By the time you are reading this article hopefully we have completed the first regular session of the 126th Legislature. It has been a long winter and spring at the statehouse. Leadership from both bodies and the Governor have had many issues of contention during this session. Among the rank and file there have been a number of pieces of quality legislation put forth with most being signed by the Governor. I submitted legislation to allow the State Police to take ownership of any electronic devices used in a crime as long as the item belonged to the convicted criminal. Over the years many confiscated computers, iPads etcetera have been used as evidence however the computer crimