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Auto insurance changes coming July 1

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Michigan drivers are a few weeks away from saving money on their car insurance. The historic auto no-fault law enacted a year ago is set to take effect on July 1.

Michigan law currently requires auto insurance policyholders to carry personal injury protection (PIP), which covers medical costs if a driver is in an auto accident. On July 1, Michigan drivers will finally be able to choose from a variety of new coverage levels to get a policy that best meets their needs and budget.

Each PIP level represents the maximum amount a policy will pay per person per auto accident. Senior citizens who are on Medicare and drivers whose health insurance plans include coverage for car accident injuries will now be able choose to opt out of PIP medical coverage on their auto insurance.

The opt-out option and the current unlimited coverage are two of five PIP coverage levels, which also include $500,000, $250,000 for drivers with qualifying health insurance coverage, and $50,000 for those on Medicaid.

All auto insurance companies doing business in the state must also reduce the cost of each PIP level for at least eight years. Drivers choosing to opt out will not pay a PIP medical premium, and the required savings for the other options range from 10% to 45% per vehicle.

The Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services (DIFS) recently announced that the average statewide PIP medical savings under the state’s new auto insurance law will exceed the law’s requirements. Compared to the average rates on May 1, 2019, this year’s average statewide reduction for the unlimited plan is 15.5% per vehicle; 30.6% for the $500,000 plan; 41.8% for the $250,000 plan; and 53.5% for the $50,000 plan.

For more information on Michigan’s new auto insurance law, including a list of insurance agents, visit, email [email protected], or call 833-ASK-DIFS.

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Senate approves resolution protecting electronic data

Privacy is a core essential value embraced in our U.S. Constitution and echoed in our Michigan Constitution, recognizing that citizens in a republic require privacy in their ”persons, houses, papers and effects.” Today, most of our papers are in electronic form, but they are no less sensitive and have the right to be protected.

That’s why my colleagues and I in the Senate unanimously supported Senate Joint Resolution G, which would clearly define in the Michigan Constitution that electronic data and communications are property and are exempt from search and seizure without a warrant.

SJR G now heads to the House of Representatives for consideration. If the House approves the resolution by a two-thirds margin, it will be placed on the next statewide general election ballot.

First West Nile virus activity of 2020 detected in Michigan

As the weather warms up and Michiganders are spending more time outdoors, residents are reminded that the best way to protect themselves against West Nile virus (WNV) and other mosquito-borne illnesses, including eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) is to prevent mosquito bites.

The first WNV activity for 2020 has been reported in a captive hawk in Lapeer County. Although WNV is common in Michigan, in 2019 the state experienced the worst outbreak of EEE virus ever recorded. To date, there has not been EEE detected in Michigan. However, this virus is typically detected later in the summer.

WNV and EEE are transmitted through the bite of a mosquito that has picked up the virus by feeding on an infected bird. Most people who contract the virus have no symptoms of illness, but some may become ill three to 15 days after being bitten. The best way to prevent West Nile disease or any other mosquito-borne illness is to reduce the number of mosquitos around your home and to take personal precautions to avoid mosquito bites.

For a full list of precautions and information about the current WNV and EEE activity in Michigan, visit

Tips for fire safety

Summer in outdoor Michigan means family campfires and cookouts, especially as our state parks and campgrounds start to reopen. Yet it’s also a key time for wildfires.

To ensure fire safety, the DNR reminds campers and other outdoor enthusiasts to never leave a fire unattended; always keep a shovel, metal bucket and water source nearby; build a fire in a fire ring; and douse the fire thoroughly with water, repeating until cool, when the fire is finished. More information is available on the DNR’s fire safety page at; click on Fire Safety.

Senate begins committee hearings on Midland-area dam failures

The breach of the Edenville Dam, subsequent failure of the Sanford Dam and the extreme flooding that resulted from both brought destruction and misery to the communities of Edenville, Sanford, Midland, Saginaw and surrounding areas. Many people have lost their homes and livelihoods to this disaster, and we must understand what led to these tragic events.

Last week, a joint hearing of the Senate’s Environmental Quality and Energy and Technology committees heard testimony from the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) Director Liesl Clark regarding the recent failures of the Edenville and Sanford dams in mid-Michigan.

The joint committee hearing looking into this disaster was only the first of more such hearings to come. The people affected by these tragic floods deserve answers, and we will continue to work with EGLE and others to find out what happened and what needs to be done to prevent this from happening again.


Michigan's 14th Senate District

In Genesee County, the 14th Senate District includes the cities of Davison, Fenton and Grand Blanc as well as Atlas, Davison, Grand Blanc and Mundy townships.

In Oakland County, the district includes the cities of Fenton and Lake Angelus as well as Brandon, Groveland, Highland, Holly, Rose, Springfield and Waterford townships.

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Thank you for subscribing to my electronic newsletter! I am honored to represent you in the state Senate. As always, please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or concerns. Please feel free to forward this on to others who may be interested in receiving the 14th District E-news. You may sign up for it also at my website.

Senator Ruth Johnson
7300 Connie B. Binsfeld Office Building
P.O. Box 30036
Lansing, MI 48909-7536

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