries of this reform are the people of Michigan and not the interest groups. For this reason, I proudly voted YES to reform auto insurance and deliver significant auto insurance rate relief to all Michigan drivers starting next year.
It is rare for a freshman legislator to become Chairman of a committee. But I was selected to chair the House Oversight Committee. I do not take this opportunity for granted. I work each day to make government more effective, efficient, and accountable to the people of Michigan.
When state auditors found Children’s Protective Services (CPS) was not effectively protecting children from abuse and neglect I took action. I led a series of Oversight Committee hearings investigating CPS’s policies and practices. I met with local Kalamazoo County CPS case workers and supervisors to listen to their experiences in the field and hear their suggestions. I introduced important bipartisan reforms that require Children’s Protective Services to do more to protect children from abuse and neglect.
I have held the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency accountable for mismanagement at the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans. In June, I co-chaired a joint House and Senate Oversight Committee hearing to investigate reports of questionable accounting practices and improper administration of prescription medication at the home. Following the hearing, I called on the Michigan Auditor General to perform an expedited follow-up performance review to confirm that the Veterans Affairs Agency has improved its services and practices and is now providing veterans the care and services that they deserve. The Auditor General granted my request, and that review will begin in September. I will closely monitor the Veterans Affairs Agency’s performance and hold its leaders accountable if further problems are discovered. Our veterans have made great sacrifices to protect our freedoms and now we must protect and care for them.
In May, I passed my first bill through the Michigan House of Representatives. HB 4434 protects a Concealed Pistol License (CPL) holder from unfair prosecution in the event he or she simply forgets to renew his or her expired license within the first year.
Under current Michigan law, a CPL holder found in possession of a concealed pistol one day after his or her license expires can be charged with a felony punishable by up to five years in prison or a $2,500 fine. Under my bill, a CPL holder who is found concealed carrying within one year of his or her CPL expiring and is otherwise eligible for renewal would be subject to a civil infraction and a $330 fine. If the individual renews his or her CPL within 60 days of the citation, the fine would be waived.
The legislation is important because a felony conviction can destroy a person’s life. CPL holders are among our most law abiding citizens. To earn a CPL an individual must pass a criminal background check and receive firearm training. It is unfair for an otherwise law-abiding citizen to become a felon because of a paperwork oversight.
I worked together with Democrats and Republicans to pass this common sense criminal justice reform. This fall, I will work with members of the Senate in the same manner to achieve broad support in their chamber for the bill.
As your state representative your opinion is important to me. I encourage you to contact me to share your thoughts. My office can be reached by phone at (517) 373 1787 or by emailing MattHall@house.mi.gov. My website is RepMattHall.com. I look forward to hearing from you, and together continuing to lead the way.