“Lansing hates us,…the People love us!!!”

1st hour discussion today, Thursday 11-16-17; MIRS News Service

Five Gubernatorial Candidates Support Recreational Marijuana

(YPSILANTI) -- Five gubernatorial candidates tonight supported marijuana legalization, a dynamic that wouldn't have been seen a few years ago, said Jeffrey HANKS, founder of MILegalize.

That they did tonight at a forum at the Sidetrack Bar & Grill in Ypsilanti shows there has been a cultural shift in attitudes toward marijuana use, Hanks said.

Four Democratic gubernatorial candidates -- Gretchen WHITMER, Abdul EL-SAYED, Shri THANEDAR and Bill COBBS -- were joined by Republican Evan SPACE for the discussion. Hanks said Republican candidate and Attorney General Bill SCHUETTE was invited but did not respond. Lt. Gov. Brian CALLEY was not invited, Hanks said, because he has yet to announce.

The event doubled as a fundraiser for the MILegalize 2018 campaign, which together with the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, are working to put a proposal on the general election ballot next year to legalize adult recreational use of marijuana.

Hanks said the petition drive has "north of 385,000 signatures," well over the amount needed and the coalition is days away from submitting their petition forms.

And the candidates, all supportive of the proposal, predicted passage at the ballot box.

"I see marijuana as no different than drinking a beer, a glass of wine or any other liquor. We went through this before," Cobbs said, referring to Prohibition. "It is time to stop criminalizing behavior that has long term impact on people's lives. As a former member of law enforcement, I saw people get arrested for a thimble of marijuana and have their lives effected by it for years."

Whitmer said it is time to "embrace legalization and use it to grow our economy." She pointed out that she endorsed medical use of cannabis "before it was popular" and noted that there are 300,000 medical marijuana patients in Michigan now, pointing to that as evidence for support of legalization.

"When it comes to medical cannabis, we all know it works," El-Sayed said. He noted the ballot proposal includes $20 million to fund research on medical marijuana, which he said is important to determining how much and how often cannabis should be used to correctly treat illness.

"I already know that we are going to legalize," El-Sayed said.

"This issue has a lot of myth and misunderstanding," Thanedar said. "I'm a scientist. I would make decisions based on science, and the science supports the legalize movement." Not only does science show medical use of marijuana is an effective treatment for some illnesses, Thanedar said the science shows recreational use of cannabis does not lead to crime and traffic accidents often feared from marijuana use.

"I believe that PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) can be cured by the use of medical marijuana," Space told the crowd of about 100, "but if (veterans) use it, they will be pushed aside. It is important to them, they have to know that they are not going to lose their jobs by using medical marijuana."

Space advocated changing Michigan's at-will employment law to protect employees from being fired over medical use.

Whitmer said criminalization of small amounts of marijuana has clogged up the legal system. "But as a mom of two teenagers, I know how important it is that we get it right, because we don't want teens to have access to it," she said. She wants the tax dollars from legalization to be used to boost education funding.

El-Sayed noted that persons of color are disproportionately arrested for small amounts of marijuana and therefore are disproportionately jailed for that offense.

The presumed frontrunner in the Democratic race, Whitmer is the former state Senate Minority Leader and former Prosecutor of Ingham County.

El-Sayed is a physician and the former executive director of the Detroit Health Department.

Thanedar is an Ann Arbor resident and entrepreneur

Cobbs is a former Xerox executive and resides in southeast Michigan

Space, of Grand Rapids, is an entrepreneur.

Use of marijuana for medical purposes was approved by voters back in 2008. State government is currently in the process of revamping the system for supplying marijuana to patients in a way that would work for the operation of dispensaries. Growers and transporters would also be licensed through the system in the coming year (See "LARA Reverses Course Will Let Existing Pot Shops Stay Open Past Dec. 15," 11/1/17).

The petition drive to put legalization on the ballot has said for the last month they were well on their way to getting the necessary signatures and have been working to build a cushion (See "Marijuana Legalization Effort '85 Of The Way To Goal'," 10/2/17).
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1st hour discussion today, Wednesday 11-15-17; MIRS News Service

McMillin On PTL: `I Would Not Be Involved In Something That Failed'

After taking over the reins of the part-time legislature petition drive last week from Lt. Gov. Brian CALLEY, former GOP House member Tom McMILLIN was more forthcoming on how the drive was doing compared to Calley, who continually stonewalled the media on the number of names collected.

With some 9,000 circulators in the field, McMillin said they're roughly halfway to the goal for the group. State law requires 315,654 valid signatures for constitutional amendments, but McMillin is shooting for a cushion of 360,000 by mid-January, and he said the group is roughly halfway to that 360,000 total.

"I'm very confident," the new co-chair told MIRS.

Popular wisdom has it that the deeper the drive goes into the winter months, with potentially lousy weather, the effort will have to collect about 3,000 signatures a day -- and that could be a daunting task.

The Oakland County Republican rejected that popular wisdom.

"A lot of this is done inside and so to some degree it is easier," he said.

As for collecting the same amount of signatures in two months that were collected in four, the co-chair said, "I've done petition drives before. A lot of them come in, in the end. We're not done. There are more pushes to come. We're not going to tell everything that will be happening. We have more resources. It will be a significant push."

Regarding another piece of popular wisdom in town that suggests Calley bailed out because the drive was headed down the tubes, McMillin calls that "dead wrong . . . I would not be involved in something that failed."

Asked if there was a 50-50 chance of doing this, he said it was closer to 70-30.

"We've got a lot of people out there who want to get this done,” he said.

But what about the opposition in the business community, including the Michigan Chamber of Commerce, that tagged Calley with the moniker of "snake oil salesman"?

"Most of the businesses do (support this,)" the new leader reports, while conceding, "there are certain lobbyists that might not. Generally, lobbyists like lawmakers hanging around with nothing to do and they like to get their claws into them."

Assuming they hit the target of 360,000 valid signatures, McMillin thinks the push to pass it begins with over 70 percent support in the electorate and he forecasts a possible advertising budget of between $2 and $3 million for the yes vote.

Part of his confidence in all this may be underscored by the fact that right after the State Board of Education meeting today, he and his dad were heading up north for a little deer hunting. It was unclear if he would take along some petitions into the woods.
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2nd hour discussion today, Tuesday 11-14-17; MIRS News Service

James Leading In GOP U.S. Senate Race Poll Shows

New polling commissioned by MIRS shows political newcomer and Detroit businessman John JAMES out front of declared U.S. Senate candidate and former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Robert YOUNG as well as U.S. Rep. Fred UPTON (R-St. Joseph) who is pondering a run.

In the poll, James was holding the support of 24 percent of likely Republican voters. Coming in next was Upton with 19 percent and Young came in third with the support of 7 percent of voters.

"There is growing attention paid to John James because of his resume," noted Ed SARPOLUS, of Target Insyght which conducted the survey for MIRS. "He's a businessman, a veteran and he fits the mode of what voters are looking for today."

MIRS announced the poll results during the taping of MIRS Monday Podcast with guest Stu SANDLER of Grand River Strategies who's consulting with James.

"The two biggest issues are how to create jobs in this economy and how to keep America safe and I think John encapsulates that," said Sandler.

James only just announced his candidacy in the days leading up to the September Michigan Republican Party Mackinac Leadership Conference. (See "New U.S. Senate Candidate Pledges 100 Videos In 100 Days," 09/21/2017).

Sandler pointed out that the "outsider" status of James combined with his background "as a military veteran and Iraqi war Captain who is Army Ranger qualified, West Point grad and a job creator in the logistics business" combines to create a combination that resonates "very powerfully."

On Thursday, GOP consultant John YOB argued that businessman Sandy PENSLER was the strongest candidate, in that both James and Young, had poor showing on recent campaign finance reports. Sandler said it's too early in James' bid to make that argument.

"First thing, I think it's kind of unfair. John James just announced at the end of September that he's running so there was two weeks in the quarter where he was an official candidate," Sandler said. "But if you look at it again, Sandy Pensler spent a ton of money in the congressional primary in 1992 and didn't win. When you have candidate like John James there is a real message there that resonates."

Sarpolus noted that Young "has been out there almost as long as Gretchen WHITMER, but you don't see him gaining any traction. Fred Upton considering he's not announced, he's got a base to run from, but he'll have to build from that base to get people in Southeast Michigan to support him.

"He's the new kid on the block, he's likeable, he's got a resume and that's paying off for him," Sarpolus added.

The survey was conducted from Nov. 1 through November 6 with a sample of 400. It has a margin of error of plus or minus five percentage points.
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1st hour discussion today, Thursday 11-9-17; MIRS News Service;

Gun Bills Exit Senate Chamber With Verbal Bangs

Adults with the proper license would be allowed to carry a concealed gun through almost all "gun free zones" -- schools, churches, and establishments that sell alcoholic drinks -- under a package the Senate passed this afternoon.

