The Latest: Michigan governor criticizes GOP-backed auto insurance bill

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LANSING, Mich. (AP & WLUC) - The Latest on the Michigan Legislature's consideration of auto insurance legislation (all times local):

11:19 a.m. Thursday

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer isn't embracing a Republican-passed plan to cut high auto insurance premiums, saying it falls short and that her first priority is passing a budget that fixes the state's roads.

The Democrat's spokeswoman, Tiffany Brown, issued a statement following the passage of legislation during a state House session that stretched into Thursday. The state Senate also approved a car insurance overhaul this week.

Both bills would no longer require drivers to buy unlimited medical coverage for injuries, if people have other health insurance. The House plan would require insurers to reduce a portion of premiums.

Brown says Whitmer is only interested in signing insurance legislation that's "reasonable, fair and provides strong consumer protections and immediate financial relief," and neither bill meets that standard.

Republicans counter that residents are demanding lower premiums.

2:15 a.m. Thursday

Legislation to cut high auto insurance rates is advancing in Michigan.

The Republican-led state House early Thursday approved an overhaul that would let people opt out of mandatory unlimited medical coverage for car crashes.

On a 61-49 vote, all 58 Republicans and three Democrats, including Rep. Sara Cambensy of Marquette, voted for the bill.

The Senate passed a plan earlier in the week, setting up a potential showdown with Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer if a bill reaches her desk. The bill has to go back to the Senate for consideration.

The House bill would let motorists forego mandatory unlimited personal injury protection, a requirement only in Michigan. Insurers would have to cut PIP rates, for five years, by between 10% and 100%.

That could equal an estimated $120 and $1,200 in savings for someone paying $2,400 annually, according to Republicans' projections.

Democrats oppose the bill, saying it favors the insurance industry and would not guarantee long-term rate relief or ensure the elimination of non-driving factors in setting rates. Republicans say people should not be forced to buy unlimited coverage.

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4:10 p.m. Wednesday

The Michigan House is moving to quickly pass its own overhaul of the state's auto insurance system a day after a plan was approved by the Senate.

In a surprise move, House Republicans are planning to consider the legislation Wednesday night. A committee has held hearings on the issue, but a bill has yet to be proposed.

The pending measure is expected to call for eliminating Michigan's one-of-a-kind requirement that people buy unlimited medical coverage from their car insurer for crash injuries. Instead, motorists could choose lower levels of coverage.

Michigan has the highest average premiums in the country.

Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has threatened to veto fast-tracked legislation that won mostly party-line passage from the Senate, saying it would not guarantee rate cuts or address discriminatory rate-setting practices.

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