Whitmer sees ‘possibilities’ on legislation deals


HOLLAND, Mich. (WOOD) — The day after threatening to veto Republican-backed bills on no-fault automotive insurance reform, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer encouraged bipartisanship.

“I am determined to make sure Michigan doesn’t look like Washington, D.C. (and to show) that divided government doesn’t have to be dysfunctional,” she said.

The auto insurance bills OK’d Tuesday by the Senate would no longer require drivers to buy unlimited medical coverage. Whitmer said she opposed it because it doesn’t include reform on how companies can set rates. The state House on Wednesday planned quick approval of a similar measure.

Whitmer, a Democrat, has previously promised to veto budget items from the Republican-led Legislature that don’t meet her priorities.

But speaking Wednesday in Holland at the Tulip Time luncheon, which Michigan governors traditionally attend, Whitmer made a point to recognize legislators in the audience and say she wanted to work with them.

“I think are going to find more common ground than anyone can imagine, and we’re just getting started,” she said.

Getting started she may be, but Republicans and Democrats have yet to find that common ground on issues ranging from auto insurance reform to education funding to Whitmer’s proposed gas tax hike.

“I think there are all sorts of possibilities here,” Whitmer said.

The budget and road funding — which she has proposed boosting with a 45 cent per gallon increase to the gas tax — are her first priorities, but she said she’s open to dealing with other matters.

“If a no-fault solution rolls very concurrently and maybe gets signed shortly after the budget’s done, that’s something I’m open to,” she said.

The governor says when it comes to negotiations, she thinks she and lawmakers are in the “second inning,” meaning that there is still plenty of time to find solutions. But with just two months left in session until summer break, there still is a lot to do to reach a bargain.

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