The pace is starting to speed up at the State House. As of the week of March 21, sessions have changed to three days per week. Appropriations and Financial Affairs have been holding public hearings on various areas of the budget. Each committee of jurisdiction has had the opportunity to sit in on the public hearings and listen to the testimony of the department heads and the public. Hundreds of bills have come from the reviser’s office working thru the committee assignments from the House and Senate. Schedules will be done for public hearings, then on to the work sessions approximately one week after the hearings. Many bills stop at the committee level if the committee feels the bill does not warrant moving on. Many bills receive unanimous support and are passed on to the House and Senate. Others receive a divided report which usually stirs debate in both bodies.
My assigned committee is Criminal Justice and Public Safety, we have jurisdiction over many State functions including Department of Corrections, Department of Public Safety, Maine Criminal codes, etc. Some of the categories that are generating a higher number of legislative documents to us are firearms, fireworks being revisited and adjustments to the criminal codes. All of this has to be done in the next few weeks, while we also review the Chief Executive’s proposed budget to make our recommendations to the Appropriations Committee of the departments we oversee. All of the other 16 committees are working through the same process. Due to the approximately 1,800 bills entered this session, about average for a first session of a term, it is hard for any one legislator to keep up with all of the various issues, which is why the committees become very important to guide the rest of the legislature.
It is an honor to serve Windham and Gray. Contact me if you have any issues or questions. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 894-5576.