More than a dozen states have passed voter suppression laws, underscoring the importance of passing the federal For the People Act (H.R.1/S.1). The bill would reverse voter suppression laws in states across the country and expand voting access with no-excuse absentee voting, same-day voter registration, automatic voter registration, early voting, and vote-by-mail. It would also end partisan gerrymandering, require dark money groups to disclose donors, and increase elections security. The House passed the measure in March and the Senate could vote as early as TUESDAY. Representatives Pingree and Golden and Sen. King are co-sponsors of the bill. Sen. Susan Collins has not said how she will vote. Please call her NOW and tell her to vote YES on S.1. Find her numbers here.
Now, for the good news. While many states have passed bills to restrict voting access, Maine has gone in the opposite direction, passing a number of bills this session that make voting easier and more secure, including two that passed just last week. See our update below for details.
The Suit Up Maine Admin Team
Last week the Maine State Legislature wrapped up most session work in the wee hours of June 18th. There were many successes, in large part because of the tireless work you all did to continually remind our elected officials of the path forward that is best for Mainers. You can read about some of those successes below and in our Legislature Roundup. The Legislature returns June 30 for final votes on legislation, the supplemental budget, and appropriations.
CRIMINAL JUSTICE AND DRUG POLICY REFORM
LD 1044, which guarantees the rights of trans people who are incarcerated, was signed into law!
LD 1703, to eliminate cash bail for most nonviolent Class E misdemeanors is headed to the governor’s desk!
LD 1127, to limit the use of no-knock warrants, has been signed into law!
LD 1675, to reform Maine’s drug trafficking laws, is headed to the governor’s desk!
LD 967 passed the House and now goes to the Senate. The bill would make possession of small amounts of drugs for personal use a civil offense and offer the option of a health assessment for possible substance use disorder treatment instead of a fine.
LD 673, 686, 675 and 1117, part of the Making Health Care Work for Maine bill package, are all headed to the governor’s desk! These bills create an insulin safety net, increase drug pricing transparency, and block price gouging and unnecessary prescription drug price hikes by the pharmaceutical industry.
LD 718 passed the House and now goes to the Senate. This bill extends MaineCare and CHIP coverage to noncitizen residents who are ineligible for coverage under the federal health programs, regardless of their immigration status.
SUPPORT FOR MAINE CHILDREN, FAMILIES, AND WORKERS
LD 1712, to create a pilot project to expand and enhance available quality child care in Maine by increasing the number of child care slots in Maine’s “child care deserts,” passed and is awaiting a funding decision.
LD 1564, to reform Maine’s unemployment system to work better for Mainers, passed and is awaiting a funding decision.
LD 1711, to end forced arbitration, passed the House and Senate and is awaiting final enactment.
ELECTIONS AND VOTING ACCESS
LD 1417, to block corporate donations to candidates for state office and legislator-controlled PACS, has been signed into law!
LD 1126, to create an online voter registration system, passed and is awaiting a funding decision.
LD 1508, to prevent homelessness by creating an eviction mediation program, is headed to the governor’s desk!
LD 473, a bill to create the Maine Rental Assistance Program, passed the House and Senate and is awaiting a funding decision.
LD 759, a safe storage bill, is headed to the governor’s desk! The bill will help protect children from unintentionally accessing and using a loaded firearm resulting in injury or death, and also help reduce gun-related suicides by Maine teens.
BILLS WE OPPOSED
These bills are dead or on their way to defeat:
LD 926, to ban trans girls and women from girls’ and women’s sports in all Maine schools and colleges, was voted down in the House. It now goes to the Senate.
LD 1238, to ban trans girls and women from private girls’ and women’s emergency shelters in Maine, was rejected by the Legislature.
All 6 anti-abortion bills introduced this year were defeated. (LD 748, 915, 825, 851, 1229 and 1225). 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.You can find more of our actions on our Facebook and Twitter pages.
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