Michigan legislators talk about what they would like to get done in 2018
LANSING, Mich. (SINCLAIR BROADCAST GROUP) —
Michigan lawmakers are back to work at the state capitol after a long holiday break.
Political Reporter Nick Minock spoke with legislative leaders about what they hope to accomplish before the campaign season gets into full swing.
Gov. Rick Snyder wants lawmakers to restore the personal exemption so taxes in Michigan don't go up.
Many lawmakers, like Sen. Arlan Meekhof, want to take a look at that, but lawmakers in the house have priorities of their own, too.
A top priority in 2018 for House Speaker Tom Leonard is forgiving millions of dollars that many Michigan drivers owe in driver responsibility fees.
“It's been nothing but a money grab.” Leonard said, “I found out when I started studying this, we have over 300,000 of our citizens who owe these fees and cannot drive legally here in our state."
The house top Democrat Sam Singh wants to fix Michigan roads.
Singh said, “Democrats are willing to have a conversation on because to me our roads, bridges, water systems, our sewer systems, they all need a significant investment."
Other house members want to make another push at driving down the cost of your auto insurance.
Rep. Sherry Gay Dagnogo said, “I am still committed to making sure we have affordable fair and affordable auto insurance."
But if 2017 was any indication, it won't be an easy piece of legislation to pass.
Republican Lee Chatfield says drivers in Michigan need relief now.
Chatfield said, “We need to find ways to bring the cost down so people have more money to put food on the table and purchase everyday needs."
Another need is making Michigan’s state government more transparent, as Democrat Jeremy Moss says.
He helped pass a bi-partisan plan in 2017 that would open the governor's office and state departments to the freedom of information act.
Moss said, “Unfortunately, it is stalled in the state senate. We are looking forward to moving this bill package forward, getting it done on the other end of this building. The House has seen it as a priority.”
Moss and others says Michigan needs more government transparency as they point to the Flint water crisis.
Another priority for the speaker is skilled trades legislation and mental health reforms.
An announcement is expected in the coming weeks on what lawmakers want to do with mental health.