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Senator’s next crusade: the constitutionality of car insurance?

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WASHINGTON — Why isn’t Sen. John Ensign up in arms about government-mandated car insurance?

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The Nevada Republican suggested last week that proposals to fine those who flout an individual health care mandate doesn’t pass constitutional muster.

Politico reported Ensign was particularly worried for “those very people who conscientiously, because they believe in the U.S. Constitution, we could be subjecting them to fines or the interpretation of a judge, all the way up to imprisonment.”

“That seems to me to be a problem,” Ensign said.

According to Politico, Joint Committee on Taxation Chief of Staff Tom Barthold said under a mandate, people who don’t buy health insurance–or pay as much as a $1900 fee for failing to do so–could be charged with a misdemeanor and face up to a year in jail or a $25,000 penalty.

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The Senate Finance Committee, where Ensign holds a seat, rejected two proposals last night to include a government-run insurance plan in health care reform legislation. The health insurance mandate included in Finance Committee Chairman Sen. Max Baucus’ proposal is still being debated.

Most states already require people who own cars to purchase insurance before they can put the vehicles on the road.

In Ensign’s home state, the law requires all drivers be insured for a minimum of $15,000 for bodily injury or death of 1 person in any one accident, at least $30,000 for bodily injury or death of 2 or more people in any one accident and a minimum of $10,000 for the injury or destruction of property of others.

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In fact, the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles enforces auto insurance law with a particular zeal.

DMV spokesman Tom Jacobs told Raw Story the state has an “insurance verification program” designed to catch those who let their insurance lapse. All Nevada insurance companies are required to turn over their rosters each month to the state, which then compares the names of all who have registered vehicles to those who have insurance.

If you’ve got a car, but no insurance, you’re in trouble.

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“They’ll get a letter that says their registration is suspended if they don’t get it taken care of within a certain time period,” Jacobs said to Raw Story. “Even if they do take action, they would still be fined $250 for the lapse. It is required by law that if you’re on a Nevada roadway, you better be insured.”

But Ensign doesn’t appear as eager to defend the rights of conscientious objectors to government mandates on car insurance: his staff did not return four requests for comment from Raw Story.

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Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.



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‘Cruel beyond imagination’: Trump reportedly set to unveil plan to detain immigrant families indefinitely

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"The Flores Settlement is crucially important for the humane treatment of immigrant children, and Trump is again trying to kill it."

President Donald Trump on Wednesday is reportedly planning to unveil a set of rules that would terminate an agreement limiting the amount of time the federal government can detain immigrant children and families, opening the door to indefinite detention.

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Trump dodges and gives an accidentally revealing answer when confronted on his anti-LGBT policies

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When President Donald Trump was asked Tuesday about whether he supports his administration's anti-LGBT policies — including a new rule that would make it easier for employers to discriminate — he gave what seemed to be an unintentionally revealing answer.

REPORTER: Mr POTUS, your administration has been taking steps to make it easier to discriminate against LGBT people in the workforce. Are you okay with that?

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‘Absurd’: Trump scraps Denmark visit after Danes say Greenland not for sale

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US President Donald Trump Tuesday postponed a planned visit to Denmark after Danish officials insisted its autonomous territory of Greenland was not for sale.

Trump's decision confirms just how interested he was in purchasing Greenland, an idea initially dismissed as a joke by some, but which the White House later insisted had a serious purpose because of its strategic location.

"Based on Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen's comments, that she would have no interest in discussing the purchase of Greenland, I will be postponing our meeting scheduled in two weeks for another time," Trump tweeted.

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