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Speaker Gideon Statement on Rep. Tipping

Tue, 14 Feb 2017 15:57:43 EST

AUGUSTA - Speaker of the House Sara Gideon issued the following statement in response to Rep. Ryan Tipping's employment by the Question 2, Stand Up for Students Campaign:


"Rep. Tipping worked for a campaign that ended on November 8th. He not only cleared this employment with the Maine Ethics Commission before he began with the campaign, but also after the campaign was over and before his work in the 128th Legislative session started. Rep. Tipping worked for a cause that he passionately believes in, which Democrats believe in, to ensure that our schools are adequately funded.


"Maine has a long tradition of a citizen's legislature and many of our representatives are actively employed by various private businesses and nonprofits impacted by our work.


"This referendum is now law, which Republicans are trying to repeal through the legislative process. We are proud to be a citizen's legislature and I look forward to having the necessary and relevant discussion about how to ensure how students in every corner of our State are successful."


Question 2, as passed by Maine voters in the November 2016 election, fulfills the state's commitment to pay for 55% of education costs through a 3% surcharge on income over $200,000.


Contact:


Mary Erin Casale | (207) 415-4965



Measure to give locals final say on renaming township "Sinclair" advances

Fri, 10 Feb 2017 16:17:49 EST

AUGUSTA- A bill to give locals final say on renaming Township 17R4 "Sinclair" earned unanimous support from a legislative panel Monday.


Rep. Roland "Danny" Martin, D-Sinclair, introduced the measure to authorize the Aroostook County Commissioners to seek approval from the registered voters of Township 17R4 to rename the township to Sinclair.


Martin, who grew up in Township 17R4, explained that the township is known by many different names, such as Sinclair, T17R4 and Long Lake, which has been causing confusion for many years. "The Township of 17R4 is often called Sinclair because the Sinclair family were early settlers of our village. It gives me great pleasure to introduce this legislation," said Martin.


"The essence of democracy is to enfranchise its citizens to have the opportunity to make decisions about the future. This bill exemplifies that tradition and gives true meaning to our system of governance," said Douglas Beaulieu, Aroostook County Administrator, who submitted written testimony in support of the bill during the public hearing last Wednesday.


The bill, LD 24, will face future votes in both the Maine House and Senate.


Contact:


Lindsay Crete [Martin] c. 231-1442



Parker to serve on Child Care Advisory Council

Fri, 10 Feb 2017 12:06:56 EST

AUGUSTA - Rep. Jennifer Parker, D-South Berwick, has been appointed by House Speaker Sara Gideon to serve on the state Child Care Advisory Council.
"Children are our greatest resource and the hope for our future. Making sure they are cared for in a safe and nurturing environment is critical," said Parker. "I'm honored and excited to be appointed to Maine's Child Care Advisory Council."
The board was created by the Legislature in 1993 to advise the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to promote quality, uniformity and efficiency of service. The 28-member panel includes representatives from DHHS, the Department of Education and the Fire Marshall's office, industry representatives, child care providers and legislators.
Parker is in her first term in the Maine House. She represents part of North Berwick and part of South Berwick and serves on the Legislature's Health and Human Services Committee.


Contact:


Lindsay Crete [Parker], c. 231-1442



Windham Middle School student sings national anthem at the State House

Tue, 14 Feb 2017 15:04:21 EST

Reps. Mark Bryant, D-Windham, and Patrick Corey, R-Windham, welcomed Windham Middle School student Maddie Hancock to the State House Tuesday. Hancock performed a beautiful rendition of the national anthem in the House of Representatives at the start of Tuesday's session.


Contact:


Lindsay Crete [Bryant], c. 231-1442


From left to right: Rep. Patrick Corey, R-Windham, Maddie Hancock and Rep. Mark Bryant, D-Windham.



