Lawmakers consider bill that would increase car insurance rates for NJ residents

Car insurance rates could be going up soon, as a new bill races through Trenton that would require nearly a quarter of New Jersey drivers to increase their auto insurance coverage for personal injury.
State Senate President Nick Scutari is behind the bill.
“The people of New Jersey need this Legislature to protect them from themselves,” Scutari says
The Democrat says he is backing the bill, which would raise the amount of personal injury protection most drivers need to carry from $15,000 to $25,000 in January if it is passed. That amount would also increase three years after that.
Scutari unexpectedly leapt into a state budget hearing on Monday where the bill was being discussed by its opponents.
“This is insane. I can’t believe what I’m hearing sitting in the back,” Scutari said. “I urge you all to support the bill.”
John Harmon, CEO of the state African American Chamber of Commerce, testified against the bill on Monday
“This guy was as if his life depended on getting this done,” Harmon says. “This is so important that it shouldn’t be rushed.”
Harmon says that higher premiums will likely impact Black, brown and poor drivers disproportionally.
“To put this on the backs of people who are just struggling to survive, ultimately, I believe, is going to lead to more people driving without insurance,” Harmon says.
Harmon and even industry representatives say they are baffled by Scutari's reaction.
“Who is his audience? Why is this so important?” Harmon asks.
Scutari is also a personal injury attorney.
“The insurance industry is not the Red Cross. But they are pretty good at attacking myself and Nick Scutari cause we're standing up for the policyholders,” says Republican state Sen. Jon Bramnick.
Bramnick is also an attorney who takes on personal injury cases.
“It's not changing my lifestyle at all, but it's going to change the lifestyle of injured parties in this state,” he says.
The bill passed through the Senate budget committee Monday along party lines - all Democrats in favor, all Republicans against.
Scutari's office did not respond to a request for additional comment from News 12.