“Do Nothing Senate” gets message from AJs

about insurance based on credit scores

(Crystal A. Proxmire)


“My credit score has gone down, down, down, and my car insurance rates have gone up.  I haven’t gotten in an accident or had tickets.  I am a good driver but my rates keep going up and it has nothing to do with my driving, and that is not fair,” said AJ’s Music Café owner AJ O’Neil at a rally on August 12, 2010.


The sentiment rang true for the over 60 citizens who showed up to sign an unofficial petition to be presented to the State Senate asking them to put through HB 5634, which passed the house in December 2009, but has been stuck in committee ever since.  The petition calls for the “do nothing Senate” to address this issue this session.  Senator Gilda Jacobs (D- Huntington Woods) blames politicians who accept large campaign contributions from the insurance industry.  “Mike Bishop has kept this bottled up for years,” she said.  “My good friend Martha Scott [Senator] gets up every morning and talks about this… [but] he won’t let it get to the Senate floor.”


Butch Hollowell, who is the statewide Auto and Home Insurance Consumer Advocate appointed by Governor Jennifer Granholm, led the rally and will also be taking the petition to other locations across the state before delivering it to Lansing.  HR 5634 would end the practice of using credit scores, occupation, and level of education as the basis for price differences in auto insurance rates. 


“I thought red lining was done with years ago in the civil rights movement of the 60s and 70s,” said Raging Grannie member and longtime Ferndale political activist Nancy Goedert.  “I didn’t think they could discriminate like that and I am here to be educated.  Because if it’s not outlawed it ought to be.”


State Representative Ellen Cogen Lipton (D- Huntington Woods) joined Hollowell and Jacobs on stage in support of AJ’s petition.  “No one has to be told how tough the economy is.  But that industry is showing record profits.  The stranglehold the industry has on the state is horrendous.”


Governor Jennifer Granholm sent a letter to AJ in support of his efforts, saying that she will gladly sign the bill if the Senate passes it.  Gubernatorial candidate Virg Bernero called in to pledge his support, as did Senator John Gleason and Senator Hansen Clark.


The petition will be available all weekend at AJ’s Music Café, 175 W. 9 Mile in Downtown Ferndale.  You can follow AJs on their Facebook page.