However, the Senate's concealed pistol license (CPL) bills don't allow local governments to opt out of the law, which is why Gov. Rick SNYDER vetoed similar legislation (SB 59) in 2012 (See "Snyder: No Public Opt-Out For Gun Bill A 'Problem,'" 12/17/12).

Following today's session, MIRS asked Senate Majority Leader Arlan MEEKHOF (R-West Olive), the sponsor of Click to add MIRS Bill Hound SB 0584, if he thought Snyder would ultimately sign the bills.

"I've got a lot of work to do with the Governor," Meekhof admitted. "There's a reason my name is on the bill."

The legislation -- Click to add MIRS Bill Hound SB 0584, Click to add MIRS Bill Hound SB 0585 and Click to add MIRS Bill Hound SB 0586 -- moved swiftly out of the Senate Government Operations Committee on Tuesday (See "Panel Passes Bills To Allow Guns In Gun Free Zones," 11/7/17). Under the legislation, universities and colleges would have the power to adopt and enforce their own gun policies, as would private property owners, under a substituted version of the package.
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1st hour discussion today, Wednesday 11-8-17; MIRS News Service - Lansing

Panel Passes Bills To Allow Guns In Gun Free Zones

Concealed guns could be carried in gun-free zones such as schools and churches provided those toting the guns have received extra hours of enhanced training, under legislation that was reported out of the Senate Government Operations Committee today on 3-2 party-line votes.

The three-bill package -- Click to add MIRS Bill Hound SB 0584, Click to add MIRS Bill Hound SB 0585 and Click to add MIRS Bill Hound SB 0586 -- would also end the ability to open carry guns in these gun-free zones.

Schools could still prohibit students from carrying concealed guns on school property and could still have a say regarding their own gun policies concerning school employees; subject to labor negotiations, under these bills. However, visitors to a school who have acquired the necessary training and obtained concealed carry permits could not be prohibited from carrying their weapons on school premises.

The measures leave it up to private property owners -- including taverns and other establishments that serve alcoholic beverages -- to determine their own policies regarding gunowners who have received the enhanced training. This would apply to churches, as well.

The timing of today's action -- on the first session day following the mass shooting of 25 churchgoers in Texas on Sunday -- was surprising to many. This was particularly so because for several weeks Senate Majority Leader Arlan MEEKHOF (R-West Olive), who chairs the committee and sponsors Click to add MIRS Bill Hound SB 0584, had repeatedly told reporters "It just wasn't the right time" to bring up the legislation whenever they asked him about the topic.

This morning MIRS asked Meekhof why he'd picked this week to take up the bills.

"I just think it's time that we move forward on it," Meekhof said.

In response to reporters' questions, Meekhof said he had already planned to take up the bill package before the church shooting took place in Texas over the weekend and the Texas shooting had nothing to do with the timing.

"However, it has reinforced why I was going to have these hearings," Meekhof asserted.

Meekhof also cited statistics from the Crime Prevention Research Centers showing that of the mass shootings that have taken place in the United States since 1950, more than 98 percent have occurred in gun-free zones

"I think anybody should be able to exercise their right to protect themselves," Meekhof explained when reporters pressed him as to why he thought the legislation was needed. "Gun free zones provide a target-rich environment for those who don't obey the law."

The bill package is similar but not the same as legislation (SB 59) sponsored by Sen. Mike GREEN (R-Mayville) back in 2012, which was ultimately vetoed by Gov. Rick SNYDER because it didn't allow for a local opt-out (See "Snyder: No Public Opt-Out For Gun Bill A 'Problem,'" 12/17/12).

In response to a reporter's question, Meekhof confirmed that he has discussed the legislation with Snyder. But, responding to a reporter asking if that meant the Governor would support the legislation, Meekhof said, "Not necessarily."

The Michigan chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, which is part of the gun-control group "Everytown for Gun Safety, packed the committee room. In addition to offering testimony at the hearing, the group issued a press release referring to the legislation as "dangerous bills that together would force Michigan elementary, middle and high schools to allow people to carry hidden, loaded handguns on their premises." It also said that: "SB 584 would allow people to carry hidden, loaded handguns into college classroom and dormitories, sports arenas, bars and other sensitive locations throughout the state."

Meekhof opened the hearing by defending his decision to take the bills up.

"Over the last several weeks our nation has experienced tragedies involving gun violence," Meekhof said. "In the wake of such events there are those who believe that any discussion of gun legislation is insensitive, but I feel quite the opposite. We will not be debating sensitivity today."

Testifying in favor of the bills, Bob RUDOWSKY of the Michigan Coalition of Responsible Gun Owners, which is one of the entities that could provide the enhanced training required to qualify to carry under the legislation, told the committee the bill package would potentially provide some protection for unarmed people in gun-free zones.

"The idea of having the ability to arm a well-qualified and well-trained individual in, what would otherwise be a pistol-free zone, is tantamount to setting up a scenario where we no longer set up sheep waiting for the wolf," Rudowsky said. "The program MCRGO has developed is designed to ensure that an individual (having successfully completed that program) is well prepared to properly conceal, so that firearm is not readily visible by visitors of the venue, and [also] has the needed skill-set in the event of an emergency. That's the whole crux of the program we've developed."

Despite the fact that the legislation impacts more than just schools, the lion's share of testimony given in opposition to the bills came from within the education community.

"AFT of Michigan is opposed to SBs 584, 585 and 586, which would undermine the safety of students, school employees and community members by allowing weapons in early childhood centers, K-12 schools, community colleges, university dormitories and classrooms," Julie ROWE, AFT of Michigan Legislative Coordinator, told the committee. "The state would be increasing the likelihood of violence not deterring it."

"The most comprehensive research finds that expanding the right to carry concealed firearms is associated with an increase of up to 9 percent in the rate of assaults," Rowe continued. "While there are cases of successful civilian intervention in mass shootings that involve former police officers and military personnel, research into mass shooting incidents over the past 30 years has found not one documented case of otherwise-licensed civilians successfully intervening during a shooting."

Dan WOTRUBA, executive director of the Michigan Association of School Boards, argued that the legislation usurps local control over an issue that should be decided by individual communities.

"We're taking this position on behalf of locally-elected individuals that are put in place to ensure the education and safety of all the kids that are educated in our public school system," Wotruba said. "Yet, when we look at these bills they take away that locally elected body's ability to even talk to their community and decide as a community whether they think concealed carry should happen in their school district or not happen."

Wotruba also said that, according to MASB's interpretation of the bills, they'd take away school districts' ability to set policy concerning the carrying of concealed guns by their employees.

Sen. Curtis HERTEL (D-East Lansing) is firmly against the gun legislation saying, "You look at all the school shootings. This is a bad plan for Michigan."

However, Sen. Ken HORN (R-Frankenmuth), who often picks up his grandchildren from school, is totally comfortable with the Meekhof package, suggesting that, "I think our schools are fairly safe right now. I just don't think you have to worry about it being unsafe."

The Saginaw lawmaker thinks having concealed weapons is preferable to the current open carry provision. He believes those guns in open sight produces, "Little kids whose eyes get this big if a gun gets past the front door."

He also observes that, "There are incidents recently around the nation that may have been a little bit more under control if somebody had been there with a concealed weapon."

Hertel rejected that opinion.

"There are much more likely to be accidents than anybody stopping anything from happening . . . We had a shooting in a Dearborn daycare. It just doesn't make any sense to be adding more guns to the schools and I think most people believe that," Hertel said.

As for the measure that prevents schools from opting out of the concealed provision, if it is adopted, Rep. Peter LUCIDO (R-Shelby Twp.) argues there is no local control aspect to that debate. He said since it's a constitutional right to carry a concealed weapon, a local school does not have the authority to suspend the constitution.
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2nd hour discussion today, Monday 11-6-17; MIRS News Service - Lansing

Prevailing Wage Repealers Say They've Submitted 380K Signatures

The prevailing wage repeal campaign announced today it has turned in 380,000 signatures to the Secretary of State (SOS) for its initiated legislation petition.

Protecting Michigan Taxpayers (PMT) -- backed almost entirely by the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) of Michigan -- has been out in the field since around May collecting signatures on its latest go-around to put a prevailing wage repeal before the Legislature. If lawmakers don't vote on it or vote it down, it would go to the voters in 2018.

Both House Speaker Tom LEONARD (R-DeWitt) and Senate Majority Leader Arlan MEEKHOF (R-West Olive) have signaled support for getting the measure passed, which wouldn't need Gov. Rick SNYDER's signature to become law (See "Calley Supports Repealing Prevailing Wage, Tax Cut," 9/22/17).

PMT had previously submitted signatures for consideration in 2015, but had to start from scratch after union-backed opposition was able to challenge enough signatures to throw the petition in jeopardy (See "Prevailing Wage Repealers Starting From Scratch On Ballot Initiative," 10/30/15).

