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Suit Up Maine collaborates with other grassroots groups, legislators, and statewide advocacy organizations to identify and track bills on a range of progressive issues each year. The th Legislature began in December and adjourned July 19 following an unusual session in which all committee hearings and business were conducted remotely. We tracked more than 60 bills this session. See below to find out where that legislation landed. Want to submit testimony for a bill? Check out the FAQ on this for instructions! Legislators will convene at the State House in early June to vote on a host of bills.
Not sure who your legislators are? Find them HERE.
Maine House: leave a voic speak to staff Maine Senate: leave a voic speak to staff TTY: Use Maine Relay Legislative Information Office: Pro Tip: s from constituents are particularly persuasive. Find addresses HERE. Paid Family and Medical Leave. Emergency Sponsor: Sen. Matthea Daughtry D-Cumberland. The U. Legislators are proposing a bill to create a commission to study options for a paid family and medical leave PFML system in Maine and draft a plan to implement it.
Studies suggest paid family leave reduces the financial burden of illness, boosts worker morale and productivity, and supports economic growth. In Maine, Black Mainers and women are more likely to work frontline jobs where they have less access to benefits. Women are also more likely to be primary caregivers, and to leave the workforce to care for family. PFML is popular nationwide and in Maine, with Learn more about the bill from Maine Paid Leave Coalition.
The Committee on Labor and Housing held a public hearing May 7 read the testimony and voted the bill Ought to Pass with broad, tri-partisan support. The bill passed the Senatewith 2 Republicans ing all Democrats voting in favor, and passedwith 1 Republican ing all Democrats and independents voting in favor. See how your legislator voted. E xpanding child care in rural Maine. This bill would create a pilot project to expand and enhance available quality child care in Maine by creating the First 4 ME Early Care and Education Programrun by DHHS, to provide comprehensive, high-quality care for at-risk children under age 6 who are not in kindergarten.
The project would increase the of child care slots in Maine by creating up to 5 pilot child care programs sponsored and led by stakeholders in the communities they serve. The programs would expand existing facilities and provide coaching and additional provider support. Funding for the project would come from grants and private donations in addition to state and federal funds. A similar bill was introduced last year received wide support, but died when the Legislature adjourned early due to the pandemic.
The bill passed in the Senate on a voice vote no roll call and in the House see how your legislator voted and was ed into law by the governor. Unemployment system reform.
This legislation seeks to address the problems created by an outdated state unemployment insurance UI system, which was unable to adequately support Mainers who found themselves out of work during the COVID pandemic. The bill will begin to address staffing challenges at the Maine Department of Labor MDOLa result of budget cuts during the Le administration that have left the department with half of its headcount. The legislation will modernize MDOL services and create a navigator system that leverages labor and community groups to help underserved workers access benefits more easily.
Before the pandemic, only 1 in 4 Maine workers qualified for unemployment insurancea problem the legislation addresses by expanding eligibility for more people, including workers who are partially unemployed. LD supports families of unemployed parents by increasing supplemental benefits for dependent children for the first time in two decades and provides a safety net for people forced to leave work due to the loss of child care, lack of transportation, or similar reasons.
It also requires employers to file UI claims for workers impacted by a mass layoff or reduction in hours and penalizes them if they discourage a worker from applying for benefits. This bill was crafted based on feedback from Mainers with personal experience of the UI system during the pandemic, many of whom are freelance and gig workers, self-employed small business owners, independent contractors, and working poor who string together enough part-time work to make ends meet.
The Committee on Labor and Housing held a public hearing May 3 read the testimony and held two work sessions. Eloise Vitelli D-Sagadahocwhich expands the reforms even further. In addition to the reforms outlined above, LD also adds transportation, child care, and elder care as legitimate reasons for someone to have left employment through no fault of their own, leaving the eligible for unemployment insurance.
Speaker Fecteau and Sen. The bill passed the Senate and the House see how your legislator voted and the governor ed it into law. Sponsor: Rep. PFAS comprise a class of approximately synthetic compounds used in the manufacture of such items as cookware, food packaging, firefighting foam, and textiles think Teflon and Scotchgard. Recently, 44 samples taken from farms and other facilities that distribute sludge contained at least one PFASwith all but two samples exceeding safety levels set by the state in Six states currently have enforceable drinking water standards and five other states, including Maine, are considering such standards.
Maine currently has guidance in this regard, but the proposed legislation would create more restrictions on PFAS use. Learn more about this bill in this fact sheet from the Environmental Priorities Coalition. The Committee on Environment and Natural Resources held a public hearing May 3 read the public testimony and voted unanimously that the bill Ought to Pass as amended.
Making absentee voting more accessible. This bill would create an ongoing absentee voter option in Maine, allowing voters who up to receive an absentee ballot for all local, state, and federal elections without having to submit a request. According to the U. Election Assistance Commission In Maine inone-third of all votes cast were made via absentee ballot. Inabsentee ballots ed for more than half of the total. Federal law already allows all overseas voters to request absentee ballots on an ongoing basis, and 15 other states and Washington, D.
