Action Under the Dome For Monday, Jan. 8

Monday, January 8, 2024
Jen Lancaster

It's Monday, January 8.

Several of our hot-button issues have either a public hearing or work session this week. A public hearing is the time for anyone to submit their opinion on a bill, and a work session allows legislators to workshop a bill before they vote on whether or not it passes out of committee. It's going to be a busy week. 

Here are your weekly updates 👇

Hundreds of Mainers swarmed the State House on January 3 to demand that legislators consider common sense gun reform in 2024. It was moving to see so many people stand up for justice and take action. We'll follow gun reform bills and report on their status. For now, here is the schedule for this week:

Public Hearings:

  • LD 1578National Popular Vote: NPV has its public hearing in the Veterans and Legal Affairs (VLA) committee TODAY, January 8, at 10:00 AM. Watch the public hearing online here. The League has prepared testimony in support and will deliver our remarks today. It's not too late to submit written testimony, so long as it's submitted by 9:30 AM. Use our quick guide here. Want to take further action? Sign up for one or both of our NPV phonebanks on January 11 and January 18.
  • LD 1642Strengthen Wabanaki Studies in Schools: This bill will ensure the inclusion of Wabanaki studies in Maine curricula. The League will testify in support during its public hearing on Tuesday, January 9 in the Education and Cultural Affairs committee.

Work Sessions:

  • LD 1590 — Disclosure of Campaign Funding Sources: This bill includes new reporting requirements and penalties, including the true, original sources of contributions Maine PACs and ballot questions committees. This bill is crucial for the integrity of our democracy and the trust of the public in our political system. Mainers want to know who is spending money to influence our democracy. We support this bill. It has a work session on Friday, January 12 in the VLA committee. 
  • LD 1966 — County Clean Elections: This bill institutes Clean Elections for county offices in Maine, including district attorneys, sheriffs, and county commissioners. We know that Clean Elections public funding encourages more people to run for office and allows them to serve without being beholden to big donors or special interests – only to the voters in their own district. We 100% support this bill. It has a work session on Friday, January 12 in the VLA committee.

Legislative Meeting:

  • LD 726 — Revisiting our corporate contribution ban: This bill repealed our corporate contribution ban from 2021 but required the Ethics Commission to develop similar legislation and submit a report by Feb. 2024. The new year is here, and the Ethics Commission will present their new bill in a legislative meeting on Friday, January 12 in VLA. We'll watchdog the process, and we’ll work to ensure that a corporate contribution ban 2.0 passes in the Legislature.

Other Important links:

Quick Explainer:
The Secretary of State’s decision on Trump’s eligibility to appear on  the primary ballot

Three cases were presented to Secretary of State Shenna Bellows that challenged former President Donald Trump’s qualification for the ballot. 

Election officials serve as nonpartisan administrators of our democratic elections, and in Maine, this role includes weighing in on the question of ballot eligibility. Secretary Bellows was duty-bound to follow procedure as required by law, hear the cases, and issue an opinion.

In a 34-page ruling, Bellows stated that a plain reading of Section 3 of the 14th Amendment of the Constitution would disqualify Trump from the ballot for the March 5 primary election. However, the decision issued by Secretary Bellows is not the final word on this matter.

Whether legislators agree or disagree with the ruling, they should stand shoulder to shoulder with Secretary Bellows and defend her for doing her duty. They should denounce violent threats against her.

A final decision will come from the courts, which will interpret how Section 3 of the 14th Amendment applies to this situation. The Maine decision has been appealed to the Maine Superior Court and the U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to review the Colorado decision. We hope that  the courts will settle this matter quickly so that voters across the U.S., regardless of what state laws pertain, will have clarity come the presidential primaries.

Learn more: Behind 14th Amendment argument to disqualify Trump