The group tried to garner the signatures again, but decided to pull back and not submit signatures in 2016 (See "Prevailing Wage Repeal Campaign Not Submitting Sigs June 1," 5/27/16).

It instead went after its previously hired signature-gathering firm in court and won (See "Prevailing Wage Repeal Group Settles With Signature Collectors," 11/21/16).

Now PMT is back with 380,000 signatures, needing only 252,523 valid signatures to be certified by the Board of State Canvassers (BSC), which would come after a review by the SOS and its Bureau of Elections.

SOS spokesperson Fred WOODHAMS estimated the Bureau's review taking 60 days.

"Michigan citizens have spoken by signing this petition that will finally allow for a free and fair public construction bidding process that protects Michigan workers and Michigan taxpayers," said PMT President Jeff WIGGINS in a statement. "Eliminating the state government's costly prevailing wage mandate will save taxpayers millions of dollars every year and ensure that hard work and open competition deliver Michigan residents the best quality product."

The National Federation of Independent Business lent its support of PMT's efforts today and urged lawmakers in a statement to "step up now and show leadership and courage in addressing this protectionist labor union sacred cow that is cheating taxpayers out of hundreds of millions of dollars every year."

The Michigan Freedom Fund -- a past financial backer of the PMT -- and Americans For Prosperity in Michigan, which has lent in-kind help for the current campaign, also released statements today in support of the cause.

Meanwhile, Michigan Prevails and Protect Michigan Jobs (PMJ) -- which are composed of virtually every construction association in the state and major building trades organizations representing more than 100,000 skilled trades workers in Michigan, according to a release -- said ending prevailing wage is just about cutting worker pay.

PMJ is the union-backed ballot committee formed in opposition to PMT, which paid for the signature-debunking effort last time PMT had petition signatures submitted. They had $75,752 in the committee bank at the end of the most recent period.

The Michigan Infrastructure and Transportation Association (MITA) said in a statement today that repealing prevailing wage cuts the pay of skilled trades workers at a time when the state is facing a shortage of workers for infrastructure and construction projects.

"It would literally take food off the tables and money out of the pockets of working men and women in Michigan, and out of the Michigan economy," said Lance BINONIEMI, vice president of government affairs for MITA. "This will make it harder to attract young people into the trades, and it will encourage those who are here to leave Michigan for better jobs and better pay elsewhere."
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1st hour discussion today, Tuesday 10-31-17;

Senate Majority Leader - Arlan Meekhof isn't making any commitment to passing the No-Fault Auto Insurance Reform Bill HB 5013, per MIRS News Service;

Meekhof Makes 'No Commitment' On House Auto Insurance Bill

If the House manages to pass a version of an auto insurance reform bill out of its chamber this week, Senate Majority Leader Arlan MEEKHOF (R-West Olive) is making "no commitment" on taking a vote on the measure unchanged.

In meeting with fellow West Michigan legislators and assorted officials connected to the auto insurance issue, the Senate leader said the chamber would take a look at Click to add MIRS Bill Hound HB 5013 if it passes the House.

Whatever happens to the legislation at that point, no firm commitment has been made by Meekhof, said press secretary Amber McCANN.

Meekhof's stance on the legislation carries substantial weight as the House prepares for a vote on the bill as soon as Thursday, a week after it moved out of the House Insurance Committee (See "Lawmakers Add Savings Mandates Before Reporting No-Fault Reform," 10/26/17).

Will House members be willing to go out on a limb with their votes if they know it's only going to "die" in the Senate, as Meekhof has suggested in the past (See "Leonard Makes Auto Insurance 'Rate Relief' A Priority," 9/6/17).

However, Meekhof has been firm in not mandating auto insurance rate cuts in legislation. He's also not in favor of creating a fee schedule for hospitals, but he does support creating a fraud authority, capping caretaker relative hours and addressing the state's unassigned claims system.

In related news, Rep. Jeff NOBLE (R-Plymouth) is holding a town hall in his district on this issue along with House Insurance Committee Chair Lana THEIS (R-Brighton). A group called the Concerned Association of Patients and Providers (CAPP) is planning a protest.

The actions come as the Michigan Health and Hospital Association (MHA) has run television ads in southeast Michigan, Genesee and southwest Michigan on the issue. The ads talk about how drivers are at risk of getting into a car wreck and that Michigan's best-in-the-nation coverage is "at risk" of dismantlement by "greedy insurers."

"Insurance companies win big. More profits for them. No guaranteed rate cuts for you. It's the same old Lansing rip-off," the voice in one ad says.

The Insurance Alliance of Michigan (IAM) has "blasted" the TV ads released by the Michigan Health and Hospital Association (MHA) in opposition to auto no-fault reform being considered by the Michigan House of Representatives.

"These false ads are a desperate attempt to scare and confuse voters about common-sense reforms overwhelmingly supported by the public," said IAM executive director Pete KUHNMUENCH, referring to a recent study that found 72 percent of Michigan voters want to see the state's broken, outdated auto no-fault system reformed.

"The real profiteers are not the auto insurance companies, as these misleading ads claim, but the medical providers who are eager to protect the status quo that allows them to rake in dollars by charging two or three times as much for the same procedures. Auto no-fault is a golden goose for medical providers, and clearly they will say anything to protect it."
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3rd hour discussion today, Monday 10-30-17;

Smart Meter Victims,

After receiving a letter from DTE threatening to cut his electrical power…DTE customer Tom Mitchell has been granted a hearing by the MPSC based on his hand-written letter which he informed them that due to a common medical condition (Atrial fibrillation: a condition occurring when the upper chambers of your heart receive irregular electrical signals) he could not live without power or with a smart meter on his home.

MPSC contacted Tom by phone assuring him that his power would not be cut and that he is scheduled for a hearing on the matter.

Tom received a call from DTE telling him, in so many words, to drop his complaint because no one has ever won a case based on his argument.

Tom dismissed DTE’s request and pre-hearing arguments are scheduled for:

Tuesday October 31, 2017
9AM
MPSC Headquarters
7109 W. Saginaw Highway
Lansing, Michigan 48917

Case # U-18445
before Administrative Law Judge - Lauren G. Van Steel
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youtu.be/4Wg3qiqzQIk ...

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EVENT - SATURDAY 10-28-17 at Noon - 2 pm;

Patrick Colbeck 'Meet and Greet' at Baker's Green Acres
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Patrick Colbeck 'Meet and Greet' at Baker's Green Acres

October 28, 2017, 12:00pm - October 28, 2017, 1:00pm

Please Join Us For A 'Meet and Greet' with Patrick Colbeck, Candidate for Governor at Baker's Green Acres Saturday, October 28, 2017 12:00noon - 2:00p.m. Baker's Green Acres 1579 Brinks Rd. Marion, MI 49665 R.S.V.P. at events@colbeckforgovernor.com or 517-230-2554 Bring a folding chair if you have one! All are welcome! Paid for By Patrick Colbeck for Governor, 2843 E. Grand River Ave., #262, East Lansing, MI 48823 Contributions or Gifts to Colbeck for Governor are not deductible as charitable contributions for federal tax purposes. www.colbeckforgovernor.com Colbeck for Governor Baker's Green Acres

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1st hour discussion today, Monday 10-23-17; MIRS News Service

Leonard 'Cautiously Optimistic' On No-Fault, But Dem Votes Hard To Find

Even Democrats are having trouble finding the "10 to 15 Democratic votes" that would be needed to pass pending legislation to reform no-fault auto insurance reform.

"Honestly I don't think I have talked to 15 of my caucus members that would be a 'yes' yet," Rep. Phil PHELPS (D-Flushing) said this week.

He was talking about Click to add MIRS Bill Hound HB 5013, a plan put forward by House Speaker Tom LEONARD (R-DeWitt), Rep. Lana THEIS (R-Brighton) and Detroit Mayor Mike DUGGAN to lower rates an estimated 40 percent by offering drivers a choice of three different levels of personal injury protection (PIP) -- capped at $250,000, at $500,000, or unlimited (See "Leonard-Duggan Lock Arms On Insurance Reform," 9/26/17).

"The direction that it is trying to head, I'm okay with. I'm okay with a certain level of PIP choice," Phelps said. ". . . The main difference between me and the rest of my caucus is PIP choice, where I'm not against PIP choice."

Phelps said he still has concerns with the bill and there would have be changes before it would win his vote. But his concern is with the fee schedule portion of the bill, rather than PIP. The fee schedule sets what types of prices hospitals could charge for medical services should an insured driver be hurt in an accident.

"I have Hurley Hospital in my district. Level one trauma (centers) have a bunch of scenarios that they have to be ready and prepared for and therefore they incur much higher costs than a regular hospital or a regular medical provider," Phelps said. "Hurley Hospital is the farthest north level one trauma center in the state of Michigan . . . I'm worried that as 5013 is written, Hurley would no longer be able to operate as a level one trauma. I think it would be a big loss to the Flint community for that to happen."

