In our spare moments over the past week (when we weren't busy marching and litigating), we've been reading through the list of proposed bills that the 125th Maine legislature will consider, debate, and vote on in the next five months. There are 1,785 of them, touching on every aspect of life imaginable. And, more importantly for us, there are well over a hundred bills that impact the civil liberties that we are here to protect--freedom from discrimination, privacy, free expression, and personal control over the most fundamental choices in life. In the months leading up to this legislative session, we kept a hypothetical list of bills that we expected to see in Augusta this session, given the change in the political climate. We are not surprised, but not exactly overjoyed, how correct many of our predictions turned out to be.
Work on these bills will begin quickly, with legislative committees holding public hearings to receive the views of the public. We often submit written and oral testimony when we care about a bill, and sometimes we race around the statehouse, testifying on multiple subjects in a given afternoon. Hopefully, you will be there with us. The only way that the legislature is going to understand how important basic civil liberties and rights are to the people of Maine is if the people of Maine tell them directly. We can prevent a rollback of our civil rights in this state, but only if we work together.