Maine legislators are wrapping up committee business before returning to the State House next week to vote on hundreds of bills, including some of the bills we’ve been tracking. We have updates for your below and actions you can take to support transgender people, protect reproductive rights, support people in recovery, and help advance much-needed legislation to address Maine’s housing crisis.
We’d also like to invite you to join a discussion on the Senate filibuster with historian Heather Cox Richardson, who you may know through her wildly popular Letters from an American blog. The event, hosted by the Lincoln County Democratic Committee, will be Wednesday, May 25 from 6:30 pm to 7:30 pm and can be viewed live on YouTube. SUM co-leader Kelli Whitlock Burton will moderate the Q&A. Questions must be submitted in advance. Find details and links to watch the program and submit your questions HERE. Hope you can join us!
The Suit Up Maine Admin Team
WHAT’S NEW IN THE LEGISLATURE
We’re tracking more than 60 bills this session, including the legislation described below. Find these and more in our tracker in our Legislature Roundup.
Anti-trans bills voted down in committee. Several bills introduced by Maine Republicans that would restrict the civil rights of transgender Mainers were voted down in committee last week. The bills would ban trans girls and women from emergency shelters and from competing in girls’ and women’s sports in Maine schools and colleges and are part of a national attack targeting trans people.
So, what’s next? The bills will still get a full legislative vote and your legislators need to hear from you! Learn more about the bills and find links to your legislators’ contact information. We also hope you’ll help EqualityMaine call Mainers who support trans rights to urge them to tell their legislators to oppose these bills. Phone banks are 6-8:30 pm on Sundays and training is provided. Sign up here. And be sure to check out our new Guide for Trans Allies, which we created with guidance from MaineTransNet.
Bills that support people in recovery in Maine need your help to pass. Maine reported a record 502 overdose-related deaths in 2020, and early figures from 2021 are ominous. We’re tracking four bills in the Legislature that align with a national shift away from the failed “war on drugs” toward a public health approach to drug use and substance use disorder.
So, what’s next? All of these bills will get a vote in the House as early as next week and legislators need to hear from you NOW! Learn more about the bills and find links to your legislators’ contact information. If you’re on social media, please share these graphics and use this call script and talking points in support of LD 967, both from Maine Recovery Advocacy Project.
Addressing affordable housing and homelessness in Maine. The wait list for Maine’s 12,000 Section 8 housing vouchers is more than 20,000 people long, with some applicants waiting years to receive one. The lack of affordable housing options is one reason Maine has the 12th highest rate of homelessness in the nation and the third highest in New England. We’re tracking a number of bills that address the housing crisis in Maine by providing funding for emergency shelters, eviction mediation, and a boost for rental assistance.
So, what’s next? Many of these bills could get a vote as early as next week and legislators need to hear from you NOW. Learn more about the bills and find links to your legislators’ contact information.
Anti-abortion bills voted down in committee. Six bills introduced by Maine Republicans to restrict reproductive rights were voted down in committee last week. These anti-abortion bills—a record number in a single session in Maine—are part of a national attack on reproductive health care. Since January, 536 bills to restrict abortion access, including 146 abortion bans, have been introduced in 46 states, and 61 of those have already been enacted in 13 states.
So what’s next? These bills will still get a full legislative vote as early as NEXT WEEK, and your legislators need to hear from you NOW! Learn more about the bills and find links to your legislators’ contact information.
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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