Rally outside State House today to oppose two abortion-related bills

Howdy from Augusta, where a group of activists and protesters is planning a mid-day rally to recognize National Women’s Health Week. 

Representatives from the Maine Alliance for Reproductive Freedom, ACLU Maine, Equality Maine, Maine Women’s Lobby, Maine Family Planning, Mabel Wadsworth and Planned Parenthood of Northern New England, Grandmothers for Reproductive Rights and a handful of lawmakers will gather at the State House Courtyard to urge lawmakers to support measures they say will advance women’s health and protect a woman’s right to make decisions about her pregnancy. 

There are two bills that the coalition will rally against. LD 83, sponsored by Sen. Paul Davis, R-Sangerville, would repeal the existing Adult Involvement Law and replace it with a requirement that a parent or legal guardian must provide written consent for a minor or incapacitated person to have an abortion. The bill provides an opening for a court to waive the requirement in certain circumstances. Maine’s teen pregnancy rate ranks fourth in the nation. 

The other bill in the coalition’s sights is LD 1312, sponsored by Rep. Deborah Sanderson, R-Chelsea, which would require outpatient surgical abortion facilities in Maine to be licensed and regulated by the Department of Health and Human Services. 

Both of those bills are scheduled for public hearings today at 1 p.m. in the Legislature’s Judiciary Committee. 

One bill the coalition is supporting is LD 319, sponsored by Rep. Joyce McCreight, D-Harpswell, which would expand Medicaid coverage for reproductive health care and family planning services to adults and adolescents whose incomes are less than 209 percent of the federal poverty level. 

Elsewhere in legislative committees are the following bills: 

  • The Criminal Justice Committee is in line to make recommendations on bills related to reducing penalties for certain drug offenses and strengthen them on others, creating a mental health unit in the Department of Corrections, and two bills related to ending the illegal exploitation of children and the selling of humans. 
  • The Environment and Natural Resources Committee is holding work sessions on two bills related to large-scale commercial mining in Maine. The issue has been debated for the past two years by the Legislature, and the Environment Committee has spent the past several weeks crafting a committee bill following the Legislature’s rejection last year of mining rules proposed by the Department of Environmental Protection. 
  • The Marine Resources Committee will consider LD 1262, which would authorize the commissioner of the Department of Marine Resources to craft and sign an agreement with Maine’s Indian tribes regarding the management of commercial eel and elver fisheries. The agreement would be subject to legislative approval before it takes effect. 
  • The Taxation Committee will hold work sessions, and possibly vote on recommendations, on four bills, including Gov. Paul LePage’s proposal to ask the Maine people at referendum whether they want to repeal Maine’s income tax. Also on the committee’s docket is a bid by House Speaker Mark Eves, D-North Berwick, to increase the property tax fairness credit, especially for property owners over age 65. 
  • The State and Local Government Committee will consider making a recommendation on Democratic Rep. John Martin of Eagle Lake’s proposal to increase the salaries of legislators and the governor
  • The Education Committee will hold a confirmation hearing for Noa Ann Sreden of Bath, who has been nominated by LePage to join the State Board of Education. The committee will make a recommendation which will be subject to confirmation in the Senate. — Christopher Cousins 

House votes to override 3 vetoes

The House of Representatives overturned three vetoes on Tuesday in lopsided votes and sustained a fourth.

  • LD 4, An Act to Promote Industrial Hemp, has new life following a 135-6 vote in the House. It now goes to the Senate.
  • LePage’s veto of LD 59, An Act to Protect Student Rights to Privacy Regarding Their School Records, was overturned with a 141-1 vote. It goes to the Senate.
  • Another veto overturned Tuesday in the House was for LD 1275, An Act Regarding Notice to the Public Pertaining to a Resident Person Deported from Canada to the United States for Committing a Sex Offense Against a Child. The vote in the House was 144-0 and the veto had previously been overturned in the Senate with a unanimous vote. This bill will become law.
  • Falling victim to the veto pen on Tuesday was LD 237, which sought to incorporate changes suggested for the Public Utilities Commission by the Office of Program Evaluation and Government Accountability. The House voted 85-59 to overturn the veto, which failed to reach the required two-thirds threshold. The bill is dead.
  • The Senate voted 20-15 on Tuesday to sustain LePage’s veto of LD 455, An Act to Prohibit Deceptive Practices Regarding Negotiable Instruments. The bill, which would have prohibited financial institutions and creditors from mailing unsolicited loan offers known as ‘live checks,’ is dead.
  • The House and Senate will consider a new LePage veto in the coming days. LePage vetoed LD 459, An Act to Protect the Environment from Fireworks Debris, on Tuesday. — Christopher Cousins

