Legislative Update from Maine State Senator Brownie Carson

brownie at veterans event

Dear friends, neighbors and constituents,

On Monday, I was back at the State House with legislative colleagues. As you know, we voted on four important bond issues, all of which I supported. Endorsing all of these bonds would have allowed us to send a package of critical investments to voters this November: $20 million for Land for Maine’s Future (LMF); $105 million for road and bridge maintenance; $23 million for broadband, technical education and upgrading National Guard facilities; and $15 million for environmental infrastructure and energy efficiency. Unfortunately, we approved only one — the transportation bond.

In advance of the special session, I made calls to Senate colleagues who appeared to be “on the fence” about whether to vote for the LMF bond. I reminded them that voters have strongly endorsed every one of the six LMF bonds that have appeared on ballots since 1987. There is absolutely no question about both the value of, and popular support for, protecting farmland, working forests, wildlife habitat, high-value recreational land, access to working waterfronts, and more. I spoke in favor of this bond on the senate floor. To approve this bond, we needed one Republican vote to meet the two-thirds requirement; we did not get a single one. Putting it mildly, I was very disappointed at the end of the day.

We must re-start the LMF program, and funds from this bond would have done that. I also believe that we must invest in maintenance and upgrades to our state parks. There was significant controversy at the end of session in June about any borrowing (except the transportation bond). As a compromise, the governor reduced the overall size of this bond package and spit it into four separate bonds. When the legislature reconvenes in January, we will revisit the bonds that failed on Monday. Our rural residents need reliable high-speed internet; our technical schools deserve our support; all of Maine’s infrastructure, including water and sewer as well as roads and bridges, needs to be kept up.

In addition, we took up the question of whether to use ranked-choice voting for the 2020 presidential primary in Maine. This was a “hold-over” bill. Thanks to so many who wrote emails in the past week — most in support, some in opposition. I have carefully considered this issue since it first surfaced several years ago. I believe that RCV strengthens our electoral system, making every vote count when there is a particularly close election. Having voters engaged and evaluating all candidates, not just our top choice in a crowded field, is a very good thing. So, I voted “yes” on LD 1083, and it was enacted in the Senate. It’s now in the hands of Governor Mills, for her to approve, veto or hold.

One final thought: As we spend time with family and friends on Labor Day, it’s important to remember that before Labor Day was a national holiday, before the labor movement took root, workers across our country faced unbearably long hours, often in unsafe conditions. Many factories used child labor. Now, our laws protect workers, and we expanded those protections this year. More workers will have access to paid family leave and loggers now have the same right to organize that farmers and lobstermen already had. I will always support policies that value hardworking people throughout Maine.

I hope you’re enjoying these final days of summer. It has been wonderful to spend so much time outdoors in Harpswell!

As always, if you have any questions or concerns, you can reach me at Brownie.Carson@legislature.maine.gov or (207) 287-1515. You can also follow me on Facebook here: www.facebook.com/BrownieForMaine/. Thank you for the honor of serving you in the Maine Senate.

Best regards,

Brownie

Maine: Reports of unleashed dogs biting visitors cause concern in Acadia

On Tuesday, August 13, Acadia National Park officials said there were three instances of dogs running off leash and biting visitors this week alone.

After multiple reports of visitors getting bitten by dogs, rangers at Acadia National Park are reminding the public about certain regulations that accompany bringing a furry friend to the area.

RELATED: What to do before and during a dog attack, according to trainers

According to a tweet sent out by the park on Tuesday, August 13, there were three instances of dogs running off leash and biting visitors this week alone.

Acadia National Park

@AcadiaNPS

Rangers report there were three instances of visitors being bitten by dogs running off leash in Acadia this week alone. Regulations require all pets to be restrained on a leash no longer than 6 feet (2 m). More at http://go.nps.gov/AcadiaPets 

View image on Twitter
As a result, rangers are reminding visitors that all pets that come to the park must be on a leash no longer than six feet. They also should not be left unattended, since hot summer sun can threaten the safety of animals — especially in cars. 

RELATED: 3 dogs found dead inside hot car in Jamestown, Rhode Island

As is typical with most public spots, pet owners must remove any waste from campground and picnic areas, parking lots, roads, and other developed places.

Acadia has designated pet-friendly areas, which include:

  • 100 miles of hiking trails and 45 miles of carriage roads
  • Blackwoods, Seawall, and Schoodic Woods campgrounds
  • Isle au Haut (for day hiking)

Officials say most lakes in the park are public water supplies, so pets and people may not swim in them.

Also off-limits are:

  • Sand Beach and Echo Lake
  • public buildings
  • ranger-led programs
  • Wild Gardens of Acadia
  • Duck Harbor Campground

Service Animals are allowed to accompany their owners to all park locations.

To read a complete list of park trails that are closed to pets or that are not recommended for pets, click here.

Maine: Fatal accident on I-95 in Howland; 30-year old Ted MacArthur of Fort Fairfield, rest in peace.

State Police say the passenger was not wearing a seatbelt when he was ejected from the car and pronounced dead at the scene.

HOWLAND, Maine — The Maine State Police say 30-year-old Ted MacArthur of Fort Fairfield died in a single-vehicle accident on I-95 south near exit 217 in Howland. The accident happened on Saturday at about 7:30 p.m.

Troopers say the driver, 30-year-old Leslie Greenlaw of Linneus, left the roadway and down the embankment hitting a culvert and rolled over.

