It has been an honor to serve as state representative for the 42nd district. I am proud of the work I have done in Lansing fighting to shrink the size of government, voting against tax increases on the hard working residents of Michigan and working on legislation which will help to reduce the impact our government has on the day to day lives of our residents.
Occupational Licensing Reform: A bill which would eliminate the need for occupational licensing in the state of Michigan unless a specific case for the health or safety of the public can be made.
House Bill 4238: A bill to amend the veterans property tax exemption law to ensure the un-remarried surviving spouse of someone who is killed in action qualifies for the exemption.
House Bill 4535 (PA 6 of 2016): A bill which allows currently employed MCOLES certified law enforcement officers to use their MCOLES number in place of a CPL number when purchasing a pistol, eliminating the need for them to first obtain a purchase permit.
House Bill 4661 (PA 98 of 2016): Part of a package of bills which updates the state's insurance code in relationship to reporting requirements, helping to reduce the cost for businesses to comply with the reporting requirements.
House Bill 5514 (PA 558 of 2016) : A bill to update the mortality tables used in certain life insurance policies and annuities.
House Bill 5020 (PA 155 of 2016): Part of a package of bills (House Bills 5017-5022), which updates the laws and regulations regarding Michigan's Credit Unions.
House Bill 5342 (PA 209 of 2016): Part of a package of bills (House Bills 5332-5348), which amends state law to create a definition of the term "veteran" for purposes of all the state laws relative to veterans.
House Bill 5514 (PA 558 of 2016): A bill to update the mortality tables used in certain life insurance policies and annuities.
House Resolution 269: A resolution to declare April 23-30, 2016 as Smart Money Week in the state of Michigan.
House Bill 5530-5532 of 2018: A package of bills to amend the school code and the penal code to protect minors who are victims of criminal sexual conduct; and mandate suspension or expulsion of a student who commits criminal sexual conduct against another pupil attending the same district.
House Bill 5013 of 2017: A bill to amend Michigan's auto no-fault insurance laws and require a mandatory five year rate reduction for Michigan drivers.
Throughout the campaign many people have asked where I stand on specific issues. Below is a summary of my thoughts on some of the important issues that impact Michigan's residents and businesses on a daily basis.
AUTO NO-FAULT INSURANCE
Michigan has some of the highest auto insurance rates in the country. It is not uncommon for drivers in Detroit to pay more than $4,000-$7,000 each year for auto insurance in a city with a median household income of only about $25,000. Driving without auto insurance is a crime which can lead to civil fines, license suspension, and can snowball into jail time. Yet 25% of Michigan drivers and 50% of Detroit drivers drive without insurance because they cannot afford the minimum coverage. One of the top three issues I hear from the residences of Livingston and Washtenaw counties is the outrageous cost of their auto insurance premiums. Finding ways to lower insurance premiums is an issue which affects every driver in Michigan and is my top priority.
Under legislation I sponsored, Michigan drivers would have been able to choose between three various levels of personal injury protection benefits. The first option would have been an unlimited option -- the same benefit we all are mandated to have today. Consumers who choose to keep unlimited, lifetime medical coverage would have been able to do so for 10% less than they pay today. The second option would have been $500,00 per occurrence worth of personal injury protection benefits. Under this option, drivers would have saved 20% off the medical portion of their auto insurance. The final option was $250,000 per occurrence. Drivers who purchased this option would have saved 40% off the medical portion of their bill.
Michigan is the only state in the nation that prohibits a driver from having a choice in how much medical benefits they purchase through their auto insurance. I believe that Michigan residents are smart enough to make the decision that is right for them and their families. Less than 0.01 percent of drivers in Michigan will ever need to use unlimited, lifetime medical coverage as the result of a catastrophic auto accident; however, we mandate 100% of drivers purchase those benefits. Even under Obamacare, Democrats did not mandate every individual purchase the highest coverage option and even they gave consumers a tiered level of choice. Why? They know the cost of unlimited, lifetime medical benefits is unafforable for the average family.
The legislation would have also enacted a fee schedule for hospitals and health providers to reign in out of control medical costs, limited family provided attendant care, and help fight insurance fraud.
Unless we reform or repeal Michigan's auto no-fault law premiums will continue to rise; and more drivers across Michigan will decide to drive illegally.
THE MICHIGAN CATASTROPHIC CLAIMS ASSOCIATION (MCCA)
Those who oppose auto no-fault reforms have worked hard to make Michigan drivers believe the MCCA is hiding money and is not "transparent". To help address the transparency within the MCCA, I would encourage you to visit the MCCA's website and read their 2017 Annual report which you can find here. On page 2, you can see the MCCA has a total of $19.2 billion in assets and you can also see a list of every single investment the fund owns, when the investment was purchased, when the investment will mature, how much they purchased the investment for, and how much the investment is predicted to mature for. You will also find information such as how much the Board of Directors make ($0), information on how they calculate their rate of return for investment purposes, and how they calculate their annual assessment. In also includes salary information for the employees within the MCCA, their retirement benefits, and various claims information.
In addition to their annual statements, independent auditors (Plante Moran) conduct an audit of the fund which you can read here; and the Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services also conducts an audit of the fund, which you can find here.
Regulations should be few, simple, predictable and fairly applied. In Michigan, the law few years have resulted in fewer state level regulations, and this trend needs to continue. The massive and complex body of regulations infringe on our property rights almost daily. From local ordinances to state and federal laws, we are told what to do and how to do it. I have seen firsthand what this looks like when it is applied. Small business are the lifeblood of Michigan's economy. Regulations add a huge percentage to the baseline costs of any small business. These burdensome regulations do very little to solve the problems they were invented for. Worse, they impede economic growth. The free market guides economic decisions much better than any central planning of a government ever could, and the resulting regulations harm the small business owners more than any other. The best thing government can do for an economy is to set the framework and get out of the way.
