As the 130th Session of the Maine State Legislature kicks off, PenBayPilot.com has reached out to each area state legislator to see what is at the forefront of the minds for each of them.
Senator David Miramant, D-Camden, has been serving in the Maine Legislature since 2006, when he was elected to serve Midcoast constituents in the Maine House of Representatives. He then moved to the Maine Senate in 2014.
Sen. Miramant, who will be term-limited in 2022, represents District 12, which includes Appleton, Camden, Criehaven Township, Cushing, Friendship, Hope, Isle au Haut, Matinicus Isle Plantation, Muscle Ridge Islands Township, North Haven, Owl’s Head, Rockland, Rockport, South Thomaston, St. George, Thomaston, Union, Vinalhaven and Warren.
During the 129th legislative session, Sen. Miramant saw Governor Janet Mills add her signature to seven bills he introduced, including acts to amend Maine’s hemp laws; allow the sale of ethanol-free gasoline statewide; establish the right to practice complementary and alternative health care act; make technical changes to Maine’s marine resources law; ensure the legislature has the information necessary to do the work of Mainers; regarding the duties of the public advocate; and regarding the testing of adult use marijuana and marijuana products.
Sen. Miramant’s bill from the 129th legislative session regarding a ban on child marriages became law without the signature of Governor Mills.
Heading into the 130th Session of the Maine State Legislature, Sen. Miramant identified three priorities for the new term:
Move the Legislature into the State House;
Ensure citizens are paid fairly for their work; and
Protect Maine’s environment while creating good-paying jobs.
During the new term, Sen. Miramant will have his hands full with committee and commission work as the chair of the Marine Resources Committee, chair of the Citizen Trade Policy Commission, chair of the Marijuana Policy Advisory Commission and lead senator of the Labor and Housing Committee.
Ahead of the December deadline to submit legislation requests, Sen. Miramant requested 30 pieces of legislation be brought before the Legislature addressing topics such as rank-choice voting for gubernatorial elections; eliminating the requirement for an annual inspection of noncommercial vehicles; and requiring the public posting of all medical procedures, services and costs of medications and equipment delivered in hospitals and the reporting of those costs upon request.
Other bills Sen. Miramant requested for consideration include false reporting of hate crimes, requiring the State to meet the 55 percent contribution to schools; prohibit credit card companies from having more than 12 billing cycles to prevent charging late fees and penalties two more times a year; prevent pollution from single-use plastic straws, splash sticks and beverage lid plugs; and controlling the hunting of coyotes.
With President-Elect Joe Biden poised to place more emphasis on combating climate change, Sen. Miramant noted in a Jan. 16 email his support for the expansion of offshore wind generation of electricity to be paired alongside the expansion of solar energy.
“This combination will clean the environment while creating good-paying jobs for Maine,” he said.
Sen. Miramant also pointed out other ways for Maine to tackle ways to address climate change.
“We need to reduce our waste by requiring less packaging and more recycling and by not letting other states and countries import their waste to Maine to foul our air, land and water,” he said. “These are all things we can do already and having support from the [federal government] will just make it easier to implement and expand.”
Despite a politically divided climate nationwide, Sen. Miramant is confident bipartisan work can be achieved within the Legislature.
“A lot of the rhetoric we see during campaigns is left behind when we start our work,” he said. “We meet each other and learn what ways we see things differently while we try do our best for our constituents and the state. Using our differences to best resolve the issue and come together makes for better solutions. Ideologies have to be acknowledged and worked with which results in split votes on occasion.”
On the topic of a politically divided nation, Sen. Miramant rejected acts contrary to the nation’s democratic freedoms.
“I'm not sure what to do about the radicalization of the extremists except to reject violence and be quick to shut it down,” he said. “There can be no tolerance of abusive, destructive and violent acts but I do not expect that from my colleagues.”
As a veteran legislator, Sen. Miramant shared some general advice for incoming group of legislators, which includes the Midcoast’s Valli Geiger (House District 93; Owls Head and Rockland) and Glenn “Chip” Curry (Senate District 11; Waldo County).
“This job will test your patience and help you to find new depths to draw from,” he said. “There will be some folks who work against you so get ahead of them by thoroughly understanding the rules, your bill as it fits with current law, and the personalities of your colleagues.”
Sen. Miramant further noted the experience of serving in the Legislature presents new learning experiences even to its most veteran members.
“Whether you are in the Legislature for two years or 20 [years] you will learn something new every day,” he said. “You will develop compassion and understanding for your colleagues and constituents which will give you a broad perspective for the human condition. Embrace the fullness of the opportunity you have worked so hard for and the trust that you have been given.”