Maine District 59
It’s been an interesting week at the state house - both rewarding and frustrating.
First, the good news and successes.
It was rewarding to see that the legislature voted “Ought Not to Pass” on this bill - "An Act To Protect Maine's Economy by Slowing the Rate at Which the State's Minimum Wage Will Increase and Establishing a Training and Youth Wage"
The points are really rather simple. The voters expressed without hesitation that it was time to raise the minimum wage in Maine. We are among the poorest states in the country, and we need to lift Mainers out of poverty. I listened to speech after speech which outlined the damaging effects on small business. Not a single remark ever detailed the relationship between an owner’s salary and the lowest paid employee's salary. I am always fascinated to see if there is a relationship between how much the lowest paid employee earns and how much the management or owner earns.
And, hats off to Representative Ryan Fecteau, who spoke so convincingly, and so well about the issue. This young man is going places.
Second, it was rewarding to override the veto on LD 1476 - "An Act To Ensure Continued Coverage for Essential Health Care," sponsored by Representative Jay McCreight. This bill simply seeks to continue the insurance plan for essential health care for Maine’s most needy citizens. It is not in fact a great expensive bill, but provides for emergency care and continuing care for this most needy population. When we care for our residents we care for our state.
Third, on the more challenging side - it is difficult indeed to know what to do in regard to L.D. 1666 “An Act To Ensure the Successful Implementation of Proficiency-based Diplomas by Extending the Timeline for Phasing in Their Implementation” Representative Tori Kornfield has proposed this bill to the Education and Cultural Affairs Committee in order to protect those grade 9 students who are currently engaged in the Proficiency Based Diploma Law, but who may not be able to meet the stated proficiencies in order to graduate.
The current status of the bill is revolving around an amendment to the bill proposed by Representative Heidi Sampson to remove the entire proficiency based diploma law. And then it gets complex, because we must ask if this amendment is only expedient and hence not process driven. The amendment removes the law without appropriate, timely, or coherent discussion - the amendment ambushes the democratic process.
On the other hand, the Republican led administration has clearly not provided either leadership or guidance in implementing the law of their own creation for the last six years. The law, created under a Republican agenda, has been left floundering and flapping about - making life for teachers and administrators in the state all but impossible.
And most importantly, the victims have been the children.
For me it is ironic that a Republican amendment seeks to remove a Republican initiative. I am forced to ask - “If they don’t like it, why should anyone else?”
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