Bipartisan group continues push to protect Maine seniors

Wed, 08 Feb 2017 13:11:51 EST

Augusta | Lawmakers from both parties attended the first meeting of the second Legislative Caucus on Aging Tuesday, held in the Maine State House.
The caucus, co-chaired by Democratic House Majority Leader Erin Herbig of Belfast and Republican Sen. Amy Volk of Scarborough, is a continuation of the first-ever Caucus on Aging which achieved significant bipartisan work during the last Legislature to help Maine seniors.
"Whether it's skipping medication to pay for property taxes that are too high, feeling alone and worried about being a burden to family members or struggling to find rides to the grocery store, seniors in Maine are struggling," said Rep. Herbig. "The Aging Caucus led lawmakers in passing bills last session to tackle those same challenges, often over the governor's veto. I look forward to continuing that effort with Senator Volk."
Former Democratic Speaker Mark Eves of North Berwick and Republican Sen. David Burns of Whiting founded Maine's first Legislative Caucus on Aging during the 127th Legislature. As a result of the bipartisan work of the caucus, lawmakers passed 18 bills to support seniors.
Of those 18 passed bills, the governor signed one, vetoed nine and left eight unsigned.
"The governor has recently said he is concerned about the stability of Maine seniors," said Rep. Herbig. "His veto pen didn't back that up last session, but I'm hopeful he will work with lawmakers this time around."
The bills passed during the 127th Legislature included key pieces of Speaker Eves' Keep ME Home initiative, specifically a $15 million affordable senior housing bond, increased reimbursement for in-home care workers and doubling of the homestead exemption to provide greater property tax relief for all Maine homeowners. The Legislature also passed legislation increasing respite funding for family caregivers, establishing a new money management program for seniors, and increasing protections against abusive debt collection practices.
Despite increased need for affordable housing and 70 percent voter approval, Gov. LePage has yet to release the affordable senior housing bond passed in 2015. Ten-thousand Mainers are currently waiting for safe, affordable housing in their own communities.
In addition to hearing from aging experts and older adults, the Aging Caucus will also examine recommendations on legislation compelling the governor to release the affordable senior housing bond, investing in public transportation, increasing reimbursement rates for direct care providers and rebuilding the Property Tax Relief Credit to provide property tax relief to low-and middle-income seniors.
"We can learn from communities across the state of Maine that continue to fill the gaps the state has ignored for too long," added Herbig. "There is absolutely no reason we can't work together to make aging, or caring for a loved one who is aging, easier in Maine."



Bangor High School students visit State House

Mon, 06 Feb 2017 13:37:31 EST

Photo: Reps. Barbara Cardone and Victoria Kornfield, both D-Bangor, greeted students from Bangor High School Thursday, Jan. 26, in the Hall of Flags of the Maine State House. The students were in Augusta as part of the Maine Mathematics and Science Alliance.


Contact:


Lindsay Crete [Cardone, Kornfield], c. 231-1442



Local lawmakers to serve on state fire protection panel

Thu, 02 Feb 2017 15:01:35 EST

AUGUSTA - Local Reps. Catherine Nadeau, D-Winslow, and Thomas Longstaff, D-Waterville, have been appointed to serve on the Maine Fire Protection Services Commission.


"The Fire Protection Services Commission brings together experts in fire prevention and public safety to keep Mainers safe," said Nadeau. "From educating the public to making sure firefighters have access to the best training and resources, there is so much we can do to prevent and respond to fires. I'm glad to be a part of this important work."


The panel was created by the Legislature in 1999 to evaluate the state's fire protection services and advise policymakers on necessary changes and updates. The 23-member commission includes municipal fire chiefs, firefighters, representatives of several public safety and emergency management agencies and other stakeholders.


Nadeau is serving her third term in the Maine House. She represents Winslow and part of Benton. Longstaff is serving his fourth term and represents part of Waterville.


Both lawmakers are also members of the Legislature's Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee, which oversees the Office of the State Fire Marshal and policy related to fire prevention.


Contact:


Lindsay Crete [Longstaff, Nadeau], c. 231-1442



Herbig joins Waldo County midwives to support rural healthcare

Wed, 01 Feb 2017 11:02:06 EST

AUGUSTA | On Tuesday, Rep. Erin Herbig, D-Belfast, testified in support of LD 130, a bill she is cosponsoring entitled "An Act to Provide Funding for Costs Associated with Requiring the Licensing of Midwives."


"Like many new moms, I worry about whether or not my 15 month old son Charles will grow up in a safe place, with opportunities to grow up healthy and happy," said Rep. Herbig. "If a single woman in rural Maine has to worry about her health and safety as she brings her child into the world, that's a problem. LD 130 is a solution."


Rep. Herbig worked closely with Waldo County midwives including Ellie Daniels, Laura Seaton and Christine Yentes to mobilize stakeholders across the state over the last three years to improve Maine's midwifery network.


The 127th Legislature overwhelmingly approved a bill sponsored by Sen. Volk, R-Scarborough, and Rep. Herbig entitled "An Act to Ensure the Safety of Home Birth" which established a set of standards for licensing professional midwives. The bill has yet to be implemented due to funding constraints. LD 130 addresses those fiscal constraints by providing funding for three years, at which point licensing fees from midwives are expected to cover the costs associated with the board's operation.


Photo: Rep Erin Herbig, D-Belfast, testifies before the Legislature's Labor, Commerce, Research and Economic Development Committee in support of LD 130. The bill provides funding for the licensing of midwives.


