Maine: Legislative Update from Senator Brownie Carson

Banning disposable Styrofoam dishware 

This week in Augusta, the Maine House and Senate voted unanimously to ban disposable cups, plates, and other products made of polystyrene, otherwise known as Styrofoam. On the Senate floor on Tuesday, I spoke in favor of the bill, LD 289 “An Act To Prohibit the Use of Certain Disposable Food Service Containers,” sponsored by Rep. Stanley Zeigler:

“I think we all know the perils of polystyrene, how it stays in the environment if not forever, for hundreds of years; how it can’t be recycled; and the other problems that it has. I want to report that I had a brief conversation with the plant manager of Huhtamaki, the former Keyes Fibre plant in Waterville yesterday. That plant has been in business putting Maine people to work since 1903. Huhtamaki makes recycled and recyclable paper products including single use food containers.

They buy newsprint on the open market, bring it to Maine, make pulp out of it, and make trays for multiple cups of coffee or other beverages. They make food trays that are both from recycled material and compostable, and importantly they make some, but not all, of the single use food containers such as paper plates. They are safe, they are made from recyclable material, they are recyclable themselves, and Huhtamaki in Waterville, Maine puts 500 men and women to work with good paying jobs. I urge you please to follow my light and vote ought to pass.” The bill faces a final vote in the Senate before it is sent to Governor Mills.

Expanding mental health education in Maine schools 

One of my top priorities this session is to ensure that health education in Maine schools includes lessons about mental health. A bill I sponsored, LD 1024 “An Act To Include Mental Health Education in Maine Schools,” was approved by the Legislature’s Education and Cultural Affairs Committee on April 8.

It is rare that we pick up a report on children’s health today that does not reference mental health.

Teaching our kids how to be more conversant about mental health will surely bring this subject out of the shadows. It will help kids who are experiencing mental health problems to recognize them and seek counseling or peer support more often. LD 1024 would require health education instruction in elementary, middle, junior high and high schools to include lessons in mental health and the relationship between physical and mental health. The bill now faces votes before the Maine House and Senate.

Lowering the cost of prescription drugs 

This week I also testified before the Health Coverage, Insurance and Financial Services Committee in support of legislation to lower the cost of prescription drugs in Maine. Getting prescription drug prices under control is critically important because prescription costs drive up overall health care costs. In order to provide relief to Maine people, we must properly regulate pharmacy benefit managers — companies that are taking advantage of Maine people by manipulating the prices of drugs to their own benefit.

The cost of prescription drugs is one of the biggest drivers of rising health care costs in the country. In the U.S., one in four Americans struggles to pay for their prescription medication while one in ten Americansdoes not take their medicine as prescribed to stay afloat. According to the National Academy for State Health Policy, about 200 bills have been filed in 42 state legislatures to address the cost of prescription drugs. Of those bills, 88 have to do with pharmacy benefit managers, 25 are related to wholesale importation, and 13 are related to drug affordability review or rate setting.

Studying the proposed CMP Corridor 

On Wednesday, the Environment Committee voted in favor of my bill to require a study of the CMP Corridor’s impact on greenhouse gas emissions. The bill, LD 640, was approved by a 10-3 vote. It now heads to the House and Senate. I feel that this study is absolutely crucial as legislators, regulators, and the public consider whether this project should move forward or not.

Creating a paid family and medical leave program 

Finally, I testified as a cosponsor this morning on Speaker Sara Gideon’s paid family and medical leave legislation, LD 1410. I believe this legislation is important for many reasons. This program will provide employers with a higher likelihood of experienced employees returning after time off because of illness or family leave-making for a more stable and seasoned work force for that employer. Maine workers will also feel more valued and respected: paid family and medical leave will allow them to tend to important responsibilities without having to leave, or be fired from, a job because they need to care for a new child or an aging parent.

Some Maine workers have paid family and medical leave now through employer-designed programs or collective bargaining agreements. But many do not. All Maine workers should have this benefit.

