Archive for May, 2015

(5/8/15) HHS Work Sessions on 11 Medical Marijuana Bills (VIDEOS)

Posted on May 10, 2015. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

Health and Human Services Cross Building, Room 209

9AM PUBLIC HEARING

    LD 1392, An Act To Amend the Maine Medical Use of Marijuana Act
    Rep. Sanderson of Chelsea

10 AM WORK SESSIONS

    LD 5, An Act To Remove the Limit on the Number of Patients a Primary Caregiver May Provide for under the Medical Marijuana Laws
    Rep. Russell of Portland

    LD 23, An Act To Remove from the Maine Medical Use of Marijuana Act the Requirement That a Patient’s Medical Condition Be Debilitating
    Rep. Russell of Portland

    LD 35, An Act To Allow a Qualifying Patient To Use Medical Marijuana in a Hospital
    Sen. Brakey of Androscoggin

    LD 266, An Act To Allow Access for Law Enforcement Officers to the List of Registered Primary Caregivers for Medical Marijuana Patients
    Rep. Blume of York

    LD 560, An Act Regarding Patient Information Under the Maine Medical Use of Marijuana Act
    Rep. Russell of Portland

    LD 726, An Act To Increase Patient Safety in Maine’s Medical Marijuana Program
    Sen. Saviello of Franklin

    LD 752, An Act To Permit Medical Marijuana Cultivation by Incapacitated Adults
    Rep. Dunphy of Embden

    LD 766, An Act To Require a Medical Marijuana Primary Caregiver Cultivating in a Residential Building To Obtain an Electrical Permit
    Rep. Corey of Windham

    LD 1059, An Act Relating to Marijuana Testing Facilities
    Rep. Farnsworth of Portland

    LD 1258, An Act To Amend the Maine Medical Use of Marijuana Act with Regard to Good Business Practices
    Rep. Sanderson of Chelsea

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Governor Paul LePage Holds Tax Reform Plan Town Hall in Belfast (4/28/15 videos)

Posted on May 7, 2015. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , |

4/28/15 at the UMaine Hutchinson Center. About 180-200 attendees. Videos of the event are below; link to photos taken here.



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4/29/15 HHS Work Session on 6 GA/ TANF Bills

Posted on May 7, 2015. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , |

Work sessions were held by the Legislature’s HHS Committee on 4/29/15 regarding the following bills:

LD 368, An Act To Integrate the State’s General Assistance and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Programs
Sen. Brakey of Androscoggin

LD 369, An Act To Align Municipal General Assistance Programs with the Immigration Status Policies of the Department of Health and Human Services
Sen. Brakey of Androscoggin

LD 632, An Act To Require the State To Administer and Fund the General Assistance Program
Sen. Saviello of Franklin

LD 722, An Act To Strengthen Penalties for Abuse of General Assistance
Sen. Brakey of Androscoggin

LD 1035,An Act To Create a 9-month Time Limit on General Assistance Benefits
Sen. Brakey of Androscoggin

LD 1037, An Act To Establish a 180-day Residency Requirement for Welfare Benefits
Sen. Brakey of Androscoggin

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Alliance for a Clean and Healthy Maine LD 498 Press Conference

Posted on May 7, 2015. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , |

“Maine people are being short-changed on the Kid-Safe Products Act right now,” said Danna Hayes, Director of Public Policy for the Maine Women’s Lobby. “The Maine DEP has repeatedly done far less than the law intends and allows when it comes to protecting pregnant women and children from exposure to dangerous chemicals. In some cases the DEP is simply collecting information already available from other states, and in other cases they are ignoring the strongest scientific evidence of harm or exposure. This pattern means far too many Maine kids are needlessly being put at risk for learning disabilities, reproductive problems, cancer, asthma and allergies.”

An overflow crowd gathered at the State House on Thursday for a public hearing on LD 948, “An Act to Harmonize Maine’s Laws governing Toxic Chemicals in Children’s Products with Those of Other States”. Representative Sara Gideon (D-Freeport) introduced LD 948, also called “the Healthy Kids Bill” and it has been co-sponsored by both Democrats and Republicans in the House and Senate.

“This bill offers a simple path forward that will support Maine families and businesses every step of the way,” stated Bettyann Sheats, owner of Finishing Touches Shower Doors in Auburn. “Phthalates are just one example of chemicals used in everyday products that we know are harmful. Where are these chemicals used? Are there safer alternatives? These are straight-forward questions that can and should be answered for the most toxic chemicals in use today. Maine people and businesses deserve better information than what we’re getting right now.”

