LANSING, Mich. — Michigan legislators are working to lower car insurance rates with the House of Representatives passing a new bill early Thursday morning.

House Bill 4397 was introduced March 19 by Rep. Jason Sheppard R-Temperance. The bill was created to remove Michigan’s car insurance mandate, which requires every person to have an unlimited health insurance as part of their auto insurance plan.

Michigan is the only state in the country with such a mandate, which contributes to having some of the highest rates in the country.

The bill passed 61-49. Every Republican and three Democrats voted in its favor.

“I need to say that every representative from the Upper Peninsula voted to pass the bill, regardless of party affiliation,” Rep. Beau LaFave, R-Iron Mountain, said. “This was a moment where U.P. representatives worked together, across the aisle.”

Lowering car insurance rates for residents of Michigan is LaFave’s No. 1 issue as a legislator and he described the recent vote as a “monumental victory.”

“We’re the only state with this mandate,” LaFave said. “We’re the only state with an unlimited, no cap on health insurance rates for car insurance. Every other state has a cap.”

He said the health insurance cap in Wisconsin for car insurance is about $5,000. After Michigan, the state with the highest health insurance cap for car insurance is New York with $50,000.

“The average person in Wisconsin pays about $500 a year for car insurance, but the average person in Michigan pays an average of $1,600,” he said. “People from Menominee move to Marinette so they can afford their car insurance. It’s a constant trend that is hemorrhaging our economy. I want to lower car insurance rates and encourage people to come back home to Michigan, at the very least we can stop more people from bleeding to Wisconsin.”

LaFave said the bill was amended heavily to include several caveats that Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said she would require before passing the bill.

Whitmer has said she would veto any bill passed to remove the mandate if it did not include eliminating other factors that contribute to the high car insurance, including raising rates for non-driving-related factors.

However, LaFave said the bill was amended to include the language Whitmer asked for but she again said she would veto the bill. 

“We gave her everything she wanted and she still said she’d veto it,” LaFave said. “It’s because we refuse to give her a 45 cent tax gas increase. A tax like that would be greatly profitable for Marinette but it would put gas stations in Menominee out of business.”

“She’s going to deny every family in the state of Michigan $1,000 a year savings because we’re not giving her what she wants,” LaFave said.

A similar bill has also passed in the Senate with a a 24-14 vote Tuesday. Every Republican and two Democrats voted in favor of this bill. 

LaFave said both the Senate bill and the House bill would need to be passed in opposite house, but he believes one will be on Whitmer’s desk by the end of next week. However, he also said if Whitmer chooses to veto it, there currently is not enough votes in either house to overturn a veto.

“We would only need a couple extra votes in the Senate to overturn a veto, but we would need 11 votes in the House to do so,” LaFave said.

LaFave said that Whitmer has recently said she would be willing to come to the table to make an agreement with the legislators about the bill. He said he hopes an agreement can be made. 

“Polling shows that 85 percent of Michigan drivers want this bill signed into law, and 90 percent of Upper Peninsula drivers want it signed,” LaFave said. “People in the U.P., we see that the grass truly is greener on the other side when it comes to car insurance.”