Can you believe in this day and age that Michigan still has language in our state laws and regulations that use the words “colored persons” and “white persons”?  Well, state Representative Martin Howrylak, a Troy Republican, couldn’t believe it either.

The Detroit Free Press is reporting on a vote in Michigan’s House of Representatives, which would remove these words from Michigan’s state insurance code and prohibit insurance companies from describing people or setting rates based on race.  The bill passed in a 106-0 vote in the House.

State Rep. Martin Howrylak was reviewing state law for language offensive to the deaf community.  He found words such as "deaf and dumb". “Deaf and dumb”!  Can you believe we ever had words like “deaf and dumb” in our laws and regulations?

Representative Howrylak was quoted in the article stating:

"I was doing a search and found that there were six references to 'deaf and dumb' in state statute, and I thought what else could possibly be offensive in state law, and I put in a few searches and I came up with (colored persons)."

State Rep. Howrylak only found the words “colored persons” and “white persons” in our state insurance code, which was passed in 1963.  Because of this finding he sponsored bill HB 5380, which would remove the words from the code. As stated above, the bill passed 106-0 yesterday, and now moves to the Senate for their consideration.

I know the code was passed in 1963, but I still wonder why they would use such language even back then.  What was the purpose?  Was it racially motivated?

I ask myself, what does it matter what color you skin is when it comes to insurance?

Can the actuaries defend such classification, which would clarify why they would use such language?

Another surprise to me was why it would take so long to eradicate such language from our laws and regulations.  That is proof to me that we are making new laws and regulations without ever reviewing the ones on the books, to determine if a new law or regulation is even needed.

It is time that we make a new law, which states that the Michigan legislature must review current laws and regulations on a set schedule, and at the very least before they write new laws and regulations.

Does this sound like a good idea to you?

By the way white is a color, right?

Let’s talk about this today on The Live with Renk Show which airs Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to noon. To let me know your thoughts during the show please call (269) 441-9595.

Or please feel free to start a discussion and write your thoughts in the comment section.

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