Multiple law-related changes Thursday have garnered public attention, including laws involving health insurance, violence against women and voting rights.
In Michigan, the House approved changing Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, or BCBSM, into a nonprofit mutual insurer by a 92-18 vote Thursday.
The company previously provided insurance to all patients regardless of health condition as an insurer of last resort and in return, it was exempt from paying state taxes.
If the new bill passes, BCBSM will be required to pay the estimated $100 million in taxes again.
MSU College of Osteopathic Medicine Dean William Strampel said in a previous interview changing BCBSM’s structure will foster competition among insurance companies.
As the insurance of last resort, BCBSM currently dominates Michigan’s insurance industry.
The House chose not to include controversial language regarding abortions — the reason Gov. Rick Snyder rejected the bill when it was introduced last year.
Speaker of the House Jase Bolger, R-Marshall, said the legislature chose not to add abortion coverage to the bill because parties failed to agree on proper language to protect unborn babies and their mothers.
He emphasized increasing the value of life and improving pre-natal care and adoptions in Michigan.
“I hope we showed people, through the final passage of this legislation, that these values are shared by many Michiganders, regardless of what political party they belong to,” he said.
In national news, the Supreme Court will hear a case involving sections of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.
An Alabama county is attempting to redraw its voting district borders and lawmakers are concerned the Justice Department’s authority to monitor how the state redistricts could be an overreach of congressional powers.
The Voting Rights Act was introduced in 1965 to prevent states from gerrymandering and creating districts that would disadvantage black voters and politicians.
If the court rules in favor of the Alabama county, laws protecting against gerrymandering could be struck down.
The House also passed legislation Thursday to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act that expired during Congress’s last session before the chamber could reach a consensus, according to the New York Times.
The Senate passed the bill earlier this month and the House introduced provisions, such as excluding gay, bisexual or transgender people from protections against sexual abuse, to the bill last Friday that drew criticism from human rights campaigns and Democrats.