Horn applauds completion of 2018-2019 state budget

Sen. Ken Horn

Sen. Ken Horn

LANSING, Mich. — The state Senate on Tuesday gave final approval to the state of Michigan budget for the 2018-2019 fiscal year.

“For eight years, we have worked hard to negotiate balanced budgets well before the beginning of the fiscal year,” said Sen. Ken Horn, R-Frankenmuth. “We’ve made record investments in roads and schools again this year.”

The School Aid (K-12) budget invests $14.8 billion into Michigan schools, which is the largest investment in the state’s history. Schools will see a foundation allowance increase of between $120 and $240 per pupil — the largest increase for most schools in 17 years. Skilled trades programs will also see $40.9 million to prepare workers for high-demand jobs.

“From my first days as a legislator, I’ve been focused on skilled trades,” Horn said. “Employers in my district are begging for machinists, welders and other specialized hands-on professionals.  This is an investment in our state’s workers.”

The budget also includes record investments to address the state’s crumbling roads and bridges.  An additional $330 million was added to the original road funding appropriation, and when combined with the recent road funding package, the Legislature will have invested $2.4 billion in     our roads since 2017.

“In addition to the statewide increase, Saginaw and Genesee counties will benefit from additional dollars that I went to bat for,” Horn said. “This budget shows that every corner of the state matters. It celebrates small towns and lets our neighbors know they aren’t forgotten.”

Some specific projects in the 32nd District include:

  • $1,070,000 to finish the Dixie Highway project in Bridgeport Township
  • $200,000 to replace the Chapin Road bridge in Jonesfield Township
  • $303,600 for Seymour Road in Flushing Township
  • $100,000 for the Saginaw River Deepening Feasibility Study

“The need to reopen the Chapin Road bridge was brought to my attention by local residents and township officials. As a small rural township, they were certain they’d be overlooked but their voices were heard,” Horn said. “I’m pleased that the bridge will be rebuilt and residents can safely return to their daily lives.”

Horn supported several other funding measures in the budget.

“We are training 155 state troopers and investing in school safety initiatives like the reporting program OK2SAY,” Horn said. “Like the blue collar community I represent, we put in a little overtime for the district and crafted a budget the hard working taxpayers of Michigan deserve.”

The finalized budget will now go to Gov. Rick Snyder for approval.

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Horn supports auto insurance reforms

LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. Ken Horn applauded Thursday’s Senate passage of numerous reforms to the state’s current no-fault auto insurance system.

“This is something I have been working on since first being elected to the state Legislature,” said Horn, R-Frankenmuth. “Reforming auto insurance consistently remains at the forefront of issues important to residents of my district, and understandably so. I am looking forward to continuing this conversation because people throughout the state are fed up with unreasonable insurance rates.”

Michigan is one of 12 states that currently operate under a no-fault system of automobile insurance. Under the current system, a driver’s own insurance company covers all accident-related medical expenses and lost wages regardless of who caused the accident. Because of this, all motorists in the state are legally required to carry Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage, which pays for an individual’s medical expenses resulting from injuries sustained in an auto accident.

“Michigan is one of the most expensive states in the nation to purchase auto insurance,” Horn said. “Because of our insurance requirements, we’ve turned our auto insurers into providers of the most expensive health insurance in the state. It’s an odd position for them to be in.”

There are many reasons for rising costs, including Michigan’s unique uncapped benefits, fraud and the skyrocketing cost of health care service.

Senate Bill 1014 would address the rampant fraudulent activity within the system by creating the Michigan Automobile Insurance Fraud Authority within the attorney general’s office. The authority’s primary operation would be investigating insurance fraud, which according to the Insurance Institute of Michigan is estimated to be about $400 million per year.

The bill would also make changes to attendant care, setting limits on the amount that could be paid to family and household members to help protect against inflated costs. Coverage for the first 56 hours of attendant care provided in a week would be limited to a reasonable and customary amount, and coverage of care in excess of 56 hours would be limited to $15 an hour.

Included in the package is legislation that would allow Michigan residents age 65 or older the option to choose a capped auto-insurance policy. SB 787 would set the cap at $50,000 and personal insurance or Medicare would cover remaining medical expenses from an automobile accident after the $50,000 limit is reached. Seniors who opted for the limited coverage would see their catastrophic claims assessment drastically reduced.

Seniors would also have the option to remain in the current no-fault system.

“I would love to see a more comprehensive approach to reforming Michigan’s auto insurance laws that allow more choices for all Michiganders, but the reality is the Legislature hasn’t been able to get that passed in the decades that reforms have been attempted,” Horn said. “These bills put us in a better position to make reforms than previous versions have. I look forward to the upcoming conversations with my colleagues on how we can lower rates for all Michigan motorists.”

SBs 787 and 1014 have been sent to the House of Representatives for further consideration.

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Horn reminds residents of Michigan’s Free Fishing Weekend

LANSING, Mich. — State Ken Horn on Wednesday reminded residents of the upcoming Summer Free Fishing Weekend.

“We in the 32nd District are blessed to have the beautiful Great Lakes Bay Region right in our backyards,” said Horn, R-Frankenmuth. “Whether you’re on a river in Saginaw County or a lake in Genesee County, there are endless opportunities to get out with the family and enjoy this timeless pastime.”

The state of Michigan hosts two free fishing weekends every year — one in the winter and one in the summer. This summer, residents will have an opportunity to enjoy the many spectacular fishing opportunities Michigan has to offer on Saturday, June 9 and Sunday, June 10.

During these two days, residents and nonresidents alike can fish without a license, though all other fishing regulations still apply. Entry fees for state public boating access sites, state parks and recreation areas are also waived during this time.

Since 1986, Michigan has celebrated the free weekend as a way to promote awareness of the state’s vast aquatic resources and to give families a great chance to pass along the joy of fishing to the next generation.

“I am proud to have passed down the love for this Michigan tradition to my grandson Liam,” Horn said. “I encourage everyone to get out and enjoy the beautiful resources Pure Michigan has to offer. The memories will last a lifetime.”

For more information, including a list of activities across the state, visit www.Michigan.gov/FreeFishing.

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Editor’s note: A print-quality version of the above photograph is available by clicking on the image or by visiting the senator’s website at www.SenatorKenHorn.com. Click on “Photowire” under the Media Center tab. Audio of Horn discussing the upcoming free fishing weekend is also available on his website. Click “Audio” under the Media Center tab.

Photo caption: State Sen. Ken Horn, R-Frankenmuth, and his grandson Liam prepare for a fishing trip in the 32nd District.