The first regular session of the 126th Legislature is underway. I am humbled, excited and determined to do my part to make this great state an even better place to live, work, and raise a family.
BILLS. Cloture was January 18. Lawmakers submitted a total of 1,775 bills for this session. I submitted these, a few upon request by constituents:
- An Act To Amend the Laws Governing Animal Trespass (Request)
- An Act To Amend the Laws Governing Retirement Under the Maine Public Employees Retirement System (Request)
- An Act To Amend the Medical Marijuana Law Regarding Excess Harvested Marijuana (Request)
- An Act To Deregulate Face-to-Face Transactions between Consumers and Small Farms and Small Food Producers
- An Act To Eliminate Mandatory Minimum Sentencing from the Maine Criminal Code
- An Act To Eliminate the Use of Chemical Fertilizers, Pesticides and Herbicides on All State Funded Property
- An Act To Establish a Veteran-to-Farmer Training Program
- An Act To Establish the Maine Food Policy Council
- An Act to Expand Wild Turkey Hunting
- An Act To Increase Consumption of Local Foods in All State Funded Institutions
- An Act To Increase Food Sovereignty in Local Communities
- An Act To Promote Tourism, Agriculture, and the Food Economy in Maine with an Increase in the State Tax Imposed on Lodging
- An Act To Protect Moored Freshwater Boats, Moorings and Docks (Request)
- An Act To Raise the Minimum Sales Tax Threshold for the Required Semiannual Filing of a Sales and Use Tax Report
- An Act To Require Edible Landscaping in a Portion of Capital Park
- An Act To Require That Able Recipients of State and Local Assistance Undertake Work or Volunteer (Request)
- An Act To Require the State To Use a State-Chartered Financial Institution for All Financial Transactions
- Resolve, Directing the Commissioner of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, the Commissioner of Education, and the Commissioner of Health and Human Services To Develop a Plan To End Hunger in Maine by 2022
- Resolve, Directing the Commissioner of Health and Human Services To Seek a Waiver from the Federal Government To Allow a Ban on Purchases of Candy and Soda with Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Benefits
- Resolve, Directing the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry and the Department of Environmental Protection To Develop a Plan To Reduce Food Waste in all State Funded Institutions
BUDGET. We continue to face a challenging financial situation. We’ve been dealing with declining revenues since the bottom started falling out of the national economy in 2008. Maine is only one of three states nationally where revenues have not met expectations and the only state in New England where the economy actually shrunk last year.
The Appropriations Committee is already working on revising the Governor’s curtailments as part of a supplemental budget and soon the work will begin on the Governor’s biennial budget proposal.
For an analysis of the proposal offered by the Maine Municipal Association, click here.
Now more than ever, the people need us to put partisanship aside and find reasonable and fair solutions that will get our economy moving again while ensuring our most vulnerable citizens are treated with dignity.
COMMITTEE MEETINGS. The schedule for public hearings is published here. Many public hearings and also some work sessions on bills are streamed over the Internet, and this year for the first time, MPBN will be producing a show to provide even more access to the public. All printed bills are available online and the bill search function is pretty easy to use. If you can't find something you are looking for, please contact me.
STAYING IN TOUCH. I will do my best to keep you updated on what's happening in the Legislature and around House District 82. I intend to distribute an email newsletter at least monthly. If you’d like to receive it, please send an email to email@example.com with “Newsletter Sign Up” in the subject line.
Once again, I am humbled and honored to serve you.
Take care of your blessings.