MacArthur was not wearing a seatbelt was ejected from the car. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Greenlaw was treated for non-life threatening injuries at Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center.

State Police Reconstruction team was called to the scene to assist and troopers continue to investigate the cause of the crash.

 

Maine: Bill banning sale of high-capacity gun magazines dies in committee

The Democratic-led Legislature’s Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee voted Friday against half a dozen gun control bills.

AUGUSTA, Maine — A committee vote Friday left Maine unlikely to move forward on legislation prohibiting the sale of high-capacity magazines, but lawmakers are still weighing other bills aimed at limiting access to firearms.

The Democratic-led Legislature’s Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee voted Friday against half a dozen gun control bills.

The bills received dozens of comments at public hearings last week from critics who warned of governmental overreach infringing on constitutional rights, and supporters who say Maine must address domestic violence homicides tied to firearms and rising rates of firearm suicide.

“I think it’s all about access, not taking away guns,” said Democratic Rep. Victoria Morales, a committee member. “Reducing access for those who are most vulnerable.”

The committee is set to consider five additional bills May 28. Committee Democratic House Chair Charlotte Warren said lawmakers need more time to go through such bills.

“We want to do it right,” she said.

Those bills include background checks for private firearm sales, 72-hour waiting periods for gun buyers, and criminalizing leaving unattended a loaded firearm that a child then inappropriately uses. Another bill would prevent the manufacture, import, sale, transfer and possession of 3D printed guns, with certain exceptions.

A Republican, meanwhile, proposes allowing the use of deadly force to prevent death or serious bodily injury to defend oneself, one’s home or another person.

Gun control efforts have long faced steep odds in the largely rural state, where hunters tout a long history of responsible gun ownership. The Democratic-led Legislature could still revive the bills, but such a move is seen as unlikely.

Voters in Maine, which allows licensed owners to carry guns in public as long as they are concealed, defeated a question on universal background checks backed by former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg in 2016, and Democratic Gov. Janet Mills has said Maine should respect the people’s will on the issue.

Maine Local Weather Forecast: Cold rain and wet snow Tuesday!

download (5)Author: Todd Gutner

We’ll have more clouds than sun, with highs in the 50s today. It will be warmest in central and northern Maine, coolest in southern and coastal Maine, with a breeze coming in off the ocean.

Rain moves in tonight. It’ll be cold enough in the mountains of western Maine for wet snow to fall, and accumulate. 1 to 3 inches of snow is likely in the mountains. As heavier precipitation moves in Tuesday morning, it’s possible the cold rain flips to wet snow even closer to the coastline. Coatings are possible in spots. Tuesday will remain chilly with periods of rain and highs only in the low 40s.

Clouds linger Wednesday with a few showers. Highs in the upper 40s to low 50s.

We’ll see a return to some sun and highs around 60 Thursday.

Have a nice day.

Todd

Maine: Search for 63-year-old Portland woman Cathy Pride missing for a month continues. Have you seen Cathy?

Cathy Pride is a very private person who has been known to keep to herself but family and friends say it is very out of character for her to not be at her Munjoy Hill home.

Family reports Munjoy Hill woman is missing - Portland ...

The search for a 63-year-old woman who has been missing for a month continues in Portland. Police say Cathy Pride was last seen in mid-April and was reported missing by her family.

Pride is a very private person and has been known to keep to herself but this time it appears she has not been back to her home for several weeks, according to police. Family and friends are very concerned because they say this is out of character for Pride.

Pride has lived on Munjoy Hill for several years and has no vehicle, cell phone, credit cards and has not accessed her bank account since disappearing.

Pride is known to frequent Katie Made Bakery at 179 Congress Street and a Munjoy Hill yarn shop, both are near her home.

Pride is 5’04”, 200 lbs with gray hair and blue eyes. She wears eyeglasses and may be carrying a backpack.

Police are asking for anyone with information that might help find Pride to call the Portland Police Department at (207) 874-8575.

Portland votes ‘no’ on guaranteed paid sick leave

The decision affects over 19,000 employees in the city.
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PORTLAND, Maine — Portland’s City Council voted ‘no’ on Monday to guaranteeing paid sick leave for workers.

Cameron O’Brien

@cameronobrienTV

BREAKING: Portland earned paid sick time ordinance FAILS.

The May 6 decision affects over 19,000 employees in the city. The 5-4 vote comes after a debate that has been ongoing in the City Council for a year and a half.

In February, the Portland City Council’s Health and Human Services Committee voted to adopt the measure, which then went to the full City Council for consideration.

Those in favor of the bill were upset by Monday night’s decision.

“We have fought incredibly, incredibly hard for the Portland community,” said Drew Christopher Joy of the Southern Maine Workers Center. “We will not stop fighting for working class people and for people of color and for women and for trans and queer folks in this city.”

RELATED: Portland votes to support paid sick days for workers

RELATED: New push for paid sick leave statewide

The proposal would have allowed most workers in Portland one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked, with a maximum of 40 hours, or five days of sick time.

It would have applied to all workers, including part-time, seasonal, and per-diem employees.

Opponents of the ordinance, including small business owners, were worried about cost, saying it may have affected already-existing benefit packages.

This vote comes after Gov. Janet Mills amended a state paid sick leave bill to block local municipalities from creating their own sick leave laws.

That bill has undergone several amendments and is expected to be voted on within the next couple of days.