Friends, I wanted to write to you to provide an update about some of the work that is happening in the Legislature in the last couple of weeks and what’s ahead for us.
I am happy to share exciting and long-overdue news that the full State Legislature will be returning to session on March 10th and 11th at the Augusta Civic Center to vote on bill proposals that have been in front of our policy committees. After 2 months of public hearings and work sessions where our committees deliberated each word in each draft in the language of the possible legislation presented to us from Senators and Representatives from every corner in the state, the full body of legislators can now consider and voice their informed opinions on the legislative process.
A livestream video of the proceedings will be available on the State Legislature’s website located here: legislature.maine.gov/Audio/#house_chamber.
Last week in the Agriculture, Conservation & Forestry Committee, we heard a proposal to amend the constitution to establish a right to food. This bill would ensure that anyone can grow, harvest, or gather their own sustenance without infringement, as long as they do not infringe upon others. We also heard measures to eliminate online burn permit fees and provide Gold Star families free entry to our State Parks and historic sites.
Notably, our committee also voted unanimously to give a piece of land in Augusta for homes for our veterans.
This coming week, we will hear a bill proposal to prohibit the aerial spraying of glyphosate and other synthetic herbicides. This measure was submitted because of the large impact aerial spraying has on neighboring farmers, particularly located in the unorganized territory. We will also hear bills on establishing a new program focusing on soil policy and another measure that would provide free State Park passes to persons with disabilities.
Last week in the Criminal Justice & Public Safety Committee, I presented my bill to provide Corrections support staff a past due, rightfully owed raise that they were left out 5 years ago. Our committee also heard a bill that would require the use of propane and natural gas detectors which was legislation that was submitted following the awful accident in Farmington.
This coming week, we will be voting on my sponsored proposal to give Corrections facilities support staff a raise, and the mentioned legislation requiring the use of propane and natural gas detectors. We will also be voting to criminalize recording an incident in progress but failing to report the incident immediately to the appropriate authority, and voting to create an alert system to notify the public when a person with an intellectual or developmental disability goes missing - much like a silver or amber alert.
You can follow all of my work online for the Agriculture Committee online at this link. We regularly meet on Tuesdays & Thursdays at 9am. Also, you can follow my work on the Criminal Justice Committee online at this link. We meet on Mondays & Wednesdays at 9am for that committee.
I hope you’re all healthy and staying warm. Please let me know if you have any questions or need help with a government agency. It’s my honor to represent you in Augusta.