In many places, the fee schedule sets medical service rates at the same level as those paid from Medicare.

"My issue is with the fee schedule because the Medicare level really is a government discount, is what it boils down to," he said. "We ask medical providers to give the federal government a discount so that we could make the whole Medicare and Medicaid program work . . . I don't think that discount should be passed on to a private corporations like an insurance company."

Leonard on Thursday said Republicans had caucused on the bill for a second time this week, and he described the meeting as productive (See "Swing Vote Will Vote To Move Leonard-Duggan Bill Out Of Committee," 10/10/17).

"It went very well. For several weeks, I have told you that I am cautiously optimistic that we can get to a place where we can get this done. I'm still cautiously optimistic, but I'm am slightly more optimistic today than I was last week," Leonard told reporters in a scrum at the conclusion of session Thursday.

He reiterated that he'll need support from 10 to 15 Democrats to get the bill passed.

"I feel better about where our caucus is every day and I feel better about the progress that I believe the mayor is making with many individuals in the Democratic caucus as well," he said.

When Leonard and Duggan unveiled their plan last month, several Democrats were in attendance, including Phelps as well as Reps. Leslie LOVE (D-Detroit), Sylvia SANTANA (D-Detroit), Wendell BYRD (D-Detroit), and Scott DIANDA (D-Calumet).

Even among them, support is not solid.

"I don't have a stance," Byrd said. "When the bill clears committee, then I will have more of an opinion to give . . . You understand that if that bill goes forward, there will be amendments and changes before it finally comes to a vote, correct? So I'm just looking at the options. I'm looking to get insurance relief for my district and for the people of the state of Michigan, because we are the highest in the country and it doesn't make any sense."

Santana also is not yet ready to commit one way or the other.

"Auto insurance is still the highest in the nation in my district, which is still concerning to my constituents," Santana said in a written statement. "The bills that have been introduced are great starting point in the conversation; however, the legislative process is still underway regarding auto insurance and I am waiting to see what the members of the committee agree upon. “

Love is a definite supporter.

"I am a supporter of 5013. I think it's the beginning of meaningful legislation that would give us choice. It is not a perfect piece of legislation. But we are working on some amendments and getting some concessions on it," she said. "My auto insurance policy for 2017 is $5,300 for a 2009 Saturn Aura that's paid in full with over 100,000 miles. I'm over 45. I'm the only one who drives that car. Good credit. College education. Accident forgiveness. So I'm living the problem. And it is not just me. I just held a town hall in my district yesterday. Everyone who spoke up in that meeting said 'you've got to lower our rates. And if you bums in Lansing don't do it, we'll start a petition, because we need our rates lower in Detroit.' So they were very forceful in saying do something about lowering our rates."

Talking to MIRS this week for the MIRS Monday podcast, Dianda would not commit to yes or no. He put his emphasis on transparency in the catastrophic claims fund.

"I'm hoping to see one thing in the discussion," he said. "We all put that $21 billion into that kitty and that is what they are sitting on. And that is our money. We all paid into it. And if some change is made, that rebate should be coming to us. Or they should keep the fund in there where we are not going to have to keep paying on it. But that is what happens when you don't have true government oversight of those funds."

Other Democrats indicate they are open to the reform, without committing to a yes vote. Rep. Robert KOSOWSKI (D-Westland) was not at the press conference, but said this week he is open to discussion.

"My worry is that it is only a five-year sunset. So this bill is good for five years and what happens after five years?" he said. "Can they just say, 'Hey, guess what, we're going to go back to the old system.' So all these people, if they decide to go into it and say I like this bill, in five years they can change it back. Then what happens. It's not good news.

"Really, you are only saving money on the PIP area. I love the senior component. That's the greatest piece of this whole bill," Kosowski said.

Still, Phelps contended a few simple and small changes to bill might pick up the needed votes.

"If you could get an exemption for level one trauma centers, you could pick up two to three votes, maybe even four from our side right there," he said. "It might not take but a few changes to this bill right here for them to gain that support."
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1st hour discussion today, Friday 10-20-17;

MI Declares Victory Over Wisconsin Company On U.P. Power Plant Costs

The state said Yooper electric ratepayers would see $23 million in savings after the state prevailed in an ongoing dispute with a Wisconsin energy provider over the costs of keeping an aging Upper Peninsula power plant open.

"Today is a great day in our continuing efforts to lower power costs for Michiganders in the U.P.," Gov. Rick SNYDERsaid in a statement. "We stood up for the Upper Peninsula and we won."

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) ruled in favor of Michigan after the state challenged what's known as the system support resource (SSR) payments that were being collected by Wisconsin Electric Corp. (WEC) to keep the Presque Isle Power Plant open.

The power plant was scheduled to be closed by its owner, WEC, but it was forced to stay open by the regional power transmission regulator, the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO), for reliability reasons.

That spurred a fight over who was to pay for that plant to stay open, and how much (See "It's Michigan Vs. Wisconsin In Showdown Over U.P. Energy Crisis," 10/21/14).

The feud has spread itself over more than 20 dockets at the FERC, according to the state, which said it was "vigorously" challenging the SSR payments. In this particular case, FERC found WEC's collection of nearly $23 million for the plant was not just or reasonable.

In addition to that, the state said WEC had even "altered the date of an invoice calculating the payment," to which the FERC said, "we make no findings at this time regarding whether Wisconsin Electric committed fraud or engaged in manipulation when a date was changed on an invoice . . . but we have referred the matter to the Commission's Office of Enforcement for further examination and inquiry as may be appropriate."

A message sent to WEC for comment went unreturned today.

Still, it's up to MISO in the next 45 days to make a recommendation to FERC on how much money, if any, should be refunded.
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2nd hour discussion today, Tuesday 10-17-17; MIRS News Service

Coalition Introduces Alternative Reform On No-Fault Auto Insurance

Eleven bills of an alternative no-fault auto insurance reform package, sponsored by a bipartisan coalition of lawmakers, led by Rep. Ben FREDERICK (R-Owosso), were introduced this week.

Rep. Tim GREIMEL (D-Auburn Hills) has said the plan would reduce rates by 20 to 30 percent without cutting benefits. The package would create fee schedules for medical services, coordinate auto policies with health insurance policies, reform use of non-driving factors in rate setting, regulate home health care of accident victims and add fraud prevention. The plan has the support of the Coalition to Protect Auto No-Fault (CPAN) (See "Coalition of House Lawmakers Unveil Auto Insurance Reform," 9/14/17).

It is also considered an alternative to the reform plan offered by House Speaker Tom LEONARD (R-Dewitt), Rep. Lana THEIS (R-Brighton) and Detroit Mayor Mike DUGGAN, HB 5013, under consideration by the House Insurance Committee (See "Frayed Tempers Show In Insurance Committee On Auto Reform," 10/3/17).

"One of the key cruxes of the debate for a very long time has been a reduction of any kind to the personal injury protection (PIP) benefit," Frederick said. "So if the central piece of 5013 remains the tiered PIP levels, I think it would be very difficult for some members, myself included, to get on board with it. My hope is that we make it clear there are some cost drivers that have more wide consensus that maybe we can tackle in someway and still move the ball forward on some reforms here."

The bills introduced this week are HB 5101, sponsored by Rep. John BIZON (R-Battle Creek); HB 5102 and HB 5103, by Rep. Steve MARINO (R-Mt. Clemens); HB 5104, by Rep. Edward CANFIELD (R-Sebewaing); HB 5105, by Rep. Michael WEBBER (R-Rochester Hills); HB 5106, by Rep. Brett ROBERTS (R-Charlotte); HB 5107, by Rep. Donna LASINSKI (D-Ann Arbor); HB 5108, by Frederick; HB 5109, by Rep. Robert WITTENBERG (D-Oak Park); HB 5110, by Rep. Jeff YAROCH (R-Richmond); and HB 5111, by Rep. Sherry GAY-DAGNOGO (D-Detroit).

Frederick said there may be a couple of additional bills to complete the package.

It remains unclear what kind of a reception the alternative package will get from House leadership. Both Leonard and Theis have said they are "laser focused" on passage of HB 5013. Theis has not said whether she will give a hearing in the Insurance Committee to the alternative bills.

"I tend to be an optimist," Frederick said. "The bills are a large package purposely. Members were encouraged to consider each bill individually on its own merits and each one is kind of distinct and a precise proposal. There is the option for leadership, if they wish, to have a number of ideas from which to draw and maybe open up negotiation. That is certainly not up to me and I'll respect that process as it moves forward."
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1st hour discussion today, Tuesday 10-17-17; MIRS News Service

Would A Crowded Field Help Or Hurt Schuette?