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: https://www.facebook.com/BrownieForMaine/. I look forward to serving you in the coming year.

Best regards,

Maine: Bill to ban foam food containers in Maine passes Legislature, heads to Gov. Mills

If a proposed bill is signed into law by Governor Janet Mills, Maine would become one of the first states in the country to ban the use of disposable foam food containers.

AUGUSTA, Maine — A bill that would ban the sale or use of disposable foam food containers in Maine is advancing in Legislature, despite divided opinions among various state organizations.

Rep. Stanley Zeigler (D-Montville) is sponsoring LD 289, “An Act To Prohibit the Use of Certain Disposable Food Service Containers”.

Starting on Jan. 1, 2020, this bill would prohibit stores from selling or distributing any disposable food containers that are made entirely or partially of polystyrene foam, or styrofoam.

The bill would also require the Department of Environmental Protection to adopt rules that would implement these provisions.

“With the threats posed by plastic pollution becoming more apparent, costly, and even deadly to wildlife, we need to be doing everything possible to limit our use and better manage our single-use, disposable plastics — starting with eliminating the use of unnecessary forms like plastic foam,” said Sarah Lakeman, Director of Sustainable Maine. “There are affordable alternatives to foam that are less wasteful and less harmful to the environment we can be pursuing.”

On Tuesday, April 16, the bill was approved by the Senate. It faces a series of procedural votes and will then head to Gov. Janet Mills for review.

If signed into law, Maine would become one of the first states in the country to ban the use of disposable foam food containers.

RELATED: Maine house advances bill on statewide foam ban

The support behind this bill, however, is largely divided. In the 87-51 House vote earlier this month, the Portland Press Herald reported that all Republicans opposed the bill, while all Democrats and Independents supported it.

“The Maine Chamber of Commerce is skeptical about legislation that bans products in the market on a state by state basis,” said Ben Gilman, Senior Government Relations Specialist at the MCC. “We prefer market decisions to be based on consumers driving decisions.”

Gilman added that the impact of a state by state ban could create an unbalanced playing field for business in Maine, as compared to other states.

Other groups, like the Maine Grocers and Food Producers Association and the Maine Tourism Association, also oppose the proposed ban, saying it would hike up prices for Mainers.

“We continue to express concerns as this bill moves through the Maine legislature,” said Christine Cummings, Executive Director of MGFPA. “If the bill passes, it would make Maine an outlier as the first in the nation to pass such as a ban on polystyrene for food service containers. Increased product costs will occur, and our Maine residents, the customers, will inevitably incur the price of banning polystyrene and sourcing alternatives.”

Still, those in favor of the bill say that styrofoam can’t be recycled in the state and is costly to towns and cities. They also say there are affordable alternatives to styrofoam, which could help prevent pollution.

According to the Natural Resources Council of Maine, more than 150 municipalities or regions have already banned disposable foam food containers, including 14 towns in Maine. They have also been banned in state facilities and functions since 1990.

Maine: Legislative Update from Senator Brownie Carson

Dear friends and constituents,

As you know, Central Maine Power (CMP) and Hydro-Quebec have proposed a transmission corridor through western Maine, which would bring electricity from Canada to Massachusetts. Proponents of the corridor argue that the project will significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but there are plenty of reasons to be skeptical about those claims. Dear friends and constituents,

Whether the CMP transmission corridor would result in actual greenhouse gas emissions reductions is the issue here, and is a question that must be answered.

I’ve submitted a bill, LD 640, which would require a study of how the corridor will impact greenhouse gas emissions across New England, New York, and eastern Canada. Would the CMP corridor result in new greenhouse gas emissions reductions that would not happen otherwise, or would Hydro-Quebec simply divert electricity to Massachusetts ratepayers who will pay more for it, with no new actual carbon pollution reductions?

Neither Hydro-Quebec nor CMP has been willing to provide the details about what generation sources would deliver power to Massachusetts, whether those sources currently serve other customers, or what type of generation likely would back-fill any power that’s diverted to Massachusetts. This is essential information that LD 640 would provide.

