Massachusetts Legislation

Bill to encourage hybrid drivers

Massachusetts lawmakers are considering a bill that would provide incentive to drive hybrid vehicles.

Among these incentives is a waiver of 5% sales tax, $2,000 income tax deduction, toll transponders, and a use of the HOV lane.   Combined, these incentives reduce the price of the hybrid to be comparable to traditional gas models.

Senator Bruce Tarr, R-Gloucester, chief sponsor of the bill said “we want to stimulate demand.”

Joe Gerbino, a sales manager at Commonwealth Motors in Lawrence says “The demand is more than what is available. We can’t even keep hybrids in stock.”

With hybrids already selling out of stock and gas prices rising, the new bill proposal would require more hybrids to be available to the public.  Especially since the bill requires that the states car fleet is 50% hybrid or alternative fuel cars by 2010.

Although this does pose a problem, Ann Dufresne, a spokeswoman for Senator President Robert Travaglini said the legislation is “sound environmental policy that provides short-term relief and long-term conservation.”

Bill to ban modified exhausts

In October, legislators in Massachusetts intend to introduce a bill that would ban any modified exhaust system.  The reason for the ban is because of the noise that is emitted from these modified exhausts.

A lot of people are wondering why this bill is being proposed because Massachusetts already has a noise ordinance law in place.  Another topic of debate is that the bill does not have a clear standard for the law to enforce.

Whether you are a fan of the law or not, you should let your voice be heard!

Summer and construction..

Summer season is here again! This means one thing… so is construction season.

Massive pile ups and countless detours plague the roads. Massachusetts roads crumbled until Gov. Deval Patrick signed a $2 billion emergency transportation bond, starting hundreds of previously under-funded projects. 

With additional funding: “Massachusetts will see about $115 million projects this summer, compared with $92 million last year.” – Roadway Headaches by Elaine Thompson

With this much construction in Massachusetts this summer you’re bound to drive through it sometime. When traveling through the work zones drive carefully. Fines double in work zones, and the constant construction may change the road’s drivability and sometimes direction. Save yourself a few bucks on tickets, car insurance, and accident’s medical bills, drive safely.

Testing Older Drivers

A new bill is being proposed that would require the elderly to be tested to see that they are fit to be driving.  Loretta Worters, vice president of the Insurance Information Institute said that by 2030 25 percent of drivers on the road will be 65 and older.

According to the insurance institute of highway safety, the elderly have the highest rate of fatal crashes than any other group except young drivers.  The new bill would require that elderly 85 and over would have to take road and vision tests before being eligible to drive.

On a local radio show last Thursday, Governor Deval Patrick, said “If it comes to me, I’ll sign it.”

It’s important to look at all affects of the bill before making your own opinion.  Is it possible that seniors have just been given a bad name due to a few crashes?  What kind of transportation will be available to seniors that lose their license due to the bill?  Will the bill make the roads safer for everyone?

After considering both sides of the bill you will be much more qualified to speak on the topic.

Li-Ion Manufacturing Facility!

The government just approved 100 million to build a new state of the art Lithium-Ion battery manufacturing plant.   Massachusetts will also be contributing an additional 9 million.

Boston Power, located in Westborough, Massachusetts, will be building the 455,000 sq ft plant.  The facility will be built in Auburn and will provide 600 jobs to the local area.

The plant will also provide an estimated 2,000 jobs through supply chain vendors.

Governor Deval Patrick said, “Our goal is to make Massachusetts a manufacturing hub for the advanced batteries that will power the nation’s clean energy future, and Boston-Power’s plan to create this facility in Auburn is a big step toward that goal.”

This is big news for us. If all goes as planned, we can be the leaders in our nation’s search for clean energy!

Appeals Board may be permanent

The state House of Representatives voted 155-0 on Thursday to approve a bill that would make permanent the board that rules on drivers’ appeals of motor vehicle insurance surcharges.  The Republican reports that this vote would “…enshrine the state Division of Insurance’s Board of Appeal in state law and strip away the power of an insurance commissioner to unilaterally abolish the board.” 

On Anniversary of managed competition savings to consumers still up for debate

April 1 marks the one year anniversary of managed competition for Massachusetts auto insurance, and, as the varied stories show, whether or not the consumer is benefiting is still in question.

According to Insurance Journal: “It’s difficult to measure the exact impact of the new system so far.” 

Customers are saving money  with managed competition according to Travelers Insurance, who states that “…approximately 75 percent of Travelers of Massachusetts’ customers saw savings on their car insurance…”

The Bedford Minuteman reports: “Consumer group representatives claimed Massachusetts drivers would have saved more on auto insurance premiums under the state’s old heavily regulated system…”

Progressive raising their rates in MA – Bait & switch or natural market adjustment??

The Boston Herald reports that Progressive plans to raise their rates in MA starting April 1.   Critics point to this as the bait and switch they were expecting from the Ohio-based insurance company that took 1.2% of the MA auto insurance market in less than a year.  Progressive representatives argue that the rate hike is a natural market adjustment after one year in MA.  What do you think?

Appeals Board Retained…for now

Yesterday on Beacon Hill, Commissioner Burnes stated that she will retain the state board allowing drivers to appeal auto insurance surcharges.  As reports, supporters of the board process were satisfied with Burnes’ change of position on this matter and believe that it is best for the consumer.  Whether or not the Appeals Board will be around in the long term remains to be seen.

New insurance rules putting agents out of work?

The Boston Globe is reporting on the frustration of agents who specialize in high-risk drivers over the new rules effective April 1 which will, they say, cost them their jobs.  The agents also fear that the new rules will leave many drivers without coverage.  Insurance Commissioner Burnes countered with graphical evidence that there was a distribution of agents across the state who are not being picked up by insurance companies.

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