2017-11-08 / Op-Ed

Legislative Update

By Senator Tom Saviello District 17

Legislature convenes for special session

Recently, the Legislature convened for a special session called by the governor to address an issue with the new food sovereignty law and correct a specific drafting error in the biennial budget. Both issues were easily resolved with broad bipartisan votes and are now awaiting a signature by the governor.

While in Augusta, legislators also voted on a number of judicial appointments and dealt with two more controversial proposals that accounted for most of the day and evening.

The first bill was, LD 1646, an important ranked-choice voting bill to delay implementation until 2021, giving proponents time to work towards bringing the law into compliance with the Maine State Constitution. After hearing a number of concerns from the Secretary of State’s office, it became abundantly clear that it would be impractical, confusing and extremely expensive to run elections using two different voting methods simultaneously. Because the law, as passed on last November’s ballot, has been deemed to be unconstitutional by Maine’s highest court, the best course of action at this point was to put it on hold for the time being. This bill passed and is now on the governor’s desk.

The Legislature also passed LD 1650, “An Act To Amend the Marijuana Legalization Act.” This bill, sponsored by the Marijuana Legalization Implementation Committee, is the result of seven months and countless hours of work by the committee to create the framework and tax structure for the new recreational marijuana industry, which was established on last November’s ballot as Question 1. This bill is also now with the governor for approval.

Hunters for the Hungry program accepting donations

Maine Hunters for the Hungry, a program run by the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry in conjuncture with the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife and Maine State Troopers, is once again accepting meat donations of all or part of deer, moose or bear from hunters to support Maine families that are in need. Since its inception in 1996, the program has provided thousands of nutritious meals to those in need all around the state.

If you are interested in making a donation this hunting season, call 287-7513 or visit the Maine Hunters for the Hungry Facebook page. Processing costs are covered by Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry or the charity that receives the food.

New tool available to compare

post-credential employment and earnings

The Maine Department of Labor’s Center for Workforce Research and Information has unveiled a new search tool to compare the employment and earning outcomes of graduates of the University of Maine and Maine Community College systems. The data is broken down by credential, area of study and school to make it easier for potential students to compare programs, degrees and colleges. For more information, visit http://tinyurl.com/ya3rexls.

If you have any questions, please call me at 645-3420 or email me at drtom16@hotmail.com. Thank you for the pleasure of serving you as your District 17 Senator representing all Franklin County communities, as well as the Kennebec County communities of Belgrade, Fayette, Mount Vernon and Vienna.

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