Autonomous vehicle legislation clears Senate committee

LANSING, Mich. — The Senate Committee on Economic Development and International Investment on Wednesday approved a package of bills aimed at modernizing guidelines for driverless vehicle research and operation within state law.

Senate Bills 995-998 would update Michigan’s current laws regarding autonomous vehicle testing to allow “real world” testing and operation to determine the technology needed to safely introduce these vehicles into the marketplace.

“Michigan, for much of its history, has been known throughout the world as the home of the automobile, and it is only appropriate that we continue to be a pioneer in the industry,” said Sen. Ken Horn, R-Frankenmuth, who chairs the committee and was the sponsor of SB 998. “Data shows that more than 90 percent of auto accidents are caused because of human error. If we can remain an integral part of the development of technology to reduce these errors, I think it will be a great move for our state.”

The bills go on to specify that as technology emerges, companies will be able to operate a driverless vehicle on public roads so long as an operator is able to supervise and control the vehicle. The legislation also establishes standards that these vehicles must adhere to. These include requirements for data collection and feedback from crashes from autonomous vehicles that are members of a fleet so that information can be used to further advance the technology and ensure that they are safe for consumer use.

Additionally, the bills authorize the creation of the American Center for Mobility at the abandoned Willow Run facility. The repurposed 300-acre lot is expected to serve a vital role in Michigan’s research and development surrounding autonomous vehicles. The redevelopment is expected to be a boost for the economies of surrounding communities.

Leading technology and ridesharing companies are working with Michigan’s Big Three and other automakers to develop driverless technology. Seven other states along with Washington D.C. have a policy or have introduced a policy regarding autonomous vehicles, and the widespread message across the Senate panel as well as those who came to testify was that Michigan must remain a leader in the industry.

State Sen. Mike Kowall, sponsor of SBs 995 and 996, has remained at the forefront of legislative efforts pertaining to autonomous vehicles for some time. Kowall added that Michigan is on a fast track to get these bills passed and remain competitive with the rest of the nation.

“This legislation will help ensure Michigan remains the worldwide leader in automotive research and development,” said Kowall, R-White Lake. “We have sent a strong signal today that we are ready to partner with the companies that are producing this remarkable technology.”

Horn agreed.

“I believe we are making great technological and economic strides for our state while keeping drivers and their passengers safe on the road,” Horn said. “I want to thank the other bill sponsors, the members of this committee and those who came to testify for coming to my district — and a special thanks to Nexteer Automotive for hosting this special hearing here in our community.”

SBs 995-998 were approved by the committee with bipartisan support and will now go before the full Senate for consideration.


Senate committee to consider autonomous vehicle legislation

LANSING, Mich. — The Senate Committee on Economic Development and International Investment is scheduled to hold a special hearing on legislation that aims to reduce barriers to further research and testing of autonomous vehicles in Michigan.


Sen. Ken Horn, R-Frankenmuth, chair;

Sen. Wayne Schmidt, R-Traverse City, majority vice chair;

Sen. Jim Stamas, R-Midland;

Sen. Judy Emmons, R-Sheridan;

Sen. Rebekah Warren, D-Ann Arbor, minority vice chair; and

Sen. Steven Bieda, D-Warren.


The Senate Committee on Economic Development and International Investment will take testimony and consider Senate Bills 995, 996, 997 and 998. SBs 995-998 seek to update Michigan’s current autonomous vehicle law, which took effect in March 2014, to allow automotive companies the ability to further explore new possibilities for autonomous vehicles in Michigan.


Wednesday, Aug. 31 at 10 a.m.


Nexteer Automotive

Saginaw Room

3900 E. Holland Road

Saginaw, MI 48601


Horn named Legislator of the Year by Police Officers Association of Michigan

LANSING, Mich. — The Police Officers Association of Michigan (POAM) recently presented Sen. Ken Horn with the organization’s Legislator of the Year award.

Horn was chosen as Legislator of the Year for working with the association to remedy collective bargaining issues that have been presented by Public Act 54 of 2011. They also credited Horn with leading the legislative effort to add county corrections officers to those covered by Michigan’s binding arbitration law, Public Act 312 of 1969.

“It’s an honor to be recognized for helping support our state’s law enforcement officers and ensuring they are treated with the respect they deserve,” said Horn, R-Frankenmuth. “I will continue to work with the association to correct these issues and make certain both our officers and the public are protected.”

President Jim Tignanelli and Legislative Director Ken Grabowski presented Horn with the award at POAM’s August board meeting.


Editor’s note: A print-quality photograph is available by clicking on the image or by visiting the senator’s website at: Click on “Photowire” under the Media Center tab.

Photo Caption: State Sen. Ken Horn poses for a photo with Police Officers Association of Michigan President Jim Tignanelli (right) and Legislative Director Ken Grabowski (left) as they presented Horn with the association’s Legislator of the Year Award at their August board meeting.

Horn announces August office hours in Marion Township

Sen. Ken Horn

Sen. Ken Horn

LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. Ken Horn, R-Frankenmuth, announced that August office hours are scheduled for the 32nd Senate District.

Horn will be available to meet with constituents at the following date, time and location:

Monday, Aug. 29

1 – 3 p.m.

Marion Township Hall

10925 S. Merrill Road

Brant, MI 48614

Horn will be on hand to answer questions and respond to concerns any residents of the district may have. No appointment is necessary.

For more information or to contact Horn, please visit or call 517-373-1760.