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Maine LCRED Committee Holds Public Hearings on Right to Work, Union Busting Bills

Posted on May 7, 2015. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , |

5/4/15 public hearings held in 127th Maine State Legislature’s standing Labor, Commerce, Research and Economic Development (LCRED) Committee on the following bills:

LD 404, An Act To Prohibit Public Employers from Acting as Collection Agents for Labor Unions
Rep. Lockman of Amherst

LD 489, An Act To Ensure the Right To Work without Payment of Dues or Fees to a Labor Union as a Condition of Employment
Rep. Lockman of Amherst

LD 1010, An Act To Afford Public Employers Flexibility To Achieve Efficiency and Quality in Management
Sen. Cushing of Penobscot

LD 1319, An Act To Ensure That Wages and Benefits of Maine State Employees Serve a Public Purpose
Rep. Ward of Dedham

LD 1351, An Act To Ensure that Membership of Public Employees in Unions is Voluntary
Rep. Stetkis of Canaan

LD 1353, An Act To Prohibit Mandatory Membership in a Union or Payment of Agency Fees as a Condition of Employment
Sen. Cushing of Penobscot

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May 3 – 9 is Maine Arson Awareness Week

Posted on May 7, 2015. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , |

Senator David Dutremble and Representative Michel Lajoie on behalf of the 127th Maine Legislature presented a copy of a joint resolution declaring the week of May 3 as Maine Arson Awareness Week to State Fire Marshal Joe Thomas this week. After a press conference, a live Arson Dog demonstration by Maine arson detection K9 teams Daniel Young with K9 Shasta, Scott Richardson with K9 Huff was conducted.

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Maine Takes Up Right to Food, GMO Labeling in Public Hearing

Posted on May 7, 2015. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , |

craigA large rally (pictures here)between the State House and Cross Building was held April 30, as hundreds gathered in Augusta to show support or testify on a series of food rights and GMO labeling bills heard by the 127th Maine Legislature’s standing Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry (AG) Committee:

    LD 456, An Act To Include Nonalcoholic Malt Beverages in the List of Exempt Products in the Law Regarding the Labeling of Genetically Engineered Products
    Rep. Black of Wilton

    LD 783, RESOLUTION, Proposing an Amendment to the Constitution of Maine To Establish a Right to Food
    Rep. Hickman of Winthrop

    LD 991, An Act To Amend Maine’s Genetically Modified Food Products Labeling Law
    Rep. Dunphy of Old Town

    LD 1326, An Act To Require Labeling of All Genetically Modified Products
    Sen. Burns of Washington

Here is video of the large rally.

During the five plus hour long public hearing, testimony was offered by a variety of individuals and organizations on both sides of the discussions, as well as local individuals and national interested parties. Among those non-legislative members who spoke or whose testimony was presented (partial list):

Proponents:

    Joel Salatin, author, Virginia farmer, and leading voice for small, ecologically-minded farmers
    Jonathan Emord, a Washington D.C.-based attorney and expert on states’ rights to pass GMO labeling laws
    Michael Hansen, senior scientist with the Consumers Union
    Katherine Paul, associate director of the Organic Consumers Association
    Nisha Swinton, New England Director, Food and Water Watch
    Jerry Greenfield, Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream co-founder (read by GOP Rep. Matt Pouliot of Augusta)
    Heather Spalding, deputy director of MOFGA

    Nancy Oden
    Bonnie Preston
    Brian Jones
    Heather Retberg
    Hendrik D. Gideonse
    Richard King
    Maria King
    Betsy Garrold
    Joy Metcalf

Opponents:

    Shelly Doak, Maine Grocers and Food Producers Association
    Greg Dugal, Maine Restaurant Association
    Jon Olson, Maine Farm Bureau
    Ellis Additon, Bureau of Agriculture, Food and Rural Resources
    Bruce Krupke, NorthEast Dairy Foods (New York)

Here are videos of the entire public hearing. The work session for these bills is set for May 7.

. https://youtu.be/yh_hIsRHZ74

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LePage’s Income Tax Constitutional Amendment Bill LD 1367 Offered in Committee

Posted on May 7, 2015. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , |

freHouse Minority Leader Ken Fredette (R-Newport) spoke before the 127th Legislature’s Taxation Committee this week regarding Governor Paul LePage’s bill LD 1367, “RESOLUTION, Proposing an Amendment to the Constitution of Maine To Eliminate the Income Tax” (photos).