Permanent absentee ballot voting also reduces the of absentee ballot requests elections officials must mail and process. And contrary to some claims, studies have found no Kennebunk cub here looking to play find sex partner Detroit that absentee voting increases the risk of voter fraud or favors one party over another. Voters are removed from the permanent absentee voter list when they die, move to another town, ask to be removed, or if their voter status is marked inactive or cancelled. Ongoing absentee voter status would go into effect in A public hearing was held Feb.
The amended bill allows ongoing absentee ballot voter status only for people over 65 and those with a disability. Voters with this status who have not voted over multiple elections will be removed from the ongoing absentee ballot list. Under the amended version, Kennebunk cub here looking to play find sex partner Detroit would the Electronic Registration Information Center ERICa nonprofit organization that works to improve the accuracy of voter roles. Create online voter registration.
Teresa Pierce D-Falmouth. With this bill, Maine would 40 other states and Washington, D. Studies show that OVR reduces barriers for voting, costs less than paper registration, and increases opportunities for participation—especially among people of color and young voters. Contrary to some claims, OVR offers a Kennebunk cub here looking to play find sex partner Detroit security protections to prevent fraud and reduces the risk of errors caused by the manual transcription of paper forms.
LD would allow voters to register, enroll in a political party or change their party affiliation, and submit a name or address change, all online. ID requirements for registering online would be the same as those for registering in person. The Committee on Veterans and Legal Affairs held a public hearing on April 5 read the public testimony and has voted that the bill Ought to Pass.
The bill passed the House and the Senate see how your legislators voted and was ed into law by the governor. Ban seclusion and restraints in Maine schools. Rebecca Millett D-Cape Elizabeth. Maine schools used more than 20, restraints and seclusions on Maine students ina rate times higher than the national average.
LD would end that by banning seclusion, chemical restraints, mechanical restraints and certain physical restraints of students in all Maine schools. The Department of Education passed rules inknown as Chapter 33governing the use of seclusion and restraints in schools.
Advocates say the rules have failed to reduce the use of this treatment and have called on the Legislature to ban the use of restraints and seclusion. Legislators passed a similar measure incarrying the bill over to for funding.
It died on the Special Appropriations table when the Legislature adjourned early due to the pandemic. Seclusion and restraint are used in schools across the nation, with one report citing their use on more thanstudents in An analysis of that report found that Maine ranked 14th in the use of seclusion and 26th for the use of restraints. As is the case here, the majority of students nationwide who are subjected to this treatment are children with disabilities. Congressional Democrats have tried unsuccessfully to pass a federal bill to ban these practices nationwide, with the most recent version introduced in Novemberwith Maine Rep.
Chellie Pingree as a co-sponsor. The Education Committee will hold a public hearing May 4 read the testimony and the majority voted the bill Ought to Pass as amended. The bill was amended again after failing in the Senate, with the final version removing the ban on seclusion.
The House then passed an amended version of the bill and sent it back to the Senate, where it passed See how your legislators voted. Victoria Morales D-South Portland. LD seeks to block that pipeline by banning expulsions, suspension, or the withholding of recess for children in pre-K through fifth grade, except as provided under the federal Gun-Free Schools Act.
Studies link exclusionary discipline —suspensions or expulsions that remove a student from school—to decreased academic performance, increased drop-out rates, lower incomes in adulthood, and a higher risk of future involvement with the criminal justice system.
Exclusionary discipline practices disproportionately affect children with disabilities and children of color, including in Maine. Suspension and expulsion rates are also higher among children with disabilities in Maine.
At least one school district in Maine has already taken action. The Lewiston School Committee passed a measure earlier this year that bans expulsions for elementary students, citing a report that found that more than half of expulsions from Lewiston schools in were among students of color, even though the majority of students in Lewiston are white. Sixteen states and the District of Columbia have laws limiting the use of exclusionary discipline by grade level, usually in the early grades.
LD also requires that a list of low-cost or free legal services be included with written notice of an expulsion hearing that is sent to students and parents before the hearing. The Committee on Education and Cultural Affairs held a public hearing April 26 read the public testimony and voted that the bill Ought to Pass as amended. Under the amended version, the bill allows for a maximum of 3 days of an out-of-school suspension for pre-K through grade 5 for violent physical behavior, and for the use of recess for restorative practices.
The bill passed the House see how your rep voted and the Senate by a voice vote no roll call and was ed into law by the governor. Reforming an unjust cash bail system. Rachel Talbot Ross D-Portland. This system punishes low-income Mainers, forcing them to remain in jail before they even have a chance to defend themselves in court. The bill would not apply to Class E misdemeanors involving sexual assault, intimate partner violence, or violation of condition of release related to those crimes. Cash bail systems disproportionately disadvantage Black people, who historically have been ased higher bail amounts.
Cash bail proponents argue it serves as a guarantee of trial appearance, but New Jersey and Washington, D. A similar bill introduced last session garnered support from prosecutors. Illinois became the first state to eliminate all cash bail earlier this year, and other states are considering similar measures.
The Committee on Judiciary held a public hearing May 21 read the testimony and voted that the bill Ought to Pass. Making health care work Kennebunk cub here looking to play find sex partner Detroit more Mainers.Kennebunk cub here looking to play find sex partner Detroit
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