Based on polling conducted by MIRS and name I.D. Attorney General Bill SCHUETTE is the early frontrunner in the race for the 2018 Republican gubernatorial nomination. However, with the unprecedented 2016 presidential race still visible in the rear-view mirror, can perceived advantages allow anyone to feel comfortable anymore? Possibly facing a still dissatisfied, still rebellious GOP base, would Schuette be better off with just a single opponent to battle in the primary or would multiple opponents make his task easier?

Today, MIRS asked a panel of political pundits this question, as well as three others.

Q. Which would be a better scenario for Attorney General Bill Schuette: a GOP gubernatorial primary race in which he has just one opponent or a race in which he has three or four opponents?

“Schuette is better off in a multi-candidate primary that doesn't have him going one-on-one with an outsider with money,” Tom SHIELDS, of the Marketing Resource Group, said. “It will give him a chance to hone his message, build his organization and pour him a millionth cup of coffee.”

Jill ALPER of Alper Strategies said there can be pros and cons to either situation.

“It depends on who the opponents are, what their positioning and message is, and how much money they can raise - and how those factors intersect based on the combination of people who present themselves in relation to the composition of the electorate,” Alper said. “The characteristics of the field on both sides can also be a critical factor, given Michigan's open primary system.”

According to Dennis DARNOI, founder of Densar Consulting, more opponents means more slings and arrows aimed at the frontrunner.

“The risk of a multi-person primary for the Schuette campaign is the increased likelihood that an opponent's line of attack has resonance beyond the primary,” Darnoi said. “If you are the frontrunner, as Schuette is, and have only one primary opponent it's easier to run the campaign that you want voters to see. When you have to fend off attacks from multiple candidates on different topics, it becomes harder to shape the narrative and keep control over the campaign's message.”

Stephanie McLEAN of GMT Strategies said having multiple opponents in the primary would be a plus for Schuette.

“More opponents make it easier for him to capitalize on his name I.D.- splitting the vote,” McLean said.

Q. Do you expect Lt. Gov. Brian CALLEY to run for governor?

“No,” Apler said. “The powerful and extreme special interests have already circled the wagons for Schuette, whether it's Donald TRUMP, Betsy DeVOS or the big drug companies - so on and so on.”

Darnoi said Calley might decide to run but finding a path to victory might prove impossible.

“It is really difficult to see what `lane' Calley could occupy,” Darnoi said. “After more than a decade of continuous service in Lansing, the last eight as Gov Rick SNYDER's deputy, he can't claim with any credibility to be the anti-establishment candidate. The “Ted CRUZ” - a.k.a. `you may be a Republican but we still don't like you' - lane is safely occupied by Sen. Pat COLBECK (R-Canton). Conversely, Bill Schuette has a solid lock on the “John KASICH, Marco RUBIO, George W. BUSH” lane as well as securing the very early endorsement of President Trump. So, while Calley could attempt to carve out his own path to the nomination, it may be more to his benefit if he came to the same conclusion as the last Lt. Governor.

According to McLean, Calley will likely get into the race.

“I think he will run, although he hasn't gotten off to a great start,” McLean said.

Shields said if Calley remains consistent, he'll toss his hat in the race.

“He hasn't made a right decision yet, so I fully expect him to run,” Shields said.

Q. Realistically, is it too late for a formidable (and thus far unexpected) candidate to jump into either the Democratic or Republican gubernatorial races?

“If you have a candidate who is fully prepared to fund his or her own campaign, and maybe even buy an ad during the Super Bowl, then there is still time to upset the apple cart,” Darnoi said. “This year, that statement is more likely to be true on the Democratic side of the aisle. With less than a year before the gubernatorial primary, Republicans seem to be comfortable with the notion of Bill Schuette as the Republican nominee. Democrats, on the other hand, appear to be a little more unsettled and look likely to revisit the division of the last presidential primary. For Michigan Democrats, that type of discord leaves the door open for a repeat of their 1998 gubernatorial primary.”

McLean agreed

“No, it's not too late,” McLean said. “Remember Geoffrey FIEGER? He went on to win the nomination after a very late entry. “

According to Shields, there's plenty of time for a formidable candidate to jump in but the stars just may not be aligning that way.

“Though she is an unknown, Gretchen WHITMER has started to lock up the endorsements that are all-important in the Democrat primary,” Shields said.” It's getting too late for someone else unless Mike DUGGAN decides to jump in after the mayor's race in Detroit.”
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Will the Senate Majority Leader - Arlan Meekhof strip Sen. Rick Jones of his committee assignments too???? ...

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1st hour discussion today, Wednesday 10-11-17; MIRS News

Swing Vote Will Vote To Move Leonard-Duggan Bill Out Of Committee

The swing vote on the House Insurance Committee on the sweeping auto insurance reform bill, Rep. Curt VanderWALL (R-Ludington), said he supports moving Click to add MIRS Bill Hound HB 5013 out of committee as long as some details are addressed on the House floor.

VanderWall, the House Insurance Committee vice chair, has been targeted as the key undecided vote, but he told MIRS today that he's hearing from his constituents that insurance reform is needed and he's not going to stand in the way of that happening in committee (See "Whip Count Finds Out Where Insurance Committee Is On Auto Reform," 10/3/17).

Republicans caucused for several hours Tuesday morning at the Michigan Restaurant Association on the reform plan outlined by House Speaker Tom LEONARD (R-DeWitt), Rep. Lana THEIS (R-Brighton), and Detroit Mayor Mike DUGGAN (See "Next Stop On Auto Insurance Reform Is Republican Caucus," 10/9/17).

Theis did much of the talking during today's closed-door session, noting that if they proposal is changed substantially, the caucus would lose the insurance industry, according to one source. The Vander Wall's decision is critical in moving the bill out of committee. Democrats have a caucus position against creating options in the personal injury protection piece. Rep. Mike WEBBER (R-Rochester) is a no and Rep. Jim RUNESTAD (R-White Lake) is not expected to be a "yes."

MIRS has learned that today's meeting got the Republican caucus at between 40 and 45 "yes" votes. Apparently, there are a few Democratic votes, but not enough to get the 55 votes needed to pass the House.

Currently, no meeting of the Insurance Committee has been scheduled for this week.

Insurance agents are telling VanderWall that 40 percent of their auto customers either let their coverage go delinquent or let it lapse for a period of time before paying their bill.

"We either are going to get some type of real reform or we are going to implode the system. That is coming from as a direct quote from an insurance agent," VanderWall said today. "They know that if something doesn't happen, we are going to implode the system and it is going to be worse than it is now."

These comments come despite the fact insurance agents know they are going to lose a fair amount of money in lost lower commissions through the rate reductions included in Click to add MIRS Bill Hound HB 5013, he said.

"I will tell you that I want to make sure that I am a yes on this bill," said the freshman legislator.

Once on the floor, VanderWall has some concerns about ambulance services that he wants addressed. He wants added assurances that senior citizens are getting the promised rate rollback and that a proper fee structure is put in place for the hospitals.

"I just want to make sure that we cover all our bases . . .I think we are pretty close," VanderWall said.

Click to add MIRS Bill Hound HB 5013 would reform the state's auto insurance system to allow for three levels of personal injury protection (PIP) -- up to $250,000, up to $500,000 and unlimited. Seniors who are at least 62 years old and have lifetime health benefits would be allowed to option out of PIP coverage altogether.

Rates would have to drop 40 percent for the $250,000 option.

Currently, auto insurance companies pay for hospital services at amounts higher than is typical for health insurance providers. The bill includes a fee schedule for medical services.

VanderWall said he believes lawmakers are getting close to having the right fee schedule for hospital, which is especially a concern for small community hospitals.

"As we know, small town hospitals don't operate under the same fee structure that the larger ones do," he said. "When you are in a small community, such as mine, it becomes very critical that we don't cut them too far to the bone because if they don't survive, where do we go?"

Senate Majority Leader Arlan MEEKHOF (R-West Olive) told reporters today he's struggled with the idea of setting a fee schedule for hospitals when it comes to treating auto accident victims.

"I really struggle with the idea that we should tell independent businesses what to charge for their product," Meekhof said.

Should the bill get through the full House, VanderWall said he is unsure what will happen when it reaches the Senate.

"You know what, I haven't personally talked to the Senate Majority Leader. I know that he is feeling the same pressure that we are getting back in our districts that we need to something," he said. "Do I feel that bill will be the same? A lot of times they aren't when you've got a big one like this. But we need to put our best foot forward that we are doing the right thing for the people."
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2nd hour discussion today, Tuesday 10-10-17;

Next Step On Auto Insurance Reform Is Republican Caucus

The next step in building the support needed to get auto insurance reform passed is for House Speaker Tom LEONARD (R-DeWitt) to take it front of his House Republican caucus, according to the Speaker. The House Republican caucus is meeting off site Tuesday morning for a couple hours to go over the proposal.

