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The week in review: lowering auto insurance, drug testing the poor, immigration protests

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

This week in review, Rina Miller and Jack Lessenberry discuss the possible plan to lower auto insurance rates in the state, a bill to require drug tests for welfare recipients, and the arrests made at the University of Michigan overimmigration protests.

Plan to lower auto insurance in Michigan

Unlimited, lifetime coverage for medical expenses tied to auto accidents in Michigan could be a thing of the past.

A new plan proposed by Governor Rick Snyder would cap those medical expenses to $1 million. The governor’s plan would also require auto insurance companies to lower their rates by $125 for the first year.

Governor Snyder says Michigan’s auto insurance rates are the most expensive in the Midwest and one of the highest in the country.

Bill to drug test those on welfare

There’s a proposed billin Lansing that would require drug tests for welfare recipients.

Lessenberry explains that this bill would cost the state money.

“It’s certainly not a way to make the state rich. What they would do is test welfare recipients based on suspicion, and then if they tested negative, the state would have to pay the cost of the test.”

Lessenberry says there are other problems associated with the proposed bill.

“This has passed the House before and died in the Senate. There have been bills like this before including in Michigan that have been found to be unconstitutional,” Lessenberry says. “So a rational cost/benefit analysis would probably say it is more trouble than it’s worth.”

Immigration protest arrests at the U of M

There’s a growing call for undocumented students to be allowed to pay in-state tuition at the University of Michigan. That call resulted in eight arrests at a U-of-M protest this week.  

As Lessenberry explains, “There was one case that was sited of a young man who came here as a baby I think from Mexico and was admitted to the University of Michigan. He can’t possibly afford the tuition he would be charged.”

Lessenberry says there is no set standard for how to admit an undocumented student.

“Some universities just let anybody in. Some allow the president of the university to make exceptions in such a case,” he says.

Lessenberry says the protests stem from a bigger issue.

“This is a symptom we haven’t dealt with as a society—which is what to do about finding a path to citizenship for people who’ve been here a long time and have paid their bills and maybe were carried here as babies and are here through no decision of their own,” he says.

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