End Of Session Update From Rep. Jeremy Saxton
Late last week, we wrapped up nearly all of the legislative work for the session. I’m happy that we passed a number of measures that strengthen our economy and middle class – just as we had set out to do at the start of the session.
Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle found common ground in areas important to our constituents. We passed a first-of-its kind workforce development measure that addresses the skills gap and helps workers gain the skills they and their employers need for the jobs of tomorrow. We enacted historic energy legislation that lowers costs and increases efficiency.
We averted a government shutdown through bipartisan cooperation and passed a budget that blunts the massive property tax hike in Gov. Paul LePage’s original proposal and restores funding to our schools and other vital programs. When the governor vetoed this compromise budget, we held together and overrode his veto.
I’m proud of other work we accomplished, including:
-Increased state funding of public education to 47 percent of the total cost, putting Maine on track to reach the 55 percent threshold approved by voters.
-Funding the Head Start program and restoring funds to programs that help seniors and the elderly pay for their medicine.
-Modifying existing law so Mainers have access to affordable medications from safe international mail-order pharmacies
-Putting training into the schools to reduce youth suicide.
We’re still waiting to see what the governor does with a number of other key bills. There’s one, for example, that would prevent insurance companies from charging rural Mainers higher rates and another that would tie the minimum wage to the cost of living. Others would protect infants and toddlers from the toxic chemical BPA and encourage the state to buy American-made products.
I’ll let you know in future emails about some of the other good work we did this session and some other important bills that do become law.
We worked very hard this session to increase access to affordable health care to 70,000 Mainers. We’re going to continue that fight. We know that if we take the federal government’s offer, it will be good for hard-working Mainers, our state’s bottom line and our economy. Democrats are going to introduce an emergency bill when we reconvene in January.
The best part of being your representative is working on the Marine Resources Committee. We passed a major compromise bill to help with marketing our signature Maine lobsters to the rest of the world. We stopped draggers from landing lobster by-catch here in Maine. We opened up the Saint Croix River to alewives, and we worked very hard to find common ground on Maine’s always-controversial elver fishery. We also prevented Maine from adding more ethanol to its fuel – a good thing for both outboard engines and the environment. Talking to so many of you helped get all this work done, so thank you for staying engaged.
Please continue to seek out your friends and neighbors and ask them to send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org so they can receive these updates. I also encourage you to forward this newsletter to anyone our district you think might be interested. Finally, you can also call me at 751-7616 or on the State House message line at 1-800-423-2900.
Thanks for reading. I look forward to hearing from all of you.