by Jim Annis, Legislative Director
The State Grange resolutions for the legislative committee passed in 2013 could not be submitted to the Maine Legislature. It was the second session in the term and they were not accepting new bills. Believe me, they had enough problems dealing with the bills left over from the last session.
There were six resolutions referred to the Maine State Grange Legislative Committee. They were, Traffic Ticket Fines” submitted by Androscoggin Pomona No. 1, “Rural Mail Delivery” submitted by Bauneg Beg Grange No. 382, “Healthcare Is a Human Right” submitted by Farmington Grange No.12, Maine Retirement Income Tax Exemption” submitted by Cumberland Pomona No. 15, “Use of Ethanol in Maine Gasoline” submitted by Cumberland Pomona No. 15 and “Ballot Initiative Phrasing” submitted by Cumberland Pomona No. 15.
1. Traffic Ticket Fines
Committee recommendation. Ought to pass. However, it was felt by the committee that this resolution will have little chance to pass in that a fiscal note would surely be attached to the bill going to the legislature. Traffic fines are generally part of the state police budget.
2. Rural Mail Delivery
Committee recommendation. Ought to pass as amended. The last Resolve should read, “…to include the continuation of Saturday rural delivery and be it further: Resolved to send this resolution to National Grange for approval.”
3. Health Care is a Human Right
Committee recommendation. Ought not to pass. It was felt by the committee that this resolution is too politically oriented and that Grange should distance itself from politics as demanded by Grange Bylaws..
4. Maine Retirement Income Tax Reduction
Committee recommendation. Ought to pass as amended. Minor corrections were added to the resolution.The fiscal note for this bill would be astronomical thereby condemning the bill while still in the hearing committee.
5. Use of Ethanol in Maine Gasoline
Committee recommendation. Ought to pass. However, for Maine to pass a law forbidding the use of ethanol in gasoline would place Maine as the only state in the union not using ethanol. The cost of non-ethanol based gasoline would be extremely costly to the Maine consumer. It was also recommended by the committee that this resolution be sent to National Grange for country-wide approval.
6. Ballot Initiative Phrasing
Committee recommendation. Ought to pass.
Resolution 1 is part of the Maine budget, resolutions 2 and 5 were sent to National Grange for adoption, resolution 3 was voted ought not to pass at the State Grange Conference, resolution 4 has the attention of the current governor and he already has reduced it (I know because my retirement increased because of a reduction in the Maine state tax) and I don’t see submitting a bill to the Maine legislature for resolution 6 as having much of a chance. Maine’s Secretary of State does a great job of proper wording of any initiative. However, I shall discuss its possibilities with a Maine legislator soon after the elections.