"At this point, aside from myself and Rep. Lana THEIS (R-Brighton) and the dozen or so members that serve on the Insurance Committee, a lot of our members are not up to par on this issue and know exactly what this legislation does, so before it is voted out of committee, we want to caucus on this issue for a couple hours, answer any questions that they may have," Leonard said on the MIRS weekly podcast.

Leonard said he is still cautiously optimistic he can win passage.

"I've been very clear from the start. We are not going to get this done with just 55 Republicans. It is going to take a bipartisan effort. We are probably going to need 10 to 15 Democrats to help get this done and get it across the finish line. So I certainly want to give the mayor some time to work this issue," Leonard said.

Leonard and Theis teamed up with Detroit Mayor Mike DUGGAN to produce Click to add MIRS Bill Hound HB 5013. The key change it would make is to give drivers three levels of personal injury protection (PIP) -- up to $250,000, up to $500,000 and unlimited. Currently, drivers can only get the unlimited PIP coverage in Michigan, a point Leonard and Theis say has driven auto insurance rates in Michigan to the highest in the county. (See "Leonard-Duggan Lock Arms On Insurance Reform," 9/26/17).

Leonard said Duggan has been working hard to win over votes from Democrats.

"I've got some faith in him being able to deliver Democrat votes on this package of bills, but this is really the first big issues that I've worked with him on. He has been great to work with," he said. "We will see, at the end of the day, can he deliver the numbers that we need but so far he has done a great job building the coalition that I feel we need to get this done."

Leonard says the choice option is the key to making the reform work.

"At this point, the only way that we can insure a substantial and significant rollback is for there to be a PIP choice option, and that is what that $250,000 option does. It would reduce those PIP rates up to 40 percent and that's anywhere from 20 to 40 percent of the entire premium depending on how your rates are calculated," he said.

Meanwhile, Gov. Rick SNYDER is not giving any guidance to state lawmakers as they debate the auto insurance issue as lawmakers grapple with a myriad of plans before he gets involved.

"I want the legislative process to work," Snyder said when asked about his stance on giving motorists a choice on their personal injury protection (PIP).

"I'm not taking particular positions on specifics on no-fault protection now," said Snyder, adding that he is going to take a wait-and-see approach. He said he thinks it is important that consumers to be aware of the "consequences" of taking something other than unlimited catastrophic coverage, which is now provided to everyone.

"Drivers need to understand consequences of their actions. This is part of the education process and what that could mean," to everyone, he said.

Snyder said he thinks it is important for the public to express its feelings as the House continues its deliberations on both the Duggan-Leonard and CPAN packages.

"Let's get feedback from the public and base this on that feedback," he said.
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1st hour discussion today, Tuesday 10-10-17;

Warning from a U.S. Marshall about Antifa's plan to start a "civil war" on Saturday, November 4th, 2017.
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Share this WARNING from one of our brothers about Antifa's planned armed revolution which is to commence on November 4, 2017. Heed this warning and take steps to protect yourself.. SHARE THIS! -LT

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1st hour discussion today, Thursday 10-5-17;

Kuhnmuench: Rate Rollback Tough

He has not tossed out the concept of an auto insurance rate rollback, but industry lobbyist Pete KUHNMUENCH of the Insurance Alliance of Michigan (IAM) warned that without some major reforms in the system, "The rate rollback is going to be tough to reach."

The industry has not signed off on rate reductions for five years, instead warning lawmakers that, "It's a very serious issue in trying to meet those targets," proposed by House Speaker Tom LEONARD (R-DeWitt) and Detroit Mayor Mike DUGGAN (See "Leonard-Duggan Lock Arms On Insurance Reform," 9/26/17).

Kuhnmuench said that forecasting costs five years in advance is not a science. "Nobody can estimate the costs five years out" and he reported "we will work to modify the rate rollback."

He joined Senate Majority Leader Arlan MEEKHOF (R-West Olive) in calling the mandatory reduction "price fixing" (See "Leonard Makes Auto Insurance 'Rate Relief' A Priority," 9/6/17).

"No other industry is faced with this demand. We've relied on the free market to set prices," Kuhnmuench said.

That said, he said mandatory cuts can be addressed if there are slices in hospital costs and other reforms.

"We need to get to the overcharging on hospitals. We need people's choice in coverage," he said.

No, you don't, countered trial lawyer Steven SINAS from the Lansing Sinas law firm. He serves as legal council for the CPAN group and he told MIRS the Duggan-Leonard bill "slashes benefits for the citizens of Michigan. It takes away their legal rights and the insurance companies have all the power. It's completely the wrong approach to the no fault issue."

Sinas argued that cost reductions can be found, but the package now before the House Insurance committee favors insurers.

"It looks like it was completely drafted by the insurance industry," he said. "There's nothing but favors in it for the insurance companies."
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1st hour discussion today, Wednesday 10-4-17;

Whip Count Finds Out Where Insurance Committee Is On Auto Reform

All 17 members of the House Insurance Committee were "whipped" today on their stance on House Speaker Tom LEONARD (R-DeWitt) and Detroit Mayor Mike [DUGGAN]'s car insurance bill and five Republicans are solid "yes" votes, four short of those needed to pass.

Standing with Duggan and Leonard are Committee Chair Lana THEIS (R-Brighton) and Reps. Hank VAUPEL (R-Fowlerville), Joe BELLINO (R-Monroe), Michele HOITENGA (R-Manton) and Beau LAFAVE (R-Iron Mountain).

Most of the other Republican committee members were not committed one way or the other, basically saying they want to see what emerges from the hearing. On that list are Reps. Curt [VANDERWALL] (R-Ludington), Gary GLENN (R-Midland), Jim RUNESTAD (R-White Lake) and Jason WENTWORTH (R-Clare). Rep. Mike WEBBER (R-Rochester) was the only no vote.

Duggan is not getting much love on the Democratic side of the equation. Rep. Sherry GAY-DAGNOGO (D-Detroit) was a "hell no" when asked. Joining her were Rep. Phil PHELPS (D-Flushing), and Rep. Robert WITTENBERG (D-Oak Park). The undecided votes were Rep. Tim GREIMEL (D-Auburn Hills), Rep. Donna LASINSKI (D-Scio Twp.) and Rep. Abdullah HAMMOUD (D-Dearborn).

"The anticipated goal is to provide all Michigan drivers a savings," said Gay-Dagnogo. "I think it's kind of unfortunate to promote this as a cost savings for everyone and it's not."

Bellino, on the other hand, told MIRS, "I'm doing this for my father. He needs a break. He is 80 and why is he paying extra a month for insurance? Poor people need a break. Working middle class people need a break. This is not for the rich."

Duggan said, "You get an average of a 20 percent rate reduction on your bill. If you want to keep what you have, you can, but you don't get a reduction. You get a reduction if you chose the lower option . . . and for most people in Michigan it is going to be a major reduction in their auto insurance bill."

"This bill is being advertised as a way to save Michigan families a lot of money in the future and the cost containment issues are there for only five years. After that insurance companies can jack up their rates again and make off like bandits with high profits."
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3rd hour discussion today, Monday 10-2-17;

UNCONFIRMED report;

www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/las-vegas-isis-shooting-claims-stephen-paddock-responsi...
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Isis has claimed responsibility for the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history. Police said at least 50 people were killed and 200 wounded when a gunman opened fire on dense crowds at a concert in Las Vegas. Officials have identified the shooter as Stephen Paddock, a 64-year-old American...

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Call these companies and tell them you are going to boycott their products UNLESS they pull their commercials on any NFL Football Game,....TODAY!!!

I will be talking about this Boycott effort for my entire 3rd Hour TODAY, Monday 9-25-17 and Friday 9-29-17!!!