From Democratic press release:

    Top Democrats on the Taxation Committee are raising strong concerns about the Governor’s proposed Constitutional amendment to abolish the income tax by 2020 ahead of today’s hearing on the bill.

    “We are going to be raising strong concerns during the hearing. The Governor’s bill is reckless and unpaid for. It provides huge tax breaks to the wealthy at the expense of the rest us,” said Rep. Adam Goode, D-Bangor, House Chair of the Taxation Committee. “Working families will see increasing property taxes, while investment in our students and workers will be gutted. It is terrible recipe for our economy.”

    According to the Legislature’s Office of Fiscal and Program Review, the proposal would cost $1.7 billion per year. It would force cuts in K-12 and higher education, with the majority of the benefit going to those with incomes greater than $392,000. Maine spends close to $1.2 billion on K-12 and higher education and $750 million on health care for children, seniors, and people with disabilities. Even if the governor cut all state funding for education and half the funding for health care, there still wouldn’t be enough money to cover the cost of eliminating Maine’s income tax.

    According to an analysis from the Maine Center for Economic analysis, the top 1 percent of Mainers – 7,000 households with incomes greater than $392,000 – will get a $61,000 income tax cut on average and account for 26 percent of the total amount. Meanwhile, middle-income Mainers – 140,000 households with incomes between $38,000 and $60,000 – will get a $900 income tax cut on average and account for less than 8 percent of the total, while property taxes and sales taxes rise.

    “Eliminating the income tax may sound great at first glance. But doing so would be reckless to both our state budget and local town budgets everywhere. It would force severe cuts like closing down every public school and college campus in Maine or raising the sales tax to 15 percent,” said Democratic State Senator Nate Libby of Lewiston, who serves on the Taxation Committee. “This is more of a political sound bite than a serious proposal.”

Here is video along with questions from committee members.

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LCRED 8 Minimum Wage Bill Work Session (3/31/15)

Posted on May 7, 2015. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , |

Videos taken of a work session 3/31/15 of the 127th Maine Legislature’s standing Labor, Commerce, Research and Economic Development (LCRED) Committee on the following bills:

LD 36, An Act To Increase the Minimum Wage
Rep. Evangelos of Friendship

LD 52, An Act To Adjust Maine’s Minimum Wage
Rep. Martin of Sinclair

LD 72, An Act To Increase the Minimum Wage
Rep. Hamann of South Portland

LD 77, An Act To Raise the Minimum Wage
Sen. Miramant of Knox

LD 92, An Act To Increase the Minimum Wage to $8.00 per Hour
Rep. Bates of Westbrook

LD 403, An Act To Eliminate the Exception from Minimum Wage Laws for Workers Who Receive Tips
Rep. Cooper of Yarmouth

LD 487, An Act To Provide for an Increase in the Minimum Wage
Rep. Chipman of Portland

LD 530, An Act To Improve Public Sector Collective Bargaining Laws
Sen. Patrick of Oxford

LD 612, An Act To Require a Large Employer To Provide a Paper Paystub upon Request from an Employee
Rep. Harlow of Portland

LD 673, An Act To Help Prevent Age Discrimination
Rep. Lajoie of Lewiston

LD 739, Resolve, To Establish a Working Group To Evaluate the Benefits and Detriments of Increasing the Minimum Wage
Sen. Saviello of Franklin

LD 843, An Act To Raise the Minimum Wage and Index It to the National Average Wage
Rep. Melaragno of Auburn

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Maine Democrats Hold Better Deal Town Hall in Brunswick (VIDEOS)

Posted on May 7, 2015. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , |

alfFrom the event page (photos here):

    Join House Speaker Mark Eves and Senate Democratic Leader Justin Alfond for the third town hall meeting on the Better Deal for Maine plan. The Better Deal for Maine rejects Governor Paul LePage’s trickle-down economics. It is a tax reform plan that grows the economy from the middle out, not the top down. It cuts taxes for the middle class, lowers property taxes for all Maine homeowners and invests in Maine schools, workers and communities.

    Read the full plan here: http://betterdeal.me/

Below are the videos of the full event, held at the UU Church in Brunswick last night. Attendance was high and the questions ranged from the Democrats’ plan to other issues being weighed in the Legislature and Augusta currently. Unlike the Governor’s events, neither the questions nor people asking them were not screened before speaking.

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