I wanted to let you know about a few things that have been going on at the State House over the past several weeks.
The budget continues to be our top priority, and the committee that’s been negotiating all the details has made some progress toward an agreement – though there’s still a very long way to go. One thing I can report is that budget writers from both parties rejected the governor’s proposal to tax non-profits. This is good news for so many organizations throughout the southern Midcoast region, including charities, hospitals and land trusts.
We’ve recently learned that Republicans in the Legislature have put their own budget and tax reform plan on the table alongside the Democratic plan and the governor’s own budget proposal. The new Republican plan is a lot closer to our plan on the Democratic side than it is to the governor’s. That’s good news, because it suggests that lawmakers will be able to meet in the middle and pass something that is reasonable and responsible.
I’ve been working hard on both of my committees – Judiciary and Marine Resources. Among our marine-related bills is a measure I co-sponsored with Senator Stan Gerzofsky that is part of our efforts to encourage towns to develop municipal aquaculture. My hope is that having more aquaculture at the local level will benefit shellfish harvesters – a vital part of our region’s economy.
My bill to prevent discrimination against employees and applicants based on their reproductive choices had a public hearing last week. My colleagues on the Judiciary Committee from both parties were genuinely interested in this problem because of the wide range of people this problem affects. We will likely take our first vote on the bill this Tuesday.
I’m also co-sponsoring some other measures. One involves helping low-income families reduce their heating and electricity costs. Another has to do with reimbursement rates for direct care workers who serve adults with long-term care needs.
As always, please contact me if I can be of any help or if you want to discuss or testify on any legislation.