Here are their Corporate Office Phone Numbers;

PepsiCo 800-433-2562
Visa 800-847-2911
Campbell’s Soup 800-257-8443
FedEx 800-463-3339
Mars Snackfood 908-850-1753
Dairy Management Inc. 847-803-2000
Bridgestone Tire 904-779-8300
Procter & Gamble 513-983-1100
Verizon 212-395-1000
Barclays 212-526-7000
Papa John’s 513-737-3506
Castrol 888-227-8765
Anheuser-Busch 314-577-2000 or 800-342-5283 then press 1
USAA 800-531-8722
Bose 800-999-2673
Marriot 301-380-3000
Microsoft 813-281-3900
Lenovo 866-968-4465
SAP 610-661-1000
Zebra Technologies 846-634-6700
TD Ameritrade 800-237-8692
Extreme Networks 888-257-3000
Nationwide Insurance 800-882-2822
Hyundai 800-633-5151
Dannon 914-872-8400
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Call these companies and tell them you are going to boycott their products UNLESS they pull their commercials on any NFL Football Game,....TODAY!!! I will be talking about this Boycott effort for my entire 3rd Hour TODAY, Monday 9-25-17!!! Here are their Corporate Office Phone Numbers; PepsiCo 800-433-2562 Visa 800-847-2911 Campbell’s Soup 800-257-8443 FedEx 800-463-3339 Mars Snackfood 908-850-1753 Dairy Management Inc. 847-803-2000 Bridgestone Tire 904-779-8300 Procter & Gamble 513-983-1100 Verizon 212-395-1000 Barclays 212-526-7000 Papa John’s 513-737-3506 Castrol 888-227-8765 Anheuser-Busch 314-577-2000 USAA 800-531-8722 Bose 800-999-2673 Marriot 301-380-3000 Microsoft 813-281-3900 Lenovo 866-968-4465 SAP 610-661-1000 Zebra Technologies 846-634-6700 TD Ameritrade 800-237-8692 Extreme Networks 888-257-3000 Nationwide Insurance 800-882-2822 Hyundai 800-633-5151 Dannon 914-872-8400

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1st hour discussion today, Friday 9-29-17;

Yesterday, on the floor of the Michigan State Senate, Sen. Patrick Colbeck gave this speech;

www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=3&v=XJFVhny7yx8
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1st hour discussion today, Thursday 9-28-17;

Here's the video of the press conference in Lansing rolling out the No-Fault Auto Insurance reform bill;

www.facebook.com/ProtectNoFault/videos/10159352983700052/
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Live at Mayor Duggan and Speaker of the House Tom Leonard’s Auto No-Fault Reform press conference

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Call these companies and tell them you are going to boycott their products UNLESS they pull their commercials on any NFL Football Game,....TODAY!!!

I will be talking about this Boycott effort for my entire 3rd Hour TODAY, Monday 9-25-17!!!

Here are their Corporate Office Phone Numbers;

PepsiCo 800-433-2562
Visa 800-847-2911
Campbell’s Soup 800-257-8443
FedEx 800-463-3339
Mars Snackfood 908-850-1753
Dairy Management Inc. 847-803-2000
Bridgestone Tire 904-779-8300
Procter & Gamble 513-983-1100
Verizon 212-395-1000
Barclays 212-526-7000
Papa John’s 513-737-3506
Castrol 888-227-8765
Anheuser-Busch 314-577-2000
USAA 800-531-8722
Bose 800-999-2673
Marriot 301-380-3000
Microsoft 813-281-3900
Lenovo 866-968-4465
SAP 610-661-1000
Zebra Technologies 846-634-6700
TD Ameritrade 800-237-8692
Extreme Networks 888-257-3000
Nationwide Insurance 800-882-2822
Hyundai 800-633-5151
Dannon 914-872-8400
...

Call these companies and tell them you are going to boycott their products UNLESS they pull their commercials on any NFL Football Game,....TODAY!!! I will be talking about this Boycott effort for my entire 3rd Hour TODAY, Monday 9-25-17!!! Here are their Corporate Office Phone Numbers; PepsiCo 800-433-2562 Visa 800-847-2911 Campbell’s Soup 800-257-8443 FedEx 800-463-3339 Mars Snackfood 908-850-1753 Dairy Management Inc. 847-803-2000 Bridgestone Tire 904-779-8300 Procter & Gamble 513-983-1100 Verizon 212-395-1000 Barclays 212-526-7000 Papa John’s 513-737-3506 Castrol 888-227-8765 Anheuser-Busch 314-577-2000 USAA 800-531-8722 Bose 800-999-2673 Marriot 301-380-3000 Microsoft 813-281-3900 Lenovo 866-968-4465 SAP 610-661-1000 Zebra Technologies 846-634-6700 TD Ameritrade 800-237-8692 Extreme Networks 888-257-3000 Nationwide Insurance 800-882-2822 Hyundai 800-633-5151 Dannon 914-872-8400

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2nd hour discussion today, Monday 9-25-17;

The House will drop their proposed plan to reform Michigan's No-Fault Auto Insurance, tomorrow in Lansing!!!
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1st hour discussion today, Monday 9-25-17, was a field report about the 32nd Bi-Annual Michigan Republican Party's Leadership Conference this past weekend;

MIRS News Service conducted a straw poll of those attending and here are the results;

Schuette, Young Top Picks Among GOP Activists

(MACKINAC ISLAND) -- Over the course of the last two days, just shy of 700 Michigan Republicans cast their ballots in the MIRS-Crain's Detroit Business 2017 Michigan Republican Party Mackinac Leadership Conference Straw Poll.

The results have been tallied and conference attendees have made their picks. As expected, Attorney General Bill SCHUETTE took the top spot for most votes among four possible gubernatorial candidates, earning 56.09 percent of the vote. Former Michigan Supreme Court Chief Justice Bob YOUNG earned the most votes for the U.S. Senate Republican nomination with 35.83 percent.

Perhaps the biggest surprise was how close the battle for the No. 2 spot among gubernatorial nominee possibilities ended up. Lt. Gov. Brian CALLEY prevailed in the end with 23.35 percent, but Sen. Patrick COLBECK (R-Canton) made a spirited run, earning 18.36 percent.

Coming in second in the U.S. Senate balloting was businessman John JAMES with 26.99 percent, followed closely by U.S. Rep. Fred UPTON (R-St. Joseph) with 25.04 percent. James is an announced candidate while Upton is not. Kid ROCK, also not an official candidate, received 10.79 percent.

In the race for the GOP floor nod for Attorney General, Speaker Tom LEONARD (R-DeWitt) earned the highest percentage of votes (63.5 percent) against Sen. Tonya SCHUITMAKER (R-Lawton), who garnered 36.5 percent.

With a billboard on Interstate 75, literally three vendor tables, and hundreds and hundreds of shirts on the island, it was little surprise that Shelby Township Clerk Stan GROT garnered the most support for the GOP's Secretary of State slot with 48.08 percent of the vote. In second place was Eastern Michigan University trustee Mary TREDER LANG with 21.31 percent.

On the question of who they'd like to see considered for Lt. Governor, by the eventual GOP gubernatorial nominee, Schuitmaker took the top honors among a number of contenders with 22.73 percent.

She was followed closely by House Appropriations Chair Laura COX (R-Livonia) with 20.43 percent (Publishers Note: On the LG results, there was a discrepancy between the paper and electronic ballot. The electronic version listed Ronna Romney McDANIEL while the paper ballots did not. We apologize for this oversight).

On the ballot proposals, the biggest surprise was the lack of support among conference attendees of Calley's Clean Michigan Government ballot proposal to make the state's Legislature a part-time institution that would have to complete its work by April 15 of every year.

When asked about that concept, 59.01 percent said they are opposed to the ballot proposal while 40.99 percent are ready to go that route.

Below is a break out of the complete results:

Gubernatorial Primary
Bill Schuette - 56.09 percent
Brian Calley - 23.35 percent
Patrick Colbeck - 18.36 percent
Dr. Jim Hines - 2.2 percent

U.S. Senate
Robert Young - 35.83 percent
John James - 26.99 percent
Sandy Pensler - 1.2 percent
Bob Carr - 0.15 percent

Attorney General
Tonya Schuitmaker - 36.5 percent
Tom Leonard - 63.5 percent

Secretary of State
Joseph Guzman - 10.74 percent
Mary Treder Lang - 21.31 percent
Mike Senyko - 5.77 percent
Stan Grot - 48.08 percent
Judy Emmons - 14.10 percent

Lt. Governor
Laura Cox - 20.43 percent
Lena Epstein - 9.56 percent
Margaret O'Brien - 12.19 percent
Tonya Schuitmaker - 22.73 percent
Dave Hildenbrand - 9.39 percent
Jase Bolger - 8.9 percent
John James 6.43 percent
Ronna Romney McDaniel - 10.38 percent

Clean Michigan Government Part Time Legislature
Yes - 40.99 percent
No - 59.01 percent

Legalizing marijuana for recreational use
Yes - 31.7 percent
No - 68.3 percent

Repealing prevailing wage
Yes - 72.45 percent
No - 27.55 percent

Voters Not Politicians redistricting reform
Yes - 24.68 percent
No - 75.32 percent

Paid sick leave requirement
Yes - 23.55 percent
No - 76.45 percent

Shutting down Enbridge Line 5 under the Straits
Yes - 22.24 percent
No - 77.76 percent

$12 minimum wage by 2022
Yes - 14.46 percent
No - 85.54 percent
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2nd hour discussion today, Thursday 9-21-17;

From MIRS News Service;

Will the Real Fred Upton Please Stand Up?

Another source told MIRS today that U.S. Rep. Fred UPTON (R-St. Joseph) will get into the U.S. Senate race next year and if that's the case, a former Democratic Party chair wants to know "Who is he?"

The Congressman's former aide of 10 years, Sen. John PROOS (R-St. Joseph), answered, "Fred has a track record in southwest Michigan of getting things done."