To me, this feels like trying to buy a car from a dealer who won’t let me take a close look under the hood. LD 640 will provide the study we need to determine what’s under the hood. We need to understand if the climate benefits would be real, because the impacts of the CMP corridor on Maine’s environment and landscape would be massive, and very real. This bill is now being worked in the Environment Committee.

In the Education Committee on Wednesday, we passed three bills to end child hunger: LD 359701, and 549. These bills would encourage schools to provide breakfast to students after the start of the school day, make it easier for families to apply for free and reduced-price breakfast and lunch for their children, and help fund these programs in our schools. Children who are hungry have a harder time learning, and I’m hopeful that these proposals will give every young person the chance to succeed.

The Energy, Utilities and Technology Committee has been considering important bills to promote renewable energy. The committee passed and the Legislature enacted a bill to restore “net metering” for the benefit of residential solar energy system users. Another proposal would eliminate the cap on the number of utility customers who can invest in and benefit from a community solar farm. I strongly support energy policies that will restore Maine’s leadership on solar energy.

Bills to address other pressing issues, from health care to student loans, plastic pollution to teacher pay, are being considered in various legislative committees. My work in the Education and Environment Committees is challenging, engaging, and rewarding. I’ll do my best to keep you up to date.

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: https://www.facebook.com/BrownieForMaine/. I look forward to serving you in the coming year.

Best regards,

Brownie Carson

P.S. Do you know of young people who would be interested in spending a day in the Maine Senate? The honorary page program gives students an opportunity to participate in the Senate and interact with legislators. Honorary pages see what it is like to work on the floor of the Senate and be part of a legislative session. Pages perform such duties as delivering messages to senators and distributing amendments and supplements in the chamber. Students from third grade through high school are invited to serve in the Senate Chamber as honorary pages when the Senate is in session. To learn more about the program, call me at (207) 287-1515. On a different note, we’re also looking for more Mainers to sing the National Anthem for legislative sessions. If you or someone you know is interested, call the Office of the Secretary of the Senate at (207) 287-1540, and let them know you’re calling at my invitation.

Vietnam War Veterans Day at the State House

On Friday, March 29, I joined fellow veterans in the Hall of Flags at the State House for Vietnam War Veterans Day. It was a meaningful ceremony, sponsored by the Maine Bureau of Veterans Services. There were remarks by Gov. Janet Mills and the Adjutant General Douglas Farnham, who I enjoyed speaking with after the ceremony. It was good to catch up with a number of old friends and discuss important legislation to address the needs of veterans across the state.

Brownie Carson | State Senator | (207) 287-1515 |  brownie.carson@legislature.maine.gov | www.mainesenate.org

Maine: Legislative Update from Senator Brownie Carson

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Dear friends and constituents,

On Monday, Feb. 11, I gathered with my colleagues in the State Senate and House as Governor Janet Mills delivered her State of the Budget address. I’m pleased to see the governor has prioritized health care, education funding and property tax relief.

The governor’s proposal is a good first step in our budget negotiation process. I look forward to working with my colleagues and other experts from around the state to craft a biennial spending plan that is responsible, smart, and puts the needs of hardworking Mainers first. And I still want to hear from you. If you haven’t reached out to my office already about your concerns or priorities, please don’t hesitate to do so. The more we know about what our constituents want, the better prepared we will be as we go through the budget process.

I’m happy to report that one of my bills, LD 68, “An Act To Improve the Record Keeping of the Public Utilities Commission,” was approved by the Energy, Utilities and Technology Committee (EUT). This bill addresses a problem brought to my attention by a constituent. It turns out that while the PUC is a specialized court for utilities, it does not always keep permanent records of cases that come before it. LD 68 changes that. EUT held a public hearing on the bill, then a work session, and recommended the bill be passed by the full Legislature. I hope my colleagues in the House and Senate pass this bill and Gov. Mills signs it into law.

