Last week was challenging, with difficult hearings and work sessions in the Legislature, more national gun violence, and an uptick in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. Oddly enough, the bright spot came during an 8-hour hearing on anti-trans bills in Maine, when young people from across the state stood up for trans rights and against hate and bigotry. It was the boost we needed and a poignant reminder that our work is not finished. This week, we have updates on that legislation and info on bills to address a “family glitch” in the ACA, drug sentencing reform, and support for child care workers. We also have news of a push to overturn Trump’s anti-abortion domestic gag rule. Read on and pitch in where you can.
The Suit Up Maine Admin Team
Updates on past actions.
Maine Republicans introduced several bills last week to ban transgender girls and women from emergency shelters and from competing in girls’ and women’s sports in Maine schools and colleges. After 8 hours, two things were clear: 1) This was never about sports or shelters; it was always about erasing trans people. And 2) Mainers just weren’t having it.
So, what’s next? EqualityMaine is calling Mainers who support trans rights to urge them to tell their legislators to oppose these bills, and they need our help! Phone banks are 6-8:30 pm on Tuesdays and Sundays and training is provided. Sign up here or email Jake Karaisz for more information. You can track the bills in our Legislature Roundup and follow EqualityMaine and MaineTransNet for updates about upcoming work sessions and votes on these bills. Be sure to check out our new Guide for Trans Allies, which we created with guidance from MaineTransNet.
THIS WEEK IN THE LEGISLATURE
Updates on bills we’re tracking in our Legislature Roundup.
Fixing the “family glitch” in health care. This bill would fix the “family glitch” in the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which makes health care largely unaffordable for as many as 34,000 Mainers. Legislators will hold a public hearing on Wednesday, May 12 and need to hear from you! Learn more and find out how to testify.
Drug sentencing reform. In Maine, the amount of narcotics that trigger felony trafficking charges is far lower than in most other states and prosecutors don’t even have to prove intent to traffic to impose harsh penalties. LD 1675 would change that, bringing Maine in line with 39 other states by amending the law so that drug trafficking charges can’t be levied based simply on the amount of drugs someone has on them. Legislators will hold a public hearing on Friday, May 14 and need to hear from you! Learn more and find out how to testify.
Improving child care in Maine. This bill would help recruit and retain educators and staff working in child care programs across the state to address Maine’s child care shortage by providing wage stipends to underpaid child care workers and scholarships and other assistance for training and education. The public hearing was Monday, but you can still let legislators know that you support this bill! Learn more and find out how to testify.
THIS WEEK IN D.C.
Federal legislation and nominations to keep an eye on.
End the Title X Gag Rule. In 2019, the Trump administration passed the “domestic gag rule,” which blocked funding from the federal Title X family planning program to any health center that provided abortion care or referrals. As a result, nearly 1,000 Title X clinics—including all the clinics in Maine—were forced to leave the program. Mainers submitted more than 1,400 public comments against Trump’s gag rule. Now, the Biden-Harris administration has proposed a new rule to overturn that anti-abortion measure, and our support for their efforts must be just as loud. Learn more and find out how to submit a brief public comment.
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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