We just hosted our Biennial Convention on Saturday and had an amazing turnout! Thank you to everyone who attended in-person and over Zoom. We're always on the mission to protect voting rights, advocate for democracy reform, get big money out of politics, and safeguard free and fair elections. Convention is the time to vote on the future of our organization and reinvigorate these missions. Thank you for inspiring us!
Here are your weekly updates 👇
Heading to the House and Senate chambers:
- 🚨 LD 726 — Repealing our corporate contribution ban: Repealing this would reopen the gates for big corporate money to flow directly to Maine candidates and legislators. We oppose this bill. This could be scheduled for a debate and floor vote any day now. Contact your legislators and ask them to oppose the repeal!
- LD 1155 — Increasing Legislative Salaries: The pay isn't great for Maine legislators. This bill would increase the overall pay from ~$29,000 to $45,000 for a legislative session (which spans two years). We support this measure. We believe this is one way to increase equity and equal representation in the Legislature and encourage more people to run for office. It was reported out of Committee as "ought to pass."
Racial Justice and Equity Issues
The Wabanaki Alliance has put together a bill tracker which provides details on many of those bills and actions you can take to stand with the Wabanaki. Follow the tracker here.
- LD 2004 — Restore Access to Federal Laws Beneficial to the Wabanaki Nations: This bill would allow Wabanaki peoples to benefit from future federal legislation for tribes. Unlike every other federally recognized tribe in the United States, Wabanaki tribes are currently excluded from such legislation unless they are explicitly written into it. LD 2004 would rectify this unequal treatment by changing a provision of the 1980 Settlement Act. We support this one. It just had a public hearing and has a work session scheduled for this week.
- LD 2007 — Tribal Sovereignty: This bill would implement the consensus recommendations (released Jan. 2020) of the Task Force on Changes to the Maine Indian Claims Settlement Implementing Act. We stand with Wabanaki communities in their long quest for sovereignty. It's not official yet, but it's likely that this bill will be carried over into the next session in 2024.
Solemn Occasion, LD 1610, and the Real Story
The Maine Supreme Judicial Court recently held solemn occasion (or advisory opinion) proceedings on citizen’s initiatives before the Maine legislature including the Protect Maine Elections citizen's initiative, which has morphed into LD 1610. The bill would stop foreign government spending in Maine elections and is endorsed by the League and Maine Citizens for Clean Elections. The Legislature asked for clarification from the Court: can this exist as an initiative or can it remain a bill? The oral arguments revealed broad consensus that the Legislature still has the power to act on the initiated bill; we should learn if the Justices agree very soon. This is promising news for LD 1610.
Every two years we host a Convention in which League members vote on the future of our organization. It's a formality common to every State League, but it's also an exciting opportunity to network and engage on relevant issues. We were lucky to have Shenna Bellows, Stuart Baum, Kimberly Hamlin, and Heather Cox Richardson speak at Convention. If you're curious to see what was voted on and approved for 2023-2025 by our membership, check out the links below: