It’s been a busy session with a lot of bills to keep track of. Here’s what’s happened so far:

Bills Underway

The process of a bill becoming a law isn’t always a quick one. Here are the bills we’re currently working on:

  • LD 433: Resolution, Proposing an Amendment to The Constitution of Maine to Explicitly Prohibit Discrimination Based on the Sex of an Individual
    • Why We Support: While the Fourteenth Amendment acts to guarantee all individuals equal protection under the law, it has been less than effective in combating sex discrimination. This bill would enshrine women’s full legal equality in the Maine Constitution and would act as an important step in the ongoing process of extending civil liberties to all.
    • Status: The Judiciary committee voted Ought To Pass on the bill. It’s now awaiting a vote in the House and Senate.
  • LD 820: An Act to Prevent Discrimination in Public and Private Insurance Coverage for Pregnant Women in Maine
    • Why We Support: We've been fighting in the courts for years to make sure people who qualify for Medicaid can get an abortion if they need one. Now the legislature has an opportunity to step up and protect abortion access for all Mainers, regardless of how much money they make.
    • Status: The Health Coverage, Insurance and Financial Services committee voted Ought To Pass on the bill. It’s now awaiting a vote in the House and Senate.
  • LD 946: An Act to Protect the Privacy of Online Customer Information
    • Why We Support: This bill will reverse some of the damage done by the loss of privacy protections at the federal level by requiring ISPs that do business in Maine to get our permission before selling our private information to the highest bidder.
    • Status: The Energy, Utilities and Technology committee voted Ought To Pass on the bill. It’s now awaiting a vote in the House and Senate.
  • LD 1261: An Act to Authorize Certain Health Care Professionals to Perform Abortions
    • Why We Support: This bill would end Maine’s outdated ban on advanced practice clinicians (APCs) such as nurse practitioners, physician assistants and certified nurse-midwives providing abortion care in Maine, and by doing so would greatly expand access to needed health care, especially in rural parts of the state.
    • Status: The Health Coverage, Insurance and Financial Services committee held a public hearing on the bill and will hold a work session before holding a vote.
  • LD 1421: An Act to Amend the Maine Bail Code
    • Why We Support: This bill would make key reforms to the bail system to ensure people who have not been convicted of a crime, and who pose no flight risk or danger to society, can be free awaiting trial instead of held in jail.
    • Status: The bill has been referred to the Criminal Justice and Public Safety committee and is awaiting a public hearing.
  • LD 1492: An Act to Reform Drug Sentencing Laws
    • Why We Support: This bill will allow us to reinvest money from the criminal justice system into solutions for substance abuse that work, like treatment and recovery. 
    • Status: The bill has been referred to the Criminal Justice and Public Safety committee and is awaiting a public hearing.
  • LD 1516: An Act to Improve Efficiency in Communication in the Court System
    • Why We Support: This bill provides funding to establish a text message-based court notification system, saving Maine valuable resources by increasing the likelihood that people show up for their court dates.
    • Status: The Judiciary committee voted Ought To Pass on the bill. It’s now awaiting a vote in the House and Senate.

Bills Defeated

Not every bill that comes before the legislature is one we’re excited about. Here are the bills we’ve helped defeat this session:

  • LD 94: An Act to Prohibit the Dissemination of Obscene Material by Public Schools
    • Why We Oppose: This bill would ban “obscene” books from Maine public schools by removing the exception that allows the use of “obscene” materials for educational purposes in public schools.
    • Status: The Criminal Justice and Public Safety committee unanimously voted Ought Not To Pass on the bill.
  • LD 322: An Act to Strengthen Maine's Election Laws by Requiring Photographic Identification for the Purpose of Voting
    • Why We Oppose: If we really want to protect the integrity of elections in Maine, we should look for ways to help more qualified people vote - not make it harder for them to cast a ballot.
    • Status: The Veterans and Legal Affairs committee voted Ought Not To Pass on the bill and both the House and Senate upheld the committee’s recommendation.
  • LD 589: Resolve, Directing the State Board of Education to Adopt Rules Prohibiting Teachers in Public Schools from Engaging in Political, Ideological or Religious Advocacy in the Classroom
    • Why We Oppose: This bill has many problems. It encroaches on teachers' constitutionally-protected free speech rights. It is too vague to be enforced, because what may constitute a controversial topic to one person may not be at all controversial to another. And by prohibiting teachers from addressing race-based discrimination in its current forms, it could lead to unsafe school environments. Additionally, it would undermine the universal goal of preparing our young people to be thoughtful, educated thinkers.
    • Status: The Education and Cultural Affairs committee unanimously voted Ought Not To Pass on the bill.

Bills Won

And perhaps most exciting, we’ve seen some pretty awesome bills become law, like:

  • LD 179: An Act to Change the Name of Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples Day
    • Why We Support: It's time to stop celebrating a man whose arrival brought death, disease, and slavery to hundreds of thousands, and start honoring the people who lived here long before.
    • Status: The bill was signed into law by Governor Mills on April 26, 2019.

Don’t want to miss out on all of our legislative goings-on? Visit our legislative bill tracker for the latest updates on key ACLU issue bills.

 

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