It’s going to be a whirlwind week in the Legislature, with hearings on bills to expand dental care, ban no-knock warrants, block the “school-to-prison” pipeline, limit corporate influence in politics, and prevent evictions. There’s also a hearing on a “stand your ground” bill, which we oppose. Read below for more information on these bills.
We’d also like to invite you to a virtual rally in support of Tribal sovereignty this Wednesday, April 28, at 10 am. Leaders of the Wabanaki Alliance will offer more information on another bill we’ve been tracking that would restore Tribal sovereignty in Maine and address long-standing issues with the Maine Indian Claims Settlement Act of 1980, a negotiation between the Passamaquoddy Tribe, the Penobscot Nation, and the Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians, and state and federal governments. Suit Up Maine is part of a coalition of more than 3 dozen groups that is working with the Wabanaki Alliance to support this legislation. The virtual rally will be streamed live on Facebook, and you’ll be able to watch it here.
Please read on for details on how you can help pass all this important legislation and please join us Wednesday to stand with Wabanaki people in Maine!
The Suit Up Maine Admin Team
THIS WEEK IN THE LEGISLATURE
It’s a busy week in the Maine State Legislature. For more information see our Legislature Roundup.
Expanding dental care for Mainers. MaineCare provides preventive dental care for children but is one of only 10 state Medicaid programs to offer emergency-only coverage for adults. LD 996 would change that by adding preventive, diagnostic, and restorative dental services for adults 21 years and older. Legislators will hold a public hearing Monday, April 26 at 1 pm. Learn more and find out how to testify at the hearing or submit written testimony in support.
Blocking the “school-to-prison” pipeline. Studies suggest that children who are suspended or expelled during preschool or elementary school are 10 times more likely to face jail time later in life, a trend known as the “school-to-prison pipeline. LD 474 seeks to block that pipeline by banning most expulsions, suspension, or the withholding of recess for children in pre-K through fifth grade. Legislators will hold a hearing at 10 am Monday, April 26. Learn more and find out how to testify at the hearing or submit written testimony in support.
Corporate contribution ban. In the 2020 election cycle, corporations gave more than $1.5M to state and federal candidates and candidate-controlled PACs in Maine. LD 1417 seeks to limit the influence of corporations in state elections by banning corporate donations to candidates for state office and legislator-controlled PACs.Legislators will hold a public hearing at 9 am Monday, April 26. Learn more and find out how to testify at the hearing or submit written testimony in support.
Ban no-knock warrants. Around 20,000 no-knock warrants are issued nationally each year and more than 100 people—including civilians and law enforcement officers—have died in no-knock raids since 2010. LD 1127 would ban the use of no-knock warrants, search warrants that allow law enforcement to enter a specified location without first announcing their presence or purpose for entering. Legislators will hold a public hearing at 10 am Monday, April 26. Learn more and find out how to testify at the hearing or submit written testimony in support.
Oppose “stand your ground” bill. Known as a “stand your ground bill,” LD 1138 would allow people to use lethal force with a gun outside of their home if they perceive that they are in danger, even if they could avoid that danger by retreating or by use of non-lethal force. Studies show that “stand your ground” laws don’t reduce crime or violence, but actually increase it. As many as 50 people are killed each day nationwide as a result of “stand your ground” bills passed in more than half of the states in the U.S. Legislators will hold a public hearing at 10 am Monday, April 26. Learn more and find out how to testify at the hearing or submit written testimony in opposition.
Prevent evictions through mediation. In Maine, about 5,300 evictions were filed in 2019. That number decreased significantly in the past year due to rental relief programs and a ban on evictions, but officials expect the number to spike once that relief runs out. LD 1508 would establish an eviction mediation program, to encourage landlords and tenants to use mediation to avoid evictions whenever possible. Legislators will hold a public hearing at 9 am Tuesday, April 27. Learn more and find out how to testify at the hearing or submit written testimony in support.
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.
Suit Up Maine is an independent, all-volunteer grassroots progressive group that seeks to build a more informed and engaged electorate in Maine. Founded in 2016, Suit Up Maine is run by and for Mainers, and is not engaged in fundraising of any kind. Representing thousands of constituents across Maine’s 16 counties, Suit Up Maine raises awareness of and advocates for state and federal policies and legislation that promote equity and equality in civil rights, social justice, health care, the environment, education, the economy, and other areas that affect the lives of all people. Suit Up Maine is beholden to issues and action, not parties or politicians.
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