A candidate looking to challenge a local legislator for a Senate seat is calling her to hold hearings on a new set of bills to reform auto insurance rates in Michigan.

Adam Dreher is the only announced Democrat running for the 22nd Direct State Senate seat, and State Representative Lana Theis of Brighton Township as announced she will run for the GOP nomination. Theis, who chairs the House Insurance Committee, fast tracked a package of bills she sponsored that ultimately failed after hours of behind-the-scenes arm twisting and an extensive floor debate.

The GOP-controlled House voted 45-63 against the legislation, ten votes short. Under that plan, Michigan drivers would no longer have been required to buy unlimited medical insurance benefits to cover their injuries in case they were seriously injured in a crash.

A separate bipartisan coalition of 15 lawmakers previously announced a different auto insurance reform plan to bring down auto insurance rates. That proposal would not change the unlimited lifetime medical benefits provided for those involved in catastrophic car crashes but would establish a fee schedule regarding reimbursement rates. Other aspects include creating a fraud authority and limiting factors auto insurers can use to set rates.

Dreher says those bills have been bottled up in the House Insurance Committee and deserve a hearing but so far Theis hasn’t scheduled one, which he alleges is because they don’t increase profits for insurance companies – further stating Theis and her husband have accepted more than $100,000 in contributions from the insurance industry in less than two years.

Theis has responded to say that her number one priority in Lansing is lowering auto insurance rates for families across the state of Michigan and she cannot support legislation she knows would result in higher premiums for the residents of Livingston and Washtenaw counties. Theis says her opponent is speaking the same propaganda as the trial attorneys and organizations that profit from the no-fault system at the expense of drivers, adding it’s unfortunate that he has chosen to parrot their talking points rather than support real reform that would benefit citizens.

The full response issued by Theis and the press release from Dreher are attached. (JM)