State taxes are high enough already! The government receives more than enough money to do the job it was tasked with under the Michigan Constitution. We do not need higher taxes, we need smarter spending! We should not be creating tax policies which takes money away from businesses only to give it back to other businesses we arbitrarily deem more deserving. Rather than take your hard-earned money away for the state to use on their favorite projects, the legislature best serves our economy and your budget when we leave your money in your hands. In 2000, the state budget was about 38 billion dollars. In 2014 the state's budget was 49 billion dollars - nearly a 30 percent increase. How many of us are making 30 percent more now than we did in 2000? With a 30 percent increase in revenues much of that money should be applied to our roads and infrastructure.
Our roads and infrastructure should continue to be one of our top priorities. I firmly believe our government has three top priorities. 1) Transportation and Infrastructure; 2) Public Safety; and 3) Public Education. In early 2015 the Michigan Legislature passed a package of bills to provide a massive influx on monies into our budget to be spent directly repairing Michigan's crumbling roads and bridges. I voted no on all portions of the package which contained tax increases because I believe we already had the monies necessary to fix our roads if we prioritized our current budget. Michigan consumers pay a wholesale tax at the pump on gas that is directly to transportation funding. Not all of that tax monies are currently directed to road maintenance and repair, but it should be. In addition to the increased dollars being spent on repairing our roads we also need to ensure we are looking at ways to ensure our roads are built to a high standard, we use better materials and we require and enforce warranties.
A good, strong education best prepares our children for success as adults. Parents should have the right to educate their children as they see fit, whether that is home school, public school or private school. Michigan's leaders have made some great decisions in allowing more choice in education, but again, state and federal regulations tie the hands of our teachers so much so that it has become difficult for our teachers to teach to the specific needs of their students. Because I am supportive of allowing our teachers the opportunity to use their expertise to educate using the most effective learning style of each child, and allowing parents to choose their methods of education -- I oppose a top-down directive on education methods and content like Common Core. Innovation, competition and flexibility should be available to our parents and our educators in order to give our students the best opportunity to learn.
Life begins at conception. It is the proper role of government to protect life and that is how I approach all life-related legislation. Abortion is allowed under federal law but the conditions surrounding it are determined by each state individually. The implications of this decision will affect the mother for the rest of her life and is a life or death decision for the child. Mothers should have a complete understanding of the issue as well as the threats to they health - both physical and psychological - when life decisions are made.
Government should be held accountable for the action it takes. You can follow my legislative updates by following my "Capitol Report" page. I believe in reading and understanding the legislation before I vote on it, regardless of where it originated. We may not always agree, but I will always explain the reason I voted the way I did. Our US Constitution is an amazing document and should be upheld, not updated via judicial activism. I believe our State Constitution is a well thought out document which has been modified - for both good and bad - since its inception in 1963. I firmly believe our state constitution should not be changed except in the most important and necessary instance; and should only be changed by using the correct system and not through judicial activism.
Government should be open to the people it represents. We should be able to see where our taxpayer dollars are being spent. Not only is the right thing to do because the hard working taxpayers of Michigan are funding our government, but it creates the opportunity for someone with more expertise to speak on an issue. In 2007 with the encouragement of activists like myself and some of the board members, the Brighton Township Board put their checkbook online. We were the first local government in Michigan and one of the first local governments in the country to require their spending be transparent. I am proud to continue this tradition of transparency as a state representative and you can find my detailed office spending here.
Michigan has some of the highest energy costs in the country, unnecessarily. There is no reason for our energy to be more expensive than our neighboring states. Our abundant natural resources allow us to harvest them and to use them for the good of Michigan's residents. Inexpensive energy allows us to heat our homes, drive to and from work and to power our economy so we can spend our money on other things. The state should remove its burdensome regulations to allow more energy to reach our homes for less. All types of energy resources should be encouraged. Regulations on our energy developers are prohibiting coal fired plants from being developed or updated resulting in higher energy costs for all of us and a less clean environment. Clean, efficient and inexpensive energy opportunities should be made available to our residents as soon as possible. The 10 percent renewable mandate imposed during the Granholm administration should be repealed allowing the energy companies to use the most efficient, safe and inexpensive means to deliver the energy we need.
The defense of the Second Amendment is essential to our way of life. The price of liberty is constant vigilance. Our Founding Fathers knew this and knew the only way to ensure our liberty as to be able to back it up with force, if necessary. Our Second Amendment states: "A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." Michigan citizens, like all American citizens, have this fundamental right as well as a duty to protect themselves and their families should the need arise. Michigan's Concealed Pistol Law (CPL) is a great example of a way we can assert our second amendment right. Citizens of Michigan have the right to carry arms and protect themselves, their families and their property. Our law enforcement officers cannot be everywhere all the time. I will work to ensure our second amendment rights are protected and promoted!
According to the US Constitution all powers not expressly given to the federal government are given to the states or to the people. Washington DC - and often times Lansing - have demonstrated they have forgotten that responsibility. Any matters which can be retained by the states or the people should be. The people of Michigan should not give up their rights to an overreaching government. I will work to ensure Michigan is assertive when Washington DC chooses to overreach its authority.
FAITH AND FAMILY
Faith is a fundamental part of who I am. My decisions are made from a Judaeo-Christian perspective, while understanding and respecting the liberty offered by our Founders and God himself to choose your own religious path. I am dedicated to my husband and our children; and I am so grateful for the gift of them!
Only American Law should be precedent setting in American courts. Recent court activities in other states have placed this topic in the forefront throughout recent years. Activist judges have looked to the laws of other countries as guiding law for American courts. Legislation directing Michigan's judiciary to only review American law as precedent setting should be supported.