Today is the 157th Anniversary of Juneteenth. This is a commemoration of June 19, 1865 when enslaved Black people in Galveston, Texas (one of the westernmost points in the Confederate South) finally received news of their liberation, two years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. Check out this list of Juneteenth events happening around the state.
Here are your weekly updates 👇
The Legislature is starting to wrap up. The first half of the session could conclude on June 21, with the second half scheduled to begin in 2024. Emotions and tensions are high as legislators are bombarded with work. Will they meet the June 21 goal? We'll know soon enough.
We're working under the wire. We need to take action on a few bills — these are highlighted in yellow.
Waiting for the Governor's signature:
- LD 726 — Repealing our corporate contribution ban: This bill passed in the House and Senate and now sits on the Governor's desk awaiting her signature. The latest version includes a new amendment that enacts the repeal as soon as possible and requires the Ethics Commission to develop legislation that would look a lot like our original bill. We could be looking at a corporate contribution ban 2.0 as soon as February 2024. We would have preferred to strengthen the ban that we already had in place, and not a full repeal, but this is a start. We have a path moving forward. This could not have happened without public outcry. We can't thank you enough for staying engaged and taking action!
Processing through the House and Senate:
- LD 1336 — Municipal Referendum Spending: This bill would require disclosure of ballot question expenditures over $5,000 in smaller municipalities, where no disclosure at all is currently required. We support this one. LD 1336 passed unanimously in the House, and by a 29-4 vote in the Senate. There are more votes to come, but it's possible that this bill will go to the Governor’s desk soon with a strong chance of becoming law.
- LD 1356 — Increasing Municipal Signature Requirements: This bill would increase the percentage of voters required to sign for local ballot questions by 50%, but only in towns without charters that set different requirements. This will negatively affect mostly small, rural towns where signature collection is already difficult and rare. We oppose this one. It's tabled in the House, but could be voted on any day.
- 🚨LD 1610 — Protect Maine's Elections: This bill will stop foreign government spending in Maine elections. We support this one. It could have its votes in the chambers as soon as tomorrow, June 20. Now is the time to take action:click here to email your legislator. We'll need this bill to pass with 2/3 support of the Legislature to prevent the possibility of a Governor's veto. If it fails to receive 2/3 support and the Governor decides to veto it, then this issue goes to the ballot, and voters will decide its future.
- 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. It passed "under the hammer" (no roll call vote) in the House, but in a strange turn of events, the majority of the Senate voted not to pass it. It's a stunning move on a bill that received a favorable report in Committee. We're regrouping and hope to turn the tide before the final gavel falls.
- 🚨 LD 2004 — Restore Access to Federal Laws Beneficial to the Wabanaki Nations: This bill would allow Wabanaki peoples to benefit from 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. This bill could have its votes in the chambers this week, possibly as soon as Tuesday, June 20. It'll need 2/3 support of the Legislature in order to avoid a possible veto by the Governor. Take action now by contacting your legislators:tell them to support LD 2004!
Placed on the special appropriations table:
These bills have been placed on the appropriations table because they require funding. The bills have passed in the House and Senate, and enactment is pending while the bills wait for that funding:
- LD 577 — Town Websites to Host More Election Info: This bill would provide state support through the office of the Secretary of State for towns to disseminate local election information online. We support this bill.
- LD 1155 — Increasing Legislative Salaries: 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.