Contact:


Lindsay Crete c. 231-1442



Dunphy to serve on state Board of Agriculture

Wed, 01 Feb 2017 09:15:09 EST

AUGUSTA - Rep. Michelle Dunphy, D-Old Town, has been appointed by House Speaker Sara Gideon to serve on the state Board of Agriculture.
"I look forward to working with the university system and cooperative extension as a member of the board," said Dunphy, who is also House chair of the Legislature's Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Committee. "Their work is so important to the success of farmers and growers in our state, and a thriving agricultural sector is vital to our rural economy."
The board was created by the Legislature in 1998 to advise University of Maine System leadership on research priorities and the needs of the state's agricultural community. The 20-member panel includes industry representatives and researchers as well as two members of the Legislature's agriculture panel.
Dunphy is serving her second term in the Maine House. She represents Old Town and Penobscot Indian Island.


Contact:


Lindsay Crete [Dunphy], c. 231-1442



Gray-New Gloucester High School Band performs at State House

Tue, 31 Jan 2017 15:20:51 EST

Reps. Dale Denno, D-Cumberland, and Susan Austin, R-Gray, welcomed members of the Gray-New Gloucester High School Band to the State House Tuesday. The band performed the national anthem in the Maine House of Representatives during the day's opening ceremonies.


Contact:


Lindsay Crete [Denno], c. 231-1442



Speaker Sara Gideon Announces House Members of Marijuana Legalization Implementation Committee

Tue, 31 Jan 2017 15:15:45 EST

AUGUSTA - Maine Speaker of the House Sara Gideon announced which representatives will serve on the Select Committee on Marijuana Legalization Implementation. The Committee was established following a joint order from the Legislature earlier this month to address outstanding issues regarding implementation of marijuana legalization.


House members of the Marijuana Legalization Implementation Committee are:
Teresa S. Pierce, Chair (D-Falmouth)
Kimberly J. Monaghan (D-Cape Elizabeth)
Scott M. Hamann (D-South Portland)
Craig V. Hickman (D-Winthrop)
Erik C. Jorgensen (D-Portland)
Lydia C. Blume (D-York)
Donald G. Marean (R-Hollis)†
Bruce A. Bickford (R-Auburn)
Lance Evans Harvell (R-Farmington)
Patrick W. Corey (R-Windham)
Michael D. Perkins (R-Oakland)
Kent Ackley (C-Monmouth)


†Ranking Republican Member


Contact:


Mary Erin Casale, 207-415-4965



Rep. Berry responds to PUC net metering decision

Tue, 31 Jan 2017 14:23:55 EST

AUGUSTA - Today the Maine Public Utilities Commission (PUC) adopted a ">http://www.maine.gov/tools/whatsnew/index.php?topic=puc-pressreleases&id=729614&v=article08"> final rule that would make significant and potentially damaging changes to Maine's net metering system which has incentivized the proliferation of clean renewable energy technologies statewide and across the country.


Representative Seth Berry, D-Bowdoinham, House chair of the Legislature's Energy, Utilities and Technology Committee released the following statement:


"Clean renewable energy sources are the best pathway our state has to lower energy prices, more good-paying jobs and a smaller carbon footprint. The rule adopted today by the PUC seems to take us in the wrong direction by making major and disruptive changes despite overwhelming public input regarding risks to our energy and jobs markets. This rulemaking only underscores the need for the Legislature to move quickly to protect jobs, ensure market stability and keep Mainers in control of their energy future."


Background:


The Maine Public Utilities Commission (PUC) adopted a Proposed Rule on Net Energy Billing (net metering) on September 13, 2016, and held a public hearing on the proposal October 17, 2016. In response, the PUC received several hundred comments, the overwhelming majority of which were opposed to the Proposed Rule. While initially stating it would have a final rule in place by the end of 2016, the PUC announced on December 19 that it would take additional time to consider its rule-making.Contact:


Lindsay Crete 231-1442



Rep. Sheats sworn into Maine House of Representatives

Mon, 30 Jan 2017 14:45:38 EST

Rep. Bettyann W. Sheats, D-Auburn, was sworn into the 128th Maine House of Representatives on Wednesday, Dec. 7.


Sheats represents House District 64 which serves part of Auburn and Minot.


Contact:


Lindsay Crete [Sheats], c. 231-1442



Rep. Lawrence sworn into Maine House of Representatives

Mon, 30 Jan 2017 11:31:13 EST

Rep. Mark W. Lawrence, D-South Berwick, was sworn into the 128th Maine House of Representatives on Wednesday, Dec. 7.


Lawrence represents House District 2 which serves Eliot, Kittery and part of South Berwick.


Contact:


Lindsay Crete [Lawrence], c. 231-1442



New Lewiston Reps. sworn into Maine House

Mon, 30 Jan 2017 11:26:52 EST

Reps. Jason Fuller and James R. Handy, both D-Lewiston, were sworn into the 128th Maine House of Representatives on Wednesday, Dec. 7.


Handy represents House District 58 and Fuller represents House District 59.


Contact:


Lindsay Crete [Fuller, Handy], c. 231-1442