Heinous. That’s the best word to describe Georgia’s new voter suppression law, signed into law this week. The legislation attacks free and fair elections by allowing the Republican-led Legislature to usurp and overrule county election boards, requires a photo ID for absentee ballots, limits the placement of drop boxes, and makes it illegal to provide food or water to voters waiting in line to vote. Learn more about this law in this explainer from Vox. And then turn your attention to the action below to support the For the People Act, federal legislation that would overturn Georgia’s new law and other anti-democratic legislation under consideration in Republican-controlled states across the country.
Here in Maine, the Legislature reconvenes Tuesday to vote on a biennial budget and on several bills we’re tracking. We need you to call your legislators ASAP and leave messages asking them to support these bills! It’s a 5-minute action that could have a tremendous impact on Maine children, new mothers, homeless individuals, LGBTQ veterans, and our environment. Find what you need below. We have our work cut out for us. But together, we can get this done.
The Suit Up Maine Admin Team
THIS WEEK IN THE LEGISLATURE
Updates on bills we’re tracking in our Legislature Roundup.
Maine Legislature reconvenes. Legislators will be in session Tuesday, March 30 at the Augusta Civic Center to vote on a biennial budget and on a number of bills, including legislation we’re tracking. Call your representative at 1-800-423-2900 and your senator at 1-800-423-6900 and leave a message with your name, town, legislators’ names, and ask them to vote YES on the budget and on:
- LD 173, to restore honor to Maine LGBTQ veterans. Read more here.
- LD 265, to extend MaineCare coverage of postpartum care. Read more here.
- LD 372, to provide health care for more Maine children. Read more here.
- LD 489, to pass an environmental rights amendment. Read more here.
- LD 211, to support emergency shelters in Maine. Read more here.
Public hearings. The Legislature will also hold public hearings this week on a number of bills we’re tracking, including:
- LD 78 to help Maine children living in poverty. Between 2010-2019, policies enacted by former Gov. Paul LePage led more than 18,000 Maine children living in poverty to lose access to TANF, a federal program that supports low-income families. LD 78 would repeal one of those policies, which stripped an entire household of TANF assistance if just one parent fell out of program compliance. Under LD 78, children would continue to receive TANF, with only the non-compliant parent losing support. A public hearing will be held Thursday, April 1 at 10 am. Learn more here.
- LD 496, to clear the waiting lists for children’s mental health services. More than 3,000 children are currently awaiting mental health services from MaineCare, a backlog caused by a shortage of mental health workers and a lack of access to care. LD 496 would address these issues by raising MaineCare reimbursement rates to help the state attract and retain providers across Maine. A public hearing will be held Friday, April 2 at 10 am. Learn more here.
THIS WEEK IN D.C.
Federal legislation and nominations to keep an eye on.
For the People Act (HR1/S1). As mentioned above, federal legislation to guarantee our constitutional right to vote is critical. The For the People Act (HR1/S1) has passed the House, with support from Representatives Chellie Pingree and Jaren Golden. The US Senate Rules Committee held a hearing last Wednesday. Sen. Angus King, who supports the legislation, expressed his interest in changing the filibuster if Republicans follow through on their threats to use it to block a vote on this critical legislation. Learn more about the For the People Act in this overview from the Brennan Center for Justice and contact Sen. Susan Collins (who surprisingly hasn’t commented on how she’ll vote) to ask her to support this legislation.
TOP EVENTS THIS WEEK
Vigil against Anti-Asian violence. Join Unified Asian Communities for a vigil to show solidarity with Asian Americans at 5:15 pm Tuesday, March 30 at Payson Park in Portland. More information and RSVP here.
Transgender Day of Visibility Gathering & Lantern Parade. Join Health Equity Alliance, Bangor Pride, Pride Across Maine, and Mabel Wadsworth Center in downtown Bangor at 5-7 pm Wednesday, March 31 for International Transgender Day of Visibility. More information and RSVP here.
Racism is a Virus Too. Join the Holocaust and Human Rights Center of Maine from 7-8 pm Wednesday, March 31 for a panel discussion on the experience of Asian American youth in Maine. More information and register here.
On our website you’ll also find:
- Maine Legislature Roundup: A legislative tracker for the current session.
- Actions: Calls to action on a range of issues.
- Letter to the Editor Guide: Tips on writing LTEs and a list of Maine newspapers that accept them.
- Statements, Op-Eds, and Testimony: Legislative testimony, guest editorials, and statements from our admin team.
- Top Events: A list of upcoming progressive events across the state.
- Guides & Explainers: Resources on complex topics.
- Civic Dashboard: Contact info for your elected officials, tutorials on the legislative process, and more.
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