By NIKKI YOUNK
IRON MOUNTAIN - Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson made a stop in Iron Mountain on Wednesday as part of her Upper Peninsula-wide tour to speak with residents and update them on some of her office's recent projects.
Nikki Younk/Daily News Photo
Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson, left, and State Representative Ed McBroom, R-Waucedah, answer questions during a town hall meeting Wednesday at the Dickinson County Library in Iron Mountain. Johnson is on a tour of the Upper Peninsula this week in order to speak with residents and update them on some of her office’s recent projects.
State Rep. Ed McBroom, R-Waucedah, joined her for a town hall meeting at the Dickinson County Library. About a dozen people attended.
Johnson was pleased to promote a new driver's license feature for veterans.
Beginning May 1, honorably discharged veterans can take their discharge papers to a Secretary of State office to receive a special veteran designation on their licenses. The designation will be the word "veteran" in red at the bottom of the license.
"We have 680,000 veterans in Michigan, the 11th highest in the nation," said Johnson. "Unfortunately, we rank as one of the worst states for knowledge of veteran benefits."
With the new designation, veterans can simply show their driver's licenses instead of their discharge papers to receive veteran discounts.
Johnson hopes that anyone who sees a veteran designation on a license takes the time to thank that veteran for his or her service.
She also touched on other ongoing projects such as maintaining the ExpressSOS website that offers Secretary of State services online, cleaning up Michigan's voter registry of ineligible voters, and promoting the organ donor registry.
Both Johnson and McBroom then took audience questions on a variety of topics. Most questions focused on the high cost of car insurance and the necessity to carry a paper proof of insurance in a vehicle.
McBroom explained that costs are high because Michigan drivers have to pay for unlimited benefits to car accident victims. Johnson added that insurance fraud and uninsured drivers also cause the price of insurance to increase.
"It's out of control, we've got to rein it in," said McBroom.
He noted that changing the law is difficult because there are many accident victims who depend upon Michigan's unlimited coverage and many organizations that lobby on behalf of keeping the law as it is.
"We need to consider what we can afford and what's fair," said McBroom.
In response to an audience question about paper proof of insurance, Johnson said that she is looking into adding more proof of insurance options. Methods could include having the proof accessible on a cell phone or on a vehicle itself.
Nikki Younk's e-mail address is email@example.com.