What a convention, huh? Plenty of camaraderie was had by all. Lots of work accomplished. And we have some new state officers. Although the voting process for elective offices was dragged out, things did go smoothly.
Regarding the two resolutions that the Legislative Committee was responsible for, I want to thank the brothers and sisters who helped the committee move them along successfully.
The first resolution, United States Constitution which, as resolved, stated that Congress shall make no law that applies to Senators and/or Representatives that does not apply equally to the citizens of the United States. This resolution will be sent on to National Grange for their approval as voted by the membership.
The sixth resolution was resolved that further Legislatures be seated alphabetically. I failed to mention one important thing. This resolution won’t be submitted to the Maine State Legislature to become a bill until 2019.
Please let me explain. The members of the Maine Legislature are elected for a two-year term. During the first year, bills are submitted and presented to the various committees for action. Some bills are approved, some aren’t and some are carried over into the second year to be worked on. During the second year, the carried over bills are worked on along with any emergency bills. No new bills are to be submitted.
2018 will be the second year of the current term. Therefore, the Grange State Legislature resolution cannot be offered as a bill until 2019 during the first session of a new term. In December of 2018, I will ask a local legislator to submit this resolution as a bill to be acted upon by the Maine Legislature.
Tell the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rural America needs high speed broadband.
Many of us in rural and small town America do not have access to high speed broadband internet. Our friends in New York, Washington, Boston, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle and Chicago just cannot believe there are high school students who must go to the library to do their homework, college students who can’t take online courses, entrepreneurs who can’t relocate to rural areas, rural hospitals close but diagnostic centers are unable to open in their place, and in many areas the latest farming technology is just not available. All these examples are due to the lack of broadband.
At a recent Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee hearing on expanding broadband infrastructure recently in New Hampshire, FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel suggested a crowd-sourced approach to mapping broadband. She asked everyone who did not have broadband to email her directly. Commissioner Rosenworcel promised to share every one of her emails with the FCC Chairman and put pressure on the FCC to do something about it.
Email Commissioner Rosenworcel at broadbandfailfcccom (broadbandfailfcccom) .
If you don’t have high speed connectivity, tell her how that void affects your life, your family and the lives of those around you.
If you know of others without broadband, give the Commissioner a run-down about them too.
Be sure to include your name, town, state, zip code and mention you are a member of the Grange.
The Department of the Secretary of State is taking orders for buttons to honor our veterans on Election Day. The button, which reads “I’m Voting in Honor of a Veteran,” is personalized with the name of a veteran the voter wants to recognize for his or her sacrifices to ensure our freedoms, including the right to vote.
Order forms for the Vote in Honor of a Veteran button can be found online here. The buttons are mailed directly to voters’ homes, and there is no cost for the button or for shipping. To receive the button before the election, voters should place their orders as soon as possible.
Subscribe to the Maine State Grange Website–Don’t miss news like this!
Can’t wait for State Convention to learn about activities and accomplishments? The following annual reports are now available on the site:
- 2016-2017 Agriculture Annual Report
- 2016-2017 Communications Annual Report
- 2016-2017 Community Service Annual Report
- 2016-2017 Junior Annual Report
- 2016-2017 Lecturer’s Annual Report
- 2016-2017 Legislative Annual Report
Directors and Committee Chairs are reminded that the deadline for submitting your annual report was yesterday. Please send your report to Jim Owens (jimowens1myfairpointnet) and copy the webmaster (webmastermainestategrangeorg) so your report can be posted to the site.
Maine’s Secretary of State has finalized the wording of the two citizens’ initiative questions that will appear on the Tuesday, November 7, 2017 referendum election ballot. Below is the title of each initiative and the final question that will appear on the ballot.
QUESTION 1: An Act To Allow Slot Machines or a Casino in York County. “Do you want to allow a certain company to operate table games and/or slot machines in York County, subject to State and local approval, with part of the profits going to the specific programs described in the initiative?”
QUESTION 2: An Act To Enhance Access to Affordable Health Care. “Do you want Maine to expand Medicaid to provide healthcare coverage for qualified adults under age 65 with incomes at or below 138% of the federal poverty level, which in 2017 means $16,643 for a single person and $22,412 for a family of two?”
The full text of each proposed bill is available for viewing on the Bureau of Corporations, Elections, and Commissions’ Upcoming Elections Web page.
The Secretary of State received more than 150 comments on the wording of these initiatives during the 30-day public comment period, which was open Wednesday, August 2, 2017, through Friday, September 1, 2017. He reviewed and considered these comments, which were submitted from individuals and organizations throughout the State during the drafting of the final ballot question language.
The Bureau of Corporations, Elections, and Commissions will create a Citizens’ Guide to the 2017 Election this fall, which will be available on the Web site and at public libraries across the State. All voters are encouraged to read it to inform themselves of the details of each bill, including the fiscal impact statements.