I’m also working on LD 698, “An Act to Authorize Maine Courts to Award Attorney’s Fees and Costs to Citizens Who Prevail in Civil Litigation against the Executive Branch.” This bill goes back to my lawsuit against the LePage administration when the executive branch refused to hire public health nurses. This bill will help hold the executive branch accountable to the people. There will be a public hearing on this bill next week.

Finally, an important bill we’ll be considering soon is LD 798, “An Act To Protect Maine Children and Students from Preventable Diseases by Repealing Certain Exemptions from the Laws Governing Immunization Requirements.” This bill would remove religious and philosophical exemptions to the requirement that children be vaccinated to attend public school. After hearing from many of you and researching this issue thoroughly, I would like to take a moment to discuss why I support this bill.

As it is for many people, this issue is personal for me. Our granddaughter was diagnosed with ALL Leukemia in March of her kindergarten year. She was hospitalized for several weeks, and started chemotherapy. When discharged, we were careful about where we took her because of her suppressed immune system. There was whooping cough around at that time, and a relatively high rate of un-immunized children at her school. Our pediatrician gave us information to read, and advised against sending her to school. We followed the doctor’s advice. She has fully recovered, and we are grateful.

Low vaccination rates put kids like my granddaughter and other vulnerable people at risk. People who are immunosuppressed due to transplants or chemotherapy are put at higher risk for contracting deadly diseases, including measles, mumps, rubella, polio, chicken pox, tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis.

Currently, there is an outbreak of measles in Washington state. As of February 21, there were 65 confirmed cases, many of which are people who had not been immunized. Measles can be deadly and is very contagious – someone who has not been vaccinated has a 90% chance of catching measles just by being near someone who has it. In 2017, Maine had its first case of reported measles in two decades. When the rate of immunization falls below a certain level, there is greater risk to all people.

One of the best resources I have found for information about contagious diseases and vaccinations is the Philadelphia Children’s Hospital: https://www.chop.edu/centers-programs/vaccine-education-center/resources. It has useful flyers about different diseases.If you would like to comment on this or any other issue, I can be reached at Brownie.Carson@legislature.maine.gov and my office phone is (207) 287-1515. Please allow some time for a response, as our agenda is packed.

Thank you for the honor of representing you.

Maine’s Weaponized Draconian LD798 Vaccination Bill – Susan Price

God have mercy upon the people of Maine and shame on you Governor Janet Mills for your alleged part in the act of Eugenics, watch that glass ceiling doesn’t cut you as it shatters through the loss of lives regarding these biological weapons against humanity, containing the blood of pigs, aborted fetal cells, metals and other toxic suicidal tonics you want to poke into the blood streams of innocent children.

In Summary, the current law allows exemptions from immunization requirements based on religious or philosophical beliefs for students in elementary and secondary schools and health care facilities. This new draconian vaccination bill would remove these exemptions.

The bill also directs the Department of Education and the Department of Health and Human Services to remove any immunization exemptions based on religious or philosophical beliefs from their rules and requires the Department of Education to adopt rules allowing a student who is covered by an individualized education plan and has elected a philosophical or religious exemption from immunization requirements to continue to attend school under the existing exemption as long as an appropriate medical professional provides a statement that the medical professional has provided information on the risks and benefits associated with the choice to immunize.”

LD798 An Act To Protect Maine Children and Students from Preventable Diseases by Repealing Certain Exemptions from the Laws Governing Immunization Requirements

The tax paying citizens in this state are in an uproar and rightfully so, shared conversations at local schools with parents and their concerns, leaves them feeling helpless and hopeless, many calling their representatives, one parent mentioned a phone call put in to Representative Tucker from Brunswick Maine, Rep Tucker stated that those in protest of this new bill have no credibility and that these people were examples of “Anti Vax Zealots”.

Mainers want to know why legislators will jeopardize American children through toxic and deadly inoculations just to attend schools yet that don’t enforce the same laws to illegals who many come here infested with various types of diseases.

Those of you who voted these representatives in have jeopardized your families and your communities legacy’s for these people are not representing you, they have a hidden agenda and depopulation is on the docket to be sure, Agenda 21/30.

