Things sure are moving fast. Legislators are busting their butts to workshop bills and pass them out of committees. Next, the bills go to the House and Senate for (possible) debate and floor votes. It’s a lot easier for bills to get killed than it is for them to pass. And even if they do pass in the Legislature, not every bill will be signed into law by the Governor. Everyone is racing to meet the mid-June deadline when the current session would normally come to a close. It's not a guarantee that the Legislature wraps up then, but plenty of folks are hoping that it does. Summer is the time for camping, naps, and beach trips. Legislators will have earned a well-deserved break. So will we.
Here are your weekly updates 👇
With things starting to wrap up in the Legislature, we think it's time for a mid-session advocacy update, hosted on May 23 at 5:30 PM. Hop on Zoom with us as we provide updates and answer questions on our priority bills. The discussion is led by Will Hayward, our resident advocacy expert and State House denizen.
🪦 Dead and good riddance:
- LD 34 and LD 1365 — Photo ID: Both of these bills would require voters to show photo ID at the polls. We oppose them. LD 34 is dead in all but name, and while LD 1365 hasn't been reported out yet in the VLA committee, it's likely to face the same fate.
Stuck in limbo:
These bills have not been officially reported out of committee. This is either because the legislative language based on committee votes still needs to be prepared, the work session hasn't been scheduled, or committee members haven't made up their minds. The countdown is on, so imminent work sessions could be scheduled anytime.
- LD 726 — Repealing our corporate contribution ban: This would repeal our priority bill from last year — the corporate contribution ban, LD 1417. Repealing this would reopen the gates for big corporate money to flow directly to Maine candidates and legislators. The fight isn't over, and we're pushing for debates/votes on the chamber floors that support expanding the ban to include caucus PACs and party committees, as well as candidates and leadership PACs. There's still time to take action: fill out our quick form to contact your legislators.
- LD 1416 — Raising the number of signatures for ballot initiatives: This proposed constitutional amendment would dramatically increase the number of signatures required for a ballot initiative, making it much harder for initiatives to qualify. We oppose this one.
- LD 1610 — Protect Maine's Elections: This bill will stop foreign government spending in Maine elections. It also calls on Maine's congressional delegation to work for a constitutional amendment that would overturn Citizens United, the disastrous Supreme Court ruling that allows unrestricted spending by corporations on political campaigns. We support this one.
- LD 1690 — Ongoing Absentee Voting: This bill would establish ongoing absentee voting for all Mainers, where a voter can sign up to be automatically sent an absentee ballot for eligible elections. We support this one.
- LD 1704 — Prison Gerrymandering Reform: This bill prevents prison gerrymandering, the practice of counting incarcerated individuals as part of the district where they're detained — and not by their home address. We support this one, too.
Likely to be carried over into 2024:
- LD 1578 — National Popular Vote: This bill would add Maine to the NPV Interstate Compact. NPV becomes effective when states representing 270 Electoral College votes sign on to the agreement. We support this one. It's been a hectic session, so it's not surprising or unusual that a number of bills will be carried over into the second half.
Help us inform voters — volunteers needed!
With the June elections around the corner, it's time to make sure we cover local elections in our Vote411.org guide. Volunteers research and find election information and report back; we upload it to Vote411.org. Click here to see the list of towns where we still need help, and type your name next to one, or several, that you'd like to cover. We're hoping to publish over 100 towns for this election cycle and need your help!