40 up-and-comers in the GOP

The Maine Republican Party in recent years has ramped up its efforts to attract young people to the polls, into GOP groups and into elected office. Earlier this week, the party released its inaugural “40 under [age] 40” list of the younger generation within the party. Here’s the list, cut and pasted directly from a press release:

  • Sam Adolphsen of Liberty; Chief Operating Officer at the Maine Department of Health and Human Services
  • Jamie Austin of Farmington; UMF College Republican Chair, Intern for the Governor’s Office
  • Trish Ayers of Winslow; Winslow Town Councilor
  • Curtis Ayotte of Farmingdale; Staff Assistant to Congressman Bruce Poliquin
  • Abby Bennett of Oxford; UMaine College Republican Chair
  • State Senator Eric Brakey of Auburn
  • Jamie Carter of Augusta; Communications Director for the Maine Senate Republican Office
  • Rob Caverly of Chelsea; Chief of Staff to Maine Senate President Michael Thibodeau
  • Dale Crafts Jr. of Lisbon; Lisbon Town Councilor
  • State Representative A.J. Edgecomb of Fort Fairfield
  • Matthew Gagnon of Yarmouth; CEO of the Maine Heritage Policy Center
  • Leland Graves of Bangor; UMaine graduate student, former field representative with the Maine Republican Party
  • Jason Greene of Durham; Androscoggin State Committee At-Large Member
  • Mayor Nick Isgro of Waterville
  • Lee Jackson of Old Town; RSU 34 Board of Director; Penobscot County Republican Committee Chair
  • Luke Jensen of Lewiston; Chairman of the Lewiston Republican City Committee
  • Ben Kelleher of Prospect; Waldo County State Committeeman
  • Mayor Jonathan LaBonte of Auburn; Director of the Governor’s Office of Policy and Management
  • Lauren LePage of Waterville; Executive Director of Maine People Before Politics
  • Hon. Aaron Libby of Waterboro
  • Andrew Mahaleris of Augusta; UMaine Student and Treasurer of UMaine College Republicans
  • Senate Majority Leader Garrett Mason of Lisbon
  • Cynthia Mendros of Lewiston; Lewiston School Board
  • Isaac Misiuk of South Portland; CEO of Tomorrow’s Majority
  • Kate Norfleet of Scarborough; State Office Representative for US Senator Susan Collins
  • State Representative Matthew Pouliot of Augusta
  • Emily Roderick of Readfield; Kennebec County Republican Committee Chair
  • Shawn Roderick of Readfield; Assistant Secretary of the Maine Senate
  • Matthew Roy of Lewiston; Androscoggin County Commissioner
  • Ashley Ryan of Portland; RNC National Committeewoman
  • Ashley Sampson of Rome; Executive Assistant Maine Senate President Michael Thibodeau
  • Ashley Simon of Hampden; UMaine student; member of #Gen207
  • David Sorensen of Augusta; Director of Policy Research and Media Relations at Maine Department of Health and Human Services
  • Billy Thompson of Brunswick; Management Analysis at the Governor’s Office of Policy and Management
  • State Representative Will Tuell of Lubec
  • State Representative Nathan Wadsworth of Hiram
  • Tyler Washburn of Bowdoin; Sagadahoc County State Committeeman
  • State Representative Dustin White of Washburn
  • Hon. Alex Willette of Augusta; RNC National Committeeman
  • Melissa Willette of Augusta; Senior Legislative Aide for the Maine House Republican Office
  • Blake Winslow of Presque Isle; Aroostook County Republican Committee Chair

The GOP’s #Gen207 group is planning a “40 under 40” celebration in June. — Christopher Cousins

Reading list

Where are Maine’s best restaurants?

Maybe this will come as a surprise, maybe not: Some of the most popular and widely read stories posted by the Bangor Daily News are about restaurants, particularly new ones. Now, the BDN is conducting a survey to identify the state’s best restaurants. Take the quiz and then stay tuned to our website to see the results! — Christopher Cousins

Christopher Cousins

About Christopher Cousins

Christopher Cousins has worked as a journalist in Maine for more than 15 years and covered state government for numerous media organizations before joining the Bangor Daily News in 2009.