We had a busy week in Augusta, with action on issues from tribal sovereignty to enforcing the right to a speedy trial. Below are some specific highlights about key pieces of legislation from this week and what’s on our radar moving forward.

See more priority legislation on our bill tracker. Skip ahead to see what we're tracking next week.


LD 2007 to Restore Tribal Sovereignty

Restore Tribal Sovereignty: Support LD 2007
The Judiciary Committee held a public hearing for LD 2007 on Monday. Tribal leaders, allies, civil rights advocates, and concerned people testified to the lawmakers. This bill would grant the Wabanaki Nations some of the federal benefits afforded to every single other federally recognized tribe in the United States. 1980 laws block the Wabanaki Nations from many of the rights and benefits granted to the 570 other federally recognized tribes. Read more about the bill, see our testimony, and take action with the Wabanaki Alliance here.


LD 2001 to Teach Our Full History, Support Wabanaki and African American Studies

Teach our full history. Support LD 2001.
The Senate passed LD 2001 on Tuesday. It would give teachers and schools the resources they need to teach Wabanaki and African American studies. It passed the House last week and now heads to the Special Appropriations Table for funding. See our coalition statement alongside leaders on these issues, including Speaker Talbot Ross, the Wabanaki Alliance, the Abbe Museum, and more. Read more about the bill, see our testimony, and email lawmakers here.


LD 1771 to Enforce the Right to a Speedy Trial

Uphold the right to a speedy trial. Support LD 1771.
The Judiciary Committee held a work session for LD 1771 on Thursday. The committee tabled the bill and did not vote because lawmakers continued to work with advocates and other stakeholders to iron out some details. Maine should join the 41 other states and the federal government by adopting specific timelines to ensure that criminal cases proceed fairly and efficiently. Without action, Maine will continue failing to uphold the people’s constitutional rights and court backlogs will continue to grow at ever-increasing expense to taxpayers. Read more about LD 1771, see our testimony, and ask lawmakers to support the bill here.


LD 2210 to Establish a Civil Rights Unit in the Office of the Attorney General

This bill received a divided report from the Judiciary Committee on Thursday, with a majority of the committee supporting the bill.

It would require the AG's office to publicly share information about what kinds of alleged civil rights violations people report, which ones the AG's office pursues, and why the AG's office does not pursue others. This would give the public a better understanding of what is happening within the AG's office and why and how they make decisions. Transparency will also be helpful for advocates to know the broader climate of what is happening in Maine so they can know which issues might need immediate attention and what types of issues may be widespread. Additionally, it would require the AG's office to connect with communities so people understand what to do if they believe their civil rights were violated and what type of support the state may be able to provide to enforce their rights.

This bill is a great step forward for the public to better understand what is happening throughout Maine and how the AG's office is making decisions about which civil rights cases it pursues. A better understanding will give the public the information it needs to consider effective oversight of the office in the future. See more about the bill here and read our testimony here.

LD 2109 to Require Police Patrols Without Cause

LD 2109 would arbitrarily require rural police to maintain 2020 patrol levels, with no analysis or justification of when, where, why, or how often. We testified against this bill during the public hearing last month. It received a divided report in committee this week. Read more about it and see our testimony here.

Budget Proposals

Several committees considered various aspects of the budget this week. We testified several times this week, arguing for funding for public defense, opposing more spending on police positions when the state cannot even fill the currently funded positions, and more.


LD 2237 to Invest in Health Care and Violence Prevention, Not Punishment and Incarceration

This bill will receive a public hearing at 10AM on Monday in the Health and Human Services Committee. It would reduce our society's reliance on jails and law enforcement to address health crises by investing in mobile mental health response services, receiving centers for people in crisis, and medication management services. See the bill and watch the hearing here.

LD 2214, the Governor's Proposed Supplemental Budget

Uphold the 6th Amendment. Fund Public Defenders.
The Judiciary and Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committees will consider part of the governor's proposed budget at 10AM on Monday. During this hearing, lawmakers will consider a number of things, including funding for brick-and-mortar public defender offices. The governor has proposed partially funding a plan presented by the Maine Commission on Indigent Legal Services. We are urging lawmakers to fund the full proposal. Read more here. See the bill and watch the hearing live here.


LD 1975 to Support Public Health and End the Failed War on Drugs

Support LD 1975, End the War on Drugs
The Health and Human Services Committee will hold a work session for this bill on Wednesday at 1PM. It would increase opportunities for treatment for people with substance use disorder, rather than relying on the same failed policies of punishment and incarceration. Read more and ask lawmakers to support this bill here.


LD 2204 to Ban Property Ownership Based on National Origin and Expand Police Powers

The Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee will have a work session for LD 2204 on Thursday at 1:30PM. Like an unconstitutional Florida law, LD 2204 would prohibit people from buying property based solely on their national origin, along with provisions that would increase incarceration rates and expand police surveillance without probable cause. Read more about it here.


Emailing lawmakers is a great way to make your voice heard in Augusta. Contact your lawmakers now about the issues important to you. Adding your name only takes a moment.

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