2017-04-30 Update

2017-04-30
Legislative Update

Introduction
It feels as if the “third” term has begun.  In that idea of three eight week terms, we are in the last term of the session.  This means more legislative sessions, more direct work, and additional time.  I think one has to live through the whole process before understanding it fully.


House Calendars
   Tuesday, April 25, 2017
   Thursday, April 27, 2017

Bill Text -> Bill Text
 
Bill Status -> Bill Status

Testimony Link -> Bill Testimony
This is really a great resource as you can see all the testimony presented on any given bill.


Events Calendars -> Events


This week in the House -

There’s always votes happening now in session, and it happens very quickly.

But one bill stands out to me as significant - and I’m not sure it got the deliberation it needed.  The bill to move Maine to the Atlantic Time Zone was a complex piece of legislation.  The proposal really hinged on two variables - the decision of Massachusetts and New Hampshire to do the same thing, and the decision to put the matter to a referendum of Maine voters.

My own view was different, and my votes showed that.  I do believe that time zones and the impact of changing time zones can affect the daily life and the economy of the state of Maine.  

Time zones were originally established to make sure that the trains ran on time.  They were not a convenience.  I do believe that we owe it to everyone in our time zone to be on the same time.

Essentially, this is a federal issue and not a state’s issue.  So many people could be affected up and done the most populous portion of this country that to think about the impact on Maine is provincial.  If we lead the country - let us lead in the right direction.

This is not to say that doing away with daylight saving time is not a good idea - but that was not in the bill.  Although originally proposed by Ben Franklin, daylight saving time was actually first utilized by the Germans to make economize on coal use as they prepared for WWI.  Daylight savings time in the 21’st century is not necessary - we just like it because it gives us daylight in the evening.  But again, that was not the bill.

You might want to consult this link at Wikipedia -> Daylight Saving Time


This week in the Education Committee

Though there were several bills in the Education and Cultural Affairs Committee this week, I was very impressed with a bill proposed by Representative Jay McCreight to provide professional coaching for teachers who encounter students facing mental health needs.  She writes, “The intention of the bill is to make sure educators who are already tasked with teaching secondary students about mental health have accurate and up-to-date, nonstigmatizing information AND that they are better able to recognize a student in need of help.  A key part of the program, a national, evidence-based program, is to make these educators aware of service providers in their own community to whom they can refer students for that help.”  

Providing this kind of resource for our teachers who are in the front lines of working with students is so very, very important.  The copy of the bill can be seen by clicking -> LD 1335 - Mental Health Support

And, we do live in the state of Maine.  We have many natural resources -and especially our forests.  The folks at Maine Woodlands sent along a great newsletter. This is well worth downloading for a good read about several aspects of living in Maine.  And, that section on Maine birds is well worth studying!  The newsletter can be seen by clicking -> Maine Woodlands

 

 

 


Reflections

Yes, a busy week.  The evenings this week were also busy.

Tuesday - a town hall meeting here in Lewiston on “The Opportunity Budget.”  Look for a separate blog posting in a few days.

Wednesday - a dinner to celebrate the excellent work of New Beginnings.  This is an organization we can all support as they provide core services to young people trying to make it in a confusing world.

Thursday - a Democratic caucus meeting in Augusta about upcoming bills and our focus on providing opportunities for Maine citizens.  

Yes, busy.  

As always, feel free to write to me and let me know your thoughts.




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