There’s also Maine Senator, Dr. Linda Sanborn who introduced a bill that will jail your doctor or midwife for not injecting vitamin K and administering eye drops into new born babies eyes.

Mainer’s will no longer have the right to decline this issue and alternatives are not an option, not even if you have a C-section, that’s right, doctors will be forced with choosing informed consent for their patients or jail time and fines for themselves. LD443 will effectively bring the police state to the birthing space.

Does this mean the state of Maine has overstepped and removed parental rights and who does this affect?

This includes ALL Maine schools, Preschools through college, nursing schools, etc. “School” means any public or private, post-secondary school in the state, including, but not limited to colleges, universities, community colleges and schools for health professions.”

Children with IEPs currently will be allowed to finish through 12th grade by getting a physician sign off after they harass and tell Mainers what bad parents they are for putting their children and everyone at risk.

New IEP children will be denied entry to school, violating FAPE. If the Governor declares an emergency, there will be no religious or philosophical exemptions.

Gov. Janet Mills calls for a more diverse community in Maine but if you are a Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim or Catholic don’t bother coming here because legislatively the document 798 a vaccine mandate would not allow your children to go to school and if they do and they are not vaccinated than you run the chance of them being taken away from you.

Mainers want to know why legislators will jeopardize American children through toxic and deadly inoculations just to attend schools yet they don’t enforce the same laws to illegals who many come here infested with various types of diseases. Christians, Jews, Muslims, and let’s not forget about the Amish, and other sects, will be forced to inject WI38, MRC-5, RA237 and other morally objectionable material into their own bodies and that of their children.

We have witnessed and it is documented that many children have regressed after being vaccinated, due to mitochondrial disease, metabolic and immune challenges and many who have mitochondrial diseases. This “human-diploid fibroblast cell cultures” what does this consist of?

The vaccines contained in these ingredients are:

Adenovirus, DTap-IPV/Hib (Pentacel) Hep A (Havrix), Hep B (Engrix-B), Hep B (Engrix-B), Hep A/Hep B Twinrix), MMR(MMR-II) MMRV (ProQuad), Rabies (Imovax) Varicella (Varivax) Zoster (Shingles-Zostavax)

MRC-5 (Medical Research Council -5): “The MRC-5 cell line was developed in September 1966 from lung tissue taken from a 14 week fetus aborted for psychiatric reason from a 27 years old physically healthy woman. The cell morphology is fibroblast-like. The karyotype is 46, XY; normal diploid male. Cumulative population doubling to senescence is 42-48. G6PD isoenzyme is type B.”
Source: Coriell Institute for Medical Research

WI-38 (Wistar Institute-38): “The WI-38 cell line was developed in July 1962 from lung tissue taken from a therapeutically aborted fetus of about 3 months gestational age. Cells released by trypsin digestion of the lung tissue were used for the primary culture. The cell morphology is fibroblast-like. The karyotype is 45,XX normal diploid female. A maximum lifespan of 50 population doublings for this culture was obtained at the Repository. A thymidine labelling index of 86% was obtained after recovery. G6PD is isoenzyme type B. This culture of WI-38 is an expansion from passage 9 frozen cells obtained from the submitter.”
Source: Coriell Institute for Medical Researc

Phone number for Governor Janet Mills (207-287-3531) 
Stop this Communist Take Over and ask her to refuse this bill document 798.

For Further Insight:

Maine: State Legislature could crack down on childhood vaccinations, making it illegal for families to opt-out

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A new bill aims to remove exemptions, based on religious or philosophical beliefs, from immunization requirements for students of all ages, as well as employees of nursery schools and health care facilities.

PORTLAND, Maine — As Maine law stands now, families can refuse certain immunizations, based on religious or philosophical beliefs — but one Maine lawmaker is looking to change that.

(not gonna name the “one Maine Lawmaker?”)

The bill, LD 798, would remove those exemptions for students of all ages, as well as employees of nursery schools and health care facilities.

