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Preview: News from Senator John Martin-District 35

News from Senator John Martin-District 35



News from Senator John Martin



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Senator Martin Seeks FOA Request

Thu, 12 Jul 2007 14:36:33 EDT

School administrators fail to provide leadership on consolidation plan

AUGUSTA-Assistant Senate Majority Leader John Martin, D-Aroostook County, today said he is seeking Freedom of Access (FOA) requests from the Maine School Management Association, Maine School Superintendent Association, the Maine School Board Association, the Maine Education Association, and the Maine Municipal Association regarding their lobbying involvement in relation to the school administrative consolidation reform efforts before the Maine Legislature.

"They have been a part of the negotiations all along, and lawmakers like me have discovered that no matter how much we work with them, or compromise with them on this issue, they are more interested in protecting their own turf. It is unclear to me how we can sustain the administrative juggernaut at the top of our K-12 education system, while trying to maximize spending on our school children and lower property taxes," said Senator Martin.

Senator Martin pointed out that public funds pay the dues, and ultimately support these organizations. For example, Maine School Management will likely lose half their membership and their dues if the legislature approves the school district consolidation plan that would lower the number of school districts from 290 to 80. "This clearly is a self-sustaining action on their behalf to protect themselves over the interests of Maine Taxpayers and Maine Children," added Senator Martin.

Senator Martin continued, "It is also disconcerting to me that no matter how many times we have moved the goal posts on the school administrative consolidation plan giving communities more local control over the issue, increasing the number of school districts, delaying its implementation, and allowing for smaller school districts; superintendents and their allies have failed to tell their members of the compromises we have made."

Specifically, the FOA request seeks information on all expenses relating to the amount of time spent on all legal work, drafting of proposed amendments, communications with their membership, including mail, email, and phone calls. The request also asks for information about the expenses spent by staff of Maine Education Association, Maine School Management and its related associations advocating or informing legislators, teachers and any of their related members related to this issue.

The school administrative consolidation plan is included as part of the legislative budget. The K-12 education portion of the budget reaches a landmark achievement of over $1 billion in education funding annually by the state to local communities or the culmination of the legislative statute requiring the state to contribute 55 percent of the costs of local education annually.

Senator Martin pointed out that after this two-year budget cycle, it will be imperative for communities to find savings at the local level because the state can't afford to spend any more money without raising taxes.

He also added that while legislators are on track to meet a mandate by Maine Taxpayers to fund 55 percent of local education, MEA, Maine School Management, and the Maine School Superintendents have failed taxpayers and our K-12 education system by ultimately working against school administrative consolidation proposals that have been before the legislature for months.

The Freedom of Access Act is covered under Title 1 Chapter 13 Subchapter 1 of Maine law.



Martin Bill Would Encourage MaineCare Recipients to Quit Smoking

Mon, 23 Apr 2007 17:18:56 EDT

Augusta-The Health and Human Services Committee, Tuesday, will continue work on a bill that would require MaineCare, as well as private insurers, to reduce the barriers to effective tobacco cessation treatment.

Assistant Senate Majority John Martin, D-Aroostook County, who introduced the bill said, there is a proven cost benefit to insurance companies to treating tobacco addiction. Senator Martin added, tobacco cessation programs would provide a health benefit similar to preventive health practices such regular mammograms and the treatment of hypertension and cholesterol.

Over $600 million in health costs are incurred every year in Maine as a result of tobacco use. Every smoker who quits saves the health care system $8500 by reducing cancer, heart, and lung disease.

No Maine insurance product, including MaineCare, offers barrier-free treatment coverage.

Who: Senator John Martin What: Work Session: LD 1421, Resolve, to Remove Barriers to Smoking Cessation Programs in Maine

When: Tuesday, April 24th @ 2:00 p.m.

Listen to the Health and Human Services Committee online at: http://janus.state.me.us/legis/audio/health_cmte.html

More info about the bill available online at: http://janus.state.me.us/legis/LawMakerWeb/summary.asp?ID=280024199




Judiciary Committee Green Lights Bill Preventing Deadbeat Parents from Registering ATVs, Snowmobiles

Thu, 12 Apr 2007 16:13:06 EDT

"Deadbeat parents are going to have to pay if they want to play with their toys"

AUGUSTA-The Legislature's Judiciary Committee, Wednesday, unanimously approved an amended version of a bill sponsored by Assistant Senate Majority Leader John Martin, D-Aroostook County, that would prevent a person who defaults on child support payments from registering a snowmobile or ATV.

Commenting on the Judiciary Committee's endorsement of the bill, Senator Martin said, "Deadbeat parents are going to have to pay if they want to play with their toys."

He continued, "If someone is out there riding around on an ATV or snowmobile and they are negligent in their financial obligations as a parent, then they need to seriously prioritize what they are doing."

State Senator Barry Hobbins, the Senate Chair of the Judiciary Committee said, "It is incumbent upon every parent out there to do the best job they can to look out for the well being of their children." Senator Hobbins added, "Perhaps this bill can help motivate a few more people to do the right thing."

Senator Hobbins pointed out that the Department of Health and Human Services provided the committee with some very supportive data in favor of the proposed law. DHHS said that when a similar change was made requiring those applying for the annual Moose Lottery to pay to play, one deadbeat dad paid a lump sum of $30,000 to be a part of the lottery process.

Senator Hobbins added, "Licenses are pulled for doctors, lawyers, and other professions who don't pay child support so this bill gives DHHS another tool to help encourage child support payments for ATV or snowmobile riders."

The bill, LD 1011, An Act To Enhance Child Support Collections in Maine, is being redrafted and is expected to go to the Maine Senate for consideration by the end of the month.

More info about this bill can be found online at: http://janus.state.me.us/legis/LawMakerWeb/summary.asp?ID=280023696