In addition to the citizens’ initiative questions, the November referendum election ballot will also include one bond question and one constitutional amendment, both of which will appear below the citizens’ initiative questions on the ballot. The legislation titles are listed below, along with the questions that will appear on the ballot:
QUESTION 3: An Act To Authorize a General Fund Bond Issue to Improve Highways, Bridges and Multimodal Facilities and Upgrade Municipal Culverts – Legislation found online here.
“Do you favor a $105,000,000 bond issue for construction, reconstruction, and rehabilitation of highways and bridges and for facilities or equipment related to ports, harbors, marine transportation, freight and passenger railroads, aviation, transit, and bicycle and pedestrian trails to be used to match an estimated $137,000,000 in federal and other funds, and for the upgrade of municipal culverts at stream crossings?”
QUESTION 4: Resolution, Proposing an Amendment to the Constitution of Maine To Reduce Volatility in State Pension Funding Requirements Caused by the Financial Markets – Legislation found online here.
“Do you favor amending the Constitution of Maine to reduce volatility in State pension funding requirements caused by the financial markets by increasing the length of time over which experience losses are amortized from 10 years to 20 years, in line with pension industry standards?”
For more information about the November 2017 referendum election, click here. Information on voter registration and locating your polling place is also available on the Corporations, Elections, and Commissions Web site here.
Webmaster’s Note: The following article is reprinted with permission from an e-newsletter published by Paul Davis, State Senator for District 4.
Absentee Ballots for Referendum Election Now Available Online
If you would like to request an absentee ballot for this November’s General Election, they are now available through the Online Absentee Ballot Request Service. Absentee voting is an option for all Maine residents currently registered to vote. Absentee ballots may be requested either through this online service or by going to your town office to fill out a form.
This November’s ballot will include two citizen’s initiative questions including a question to allow a certain developer to open a casino in York County and the seventh attempt to expand Medicaid to more able-bodied adults in Maine. Also on the ballot will be Question 3: “An Act To Authorize Multiple General Fund Bond Issues To Improve Highways, Bridges and Multimodal Facilities,” and Question 4: “Resolution: Proposing an Amendment to the Constitution of Maine To Reduce Volatility in State Pension Funding Requirements Caused by the Financial Markets.”
To apply for an absentee ballot online, go to click here.
by Heather Retberg
On last Friday morning, Governor Paul LePage signed the food sovereignty bill into law.
“In the year of our Lord two thousand and seventeen,” begins the bill, “be it enacted by the people of the State of Maine as follows…”
The bill officially recognizes the authority of our towns to regulate our food systems by local ordinance when the sales are between individual farmers, food producers, and customers. It also offers into state law the first definition of ‘local food system’. What began in 2009 as an administrative language change that made our work illegal overnight, has now, at long last, been corrected. The rule of law is behind our labors once again! We have prevailed in defining ourselves and what we do in legal terms. And, further, the state of Maine recognizes that each of us in our towns, has the authority under home rule at town meeting, to decide for ourselves how our food needs are met. A very heartfelt thanks to all of you over this last session and over the years, for your words of encouragement and sustenance. Thanks also for contacting representatives, senators and the governor to protect the food system and the relationships around it that we have cultivated together over the years. It is a sweet time of celebration we are so pleased to share with all of you!
The full text of the soon to be chaptered law:
Please do the last thing, the best, most pleasant part of this whole process: write the governor one more time and express your thanks for his signature. Also, please thank your senator and representative for their efforts and votes, and help them know just how important this is outside of the halls of the statehouse.
Webmaster’s note: This was “stolen” from Heather Retberg’s Facebook Page!
The State of Maine has officially recognized food sovereignty.
Let us celebrate. This is a good day for our small farms, for our rural communities, for our town meetings, and democracy from the bottom up!
Congratulations to all of you who have worked so hard, so long and so steadfastly to bring this day to light.
Special thanks to Senator Jackson for sponsoring the bill and co-sponsors: Senators Langley and Miramant, and Representatives Dunphy and Martin.
A lion’s roar of thanks to Representative Craig Hickman for his fierce, principled tenacity, for his expert navigation and shepherding of LD 725, and for his unrelenting force that just wouldn’t give up.
The last resolution submitted to the Legislative Committee to eventually be sent to the Maine State Legislature to be sent out as a bill currently resides in limbo.
The resolution, submitted by Cumberland Pomona, requests that automobile inspections for automobiles younger than five years of age be inspected by the state once every two years.
The Legislative bill, LD 623 and titled An Act To Require Biennial State Motor Vehicle Inspections, has been tabled twice. It currently is listed as “unfinished business” as of April 20, 2017.
What its chances are for being made law are pretty remote at this point in time. But I will maintain contact with the bill’s sponsor.
Unfortunately, Grange bills haven’t had much luck this year. But this bill isn’t really dead yet. There’s still hope for it. I’ll keep you informed.