According to the bill’s summary, those who are currently not immunized but are covered by an individualized education plan would be grandfathered, as long as they have written proof from a medical professional that “the medical professional has provided information on the risks and benefits associated with the choice to immunize.”

No public hearing or work session has been scheduled for the bill.

This story will be updated.

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Maine: Legislative Update from Senator Brownie Carson

055f8802-f9b5-4c09-aeef-4b7bf95f5b54.jpgDear friends and constituents,

The legislative session is well underway, with approximately 700 of the anticipated 2,000 bills now printed and ready for committee review. Just as bills began arriving at my two committees, we paused to hold confirmation hearings for the governor’s nominees to lead the Department of Education (Pender Makin, former assistant superintendent of the Brunswick School Department) and Department of Environmental Protection (Jerry Reid, director of the natural resources section of the attorney general’s office).

Before the hearings, I met with both nominees, discussed their work histories and reasons for wanting to serve in these cabinet posts, and spoke with colleagues who had worked with them. Both came highly recommended, with extensive experience in their respective fields. Ms. Makin’s hearing was short and without controversy; she was quickly confirmed. Mr. Reid’s was long and, at times, difficult, because of his participation in litigation on water quality and Native American sustenance fishing rights. These issues have decades of history in Maine legislation and courts and more than two hundred years of history in federal legislation, treaties, and the federal courts. After dozens of citizens testified, and Mr. Reid stated his commitment to working directly with the tribes to resolve these issues, the Environment and Natural Resources (ENR) Committee voted unanimously to confirm his appointment.

Both of these nominees received my full support. Ms. Makin has dedicated her professional life to working in and advocating for quality public education. She has taught students who are “hard to reach,” and she came to Brunswick after her tenure as principal of The Real School in Falmouth. She was honored as Principal of the Year several years ago. She is equally committed to special education, gifted and talented programs, and technical education. She will also invest in and improve early childhood education.

Mr. Reid has served in the attorney general’s office since finishing law school nearly 25 years ago. In the natural resources section, he enforced Maine’s clean air and clean water laws; he fought to clean up the mercury contamination at the former Holtrachem site on the Penobscot River at Orrington; he advised the Board of Environmental Protection on the terms of environmental licenses for large scale developments; and he helped coordinate multi-state defense of both national and state environmental standards against efforts to weaken protection by the Trump administration.  He knows the issues and problems that DEP will need to address in the years ahead and is prepared to take on the environmental challenges Maine will face.

Both of the committees on which I serve will have substantial workloads. In ENR, we just reviewed a proposed new rule that would allow replacement and expansion of oil and gasoline storage facilities (including gas stations) over drinking water aquifers. In my view, we must protect these aquifers – no question. But, with outdated technology and older tanks, ought we consider allowing new, larger tanks with the best, most updated technology? We will work this bill very carefully.

In the Education Committee, we recently heard extensive testimony about the need for increased state investment in the cost of health insurance for retired teachers. Retirement benefits are often modest, and the cost of health insurance continues to rise. Teacher retirement pays a much smaller share of this cost than does the Maine State Retirement System. If we are going to attract and retain talented teachers for our schools, I believe we must increase this investment. We will also see bills on expanding early childhood education, improving science/technology curricula, mental health education, and more – and even a proposal to ban certain books.

One final note on a legislative issue that goes back to 2017: you may remember that I was lead sponsor of LD 1108, An Act to Restore Public Health Nursing Services. This law was enacted over then Gov. LePage’s veto, and it became effective in October 2017. The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), under the previous administration, continued to resist rebuilding Maine’s public health nursing service. Last July, I sued DHHS, simply asking that the court order the department to follow the law. While that litigation is still pending, I have started talks with the Mills Administration and envision resolving this dispute with an agreement that we will fully restore this vital public service. More very soon, I hope!

If you would like to comment on these or any other issues, I can be reached at Brownie.Carson@legislature.maine.gov and my office phone is (207) 287-1515. Please allow some time for a response, as our agenda is packed.

Thank you for the honor of representing you.