Towns across Maine have elections tomorrow on Tuesday, June 13. Do you feel vote-ready? See what's on your ballot by visiting Vote411.org.
Here are your weekly updates 👇
News from the House and Senate chambers:
- 🚨 LD 726 — Repealing our corporate contribution ban: This bill recently had a Senate floor vote, with 29-5 voting to repeal the corporate contribution ban. The Senate approved a new amendment that would enact the repeal as soon as possible and would require the Ethics Commission to develop legislation by Feb. 2024 that would look a lot like our original bill. It's disheartening to see a bipartisan push to repeal this ban, but powerful forces are aligned here in Maine to convince legislators that this is a good bill gone wrong. We especially want to thank the Senators who stood up for what's right and voted no: Rick Bennett, Ben Chipman, Nichole Grohoski, Cameron Reny, and Mike Tipping. The Maine House has yet to vote on LD 726. We expect them to do so as early as today or tomorrow. So now is the time to contact your representative and ask them to vote NO on repealing the corporate contribution ban. But even if big money wins this round, we won’t give up.
- 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 and believe this is one way to increase equity and equal representation in the Legislature and encourage more people to run for office. It's been engrossed in the House and Senate but will still need to be voted on in both chambers.
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.
A Solemn Occasion? More Like Splendid Occasion.
It's good news for the Protect Maine Elections campaign. The Maine Supreme Judicial Court recently held solemn occasion (or advisory opinion) proceedings on the Protect Maine Elections citizen's initiative, which has morphed into LD 1610. The Legislature asked for clarification from the Court: must this measure go directly to ballot as an initiative or can the Legislature still act on it as a bill? The Justices have concluded that the Legislature can proceed with the bill LD 1610, which would stop foreign government spending in Maine elections. Now it's back to regular business. We hope they pass it outright.
SCOTUS Made the Right Decision
Good gerrymandering news? In this political economy? It's true — the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) upheld in Allen v. Milligan a lower court ruling that Alabama must create a second majority Black congressional district in compliance with the Voting Rights Act. Alabama holds seven seats in the US House of Representatives. Under its current map, the Legislature used a discriminatory redistricting technique called “cracking” in the state’s Black Belt, where Black people comprise a majority of the population. The map drawers dispersed residents in such a way that Black voters could only elect a candidate of their choice in one of the state’s districts, despite comprising roughly 27% of the state’s voting age population. The SCOTUS decision affirms the right of Black Alabamians to fair representation.