To that, former Chair Mark BREWER responded, "He has taken his elections for granted and not done much for Michigan."

On top of that, Brewer wonders what Upton will do about the President Donald TRUMP/Attorney General Bill SCHUETTE wing of the state GOP?

"He's been supporting the Trump agenda for the last eight months and he has not distanced himself from Bill Schuette. Who is Fred Upton?"

An inside source who revealed that Mr. Upton is "90% there" in deciding to run, described him as "neither Donald Trump or Bill Schuette" (See "Upton Moving Closer To U.S. Senate Race," 9/18/17).

But in a conservative Republican primary, will that help or hurt the would-be contender?

Proos was asked if the congressman was a Tea Party kind of guy?

"He doesn't need to be a Tea Party voice," he responded.

Reminded that Tea Party voters may have the power to pick primary winners, the Senator reflected, "That may well be the case, but in order to get things done you need somebody who can work across the aisle . . . he knows all the right people in all the right places and he's well respected on both sides of the aisle."

The Upton team is reporting from the field that folks are urging their boss to run. They are allegedly "sick" of incumbent U.S. Sen. Debbie STABENOW (D-Delta Twp.). Brewer's comeback is, "Upton is talking to his fellow Republicans and obviously he's not talking to the folks that Debbie Stabenow goes to bat for every day."

Brewer claims that Upton "will have to make some tough choices" on whom he aligns with from the Trump and/or Schuette camps, if he does at all.

Ingham County Republican leader Norm SHINKLE said he believes there is no choice.

"Trump is doing the right things and Republicans need to get behind him and if Fred Upton does that, than he's qualified in that regard." By the way, Shinkle described Upton as "knowledgeable and effective," but the former state senator will stick with his "good friend" Bob YOUNG, who is seeking the GOP U.S. Senate nomination.

"I would never do anything to hurt Bob Young," Shinkle said.

Proos was asked about the Trump "X" factor in future elections regarding the impact on candidates and he concludes, "We're still seeing what shakes out (but in the end), it's about getting things done . . . he understands the levers" referring to his former boss.

Engler, Meekhof Support Young For U.S. Senate
U.S. Senate candidate Bob YOUNG today announced a series of endorsements that include former Gov. John ENGLER and two former colleagues from the bench -- former Chief Justices Clifford TAYLOR and Maura CORRIGAN.

Young is also boasting the support of Senate Majority Leader Arlan MEEKHOF (R-West Olive), four other state senators and 10 Republican House members. Around 20 other local elected officials and local party officials also allegedly signed in support of Young.
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2nd hour discussion today, Wednesday 9-20-17;

From MIRS News Service;

Coalition Of House Lawmakers Unveil Auto Insurance Reform

Fifteen House members today unveiled their auto insurance reform plan, a package called the “Fair and Affordable No-Fault Reform Package" that they claim will reduce auto insurance rates 20 to 30 percent without reducing benefits.

"Michigan's auto insurance system is among the very best in the world when it comes to providing coverage to auto accident victims," said Rep. Ben FREDERICK (R-Owosso) at the press conference today. "If you are injured in an auto accident in Michigan and you have insurance, you are covered for as long as that injury exists. This is especially important for those who suffer from traumatic brain injury and other catastrophic injuries in a car accident. A benefit like this deserves to be preserved even as the overall system is reformed."

Currently being drafted, Frederick said the package, which currently consists of 12 bills, is expected to submitted in the next week or two.

"We believe that by addressing fraud prevention, including fee schedules, coordinating policies with health insurance, reforming non-driving factors and by making sure that we are putting reasonable regulations in place for home health care, that we can guarantee a rate reduction of 20 to 30 percent for Michigan drivers without reducing benefits," said Rep. Tim GREIMEL (D-Auburn Hills).

Unveiling the package were Frederick and Greimel, as well as Reps. Donna LASINSKI (D-Scio Township), Joe GRAVES (R-Argentine Township), Sherry GAY-DAGNOGO (D-Detroit), Michael WEBBER (R-Rochester), Edward CANFIELD (R-Sebewaing), Steve MARINO (R-Mt. Clemens), Robert WITTENBERG (D-Oak Park), Jeff YAROCH (R-Richmond), John BIZON (R-Battle Creek), Peter LUCIDO (R-Shelby Twp.), Patrick GREEN (D-Warren), Daire RENDON (R-Lake City) and Abdullah HAMMOUD (D-Dearborn).

The press conference was held in the Lansing Center in conjunction with the Brain Injury Association of Michigan's annual fall conference. A crowd of about 200 people gathered for the press conference. The association's president and CEO Tom CONSTAND joined lawmakers for the press conference to speak in support of the bills. He said his organization supported the bills to preserve the lifetime benefits contained in no-fault. Initially, the association had been opposed to the adoption of a fee schedule, but ended up conceding for the larger good.

"Everybody should give a little to get something this big done. That's my hope," Frederick said.

The Coalition Protecting Auto No-Fault issued a statement in support.

“While we have not yet seen the final bills, this is the closest we have seen to a complete no-fault reform package in a long, long time,” said CPAN President John CORNACK. “The proposals unveiled today would bring dramatic and lasting improvements to Michigan's insurance system that all sides would benefit from. Whether you are a driver, an accident survivor, a health care provider or even an insurance company, there is something to like in this package.”

House Speaker Tom LEONARD (R-Dewitt) was not a part of the package. He's been working on his own version of auto insurance reform with Detroit Mayor Mike DUGGAN. But he said he was glad to see the group bring forward proposals to get the process of insurance reform started.

Canfield explained the fee schedule will tie reimbursement for treatment and services to 185 percent of workman's compensation, but it will also require prompt payment and electronic billing.

"This will provide fair reimbursement for the care and service for individuals who have been in catastrophic accidents while also reasonably compensating those who provide that care," Canfield said.

Lasinski said her bill will coordinate auto insurance coverage and health care coverage, which is duplicative and ends up straining family budgets. By streamlining the claims, she said the cost of care can be limited.

Gay-Dagnogo said her piece of the package will end the practice of insurance companies setting rates based on factors unrelated to driving. A recent study indicated insurance companies charge higher rates to women. (See "DIFS Reviewing Claim That Insurers Charging Widows, Single Women More," 5/18/17).

"Are you working, a blue-collar worker? You pay more," Gay-Dagnogo said in the most impassioned speech of the gathering. "Have you been in tough financial situation and have a poor credit score? You're paying more. Do you live on the wrong side of Eight Mile? You're paying more. Has your spouse recently passed? God forbid, you're paying more. Are you a woman? You're paying more. Not a single one of these things have a thing to do with how good a driver you are or how expensive your vehicle is to fix, so why should insurance companies be allowed to lack transparency and charge us more? These discriminatory practices have to stop and that is exactly what the Fair and Affordable No-Fault Reform package is going to do."

Webber said his bill will add transparency to how fees are set.

"Our insurance system can't truly be fair and affordable unless it also transparent," he said. "The Michigan Catastrophic Claims Association (MCCA) is the backbone of our auto insurance system and the guaranteed lifetime coverage provided to accident victims. It is responsible for reimbursing auto insurance companies for medical claims that exceed $555,000. The MCCA holds roughly $20 billion in assets to cover about 16,000 full-benefit claims. It currently assesses every auto insurance policy in this state a $170 fee to fund its operations. This organization was created by the state Legislature yet it is controlled entirely by insurance companies. We have no idea how they determine the annual surcharge."

He said his bill will make rate-setting data subject to the Freedom of Information Act and MCCA board meetings subject to the Open Meetings Act.

Greimel contended the package also must correct several bad court rulings. (See "Hospitals Can't Pursue Insurers For Treatment Costs, Supremes Rule," 5/25/17).

"The court ruled in such a way that insurance companies are using that opinion to deny paying no-fault benefits, legitimate expenses, needed by auto accident victims like handicapped, disabled accessible transportation and even food. We can't say that we are making no-fault fairer for Michigan drivers without addressing these shortcomings. And this package will put an end to this kind of miscarriage of justice."

Responding to today's development, House Insurance Committee Chair Lana THEIS (R-Brighton) said she was "encouraged" her House colleagues are taking action on the state's high auto insurance rates, but fears that parts of the package will add costs to the system.

"I look forward to working with all of my colleagues on reforms to address major cost drivers like a fee schedule, choice and fraud, along with other areas of our auto no-fault law," Theis said. "From the beginning my mission has been to ensure Michigan drivers get relief by reducing their insurance premiums; and to hear my colleagues agree with this principle is encouraging.”
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3rd hour discussion today, Tuesday 9-19-17;

Former Republican National Committeeman and State Rep. - Dave Agema called in to say that President Trump's speech today at the U.N. in New York, will go down in history as the best speech ever given by a U.S. President to the U.N.,..."EPIC"!!!

See it at this link;

www.youtube.com/watch?v=Aasfc2Ywppk
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