The Legislature is certainly getting busier. Sessions are longer as the House and Senate are considering bills that have been reported out of the Legislative Joint Standing Committees. When the members of the committees don’t all agree on whether a bill should pass or not, it’s called a divided report. These are the bills that are most often debated on the floor and are the subject of roll call votes. We have voted on issues like Real ID, instituting the popular vote for president and whether to allow statutory exemption from road posting for vehicles carrying animal bedding, among others.
In the Environment and Natural Resources Committee, we have been working on the very complicated and technical issues involved with metallic ore mining. The issue has been revisited for the last 5 years and has been controversial. The committee currently has 6 mining bills in front of us. We have also heard bills regarding planning for sea level rise, subdivision changes, shoreland zoning, milfoil, solid waste management, product stewardship and will soon be hearing about water quality standards and fracking.
Rep. Rich Cebra (from Naples) and I worked together across the aisle to address the issue of septic waste being dumped overboard into our lakes, ponds and rivers. My bill, LD 357 has passed through the House and hopefully will pass easily through the Senate this week. Rep. Cebra and I, along with the cooperation from the Department of Environmental Protection and Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, increased the minimum fine for the first infraction and insured that signage educating people about the issue will be posted at boat launches across the state.
Over the next few weeks there will be debate on many issues, including the budget. It is my hope that we will be able to pass a budget that is fair, fully funds 55% of state aid to education and doesn’t shift even more of the cost back onto property taxpayers.
Several students from the district have signed up to act as Honorary Pages in the House. If you are interested in the Honorary Page Program, please contact the Office of the Clerk of the House at: 287-1400. The page program is a great way for kids to learn more about how the Maine House of Representatives works.
I can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at: 415-4218, if you would like to discuss these or any other issues.
I am also holding “Constituent Office Hours” throughout the district; the next date is scheduled for May 2, from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at the Casco Town Office. Additionally, Sen. Diamond and I will be holding a Town Hall meeting on Saturday May 6 from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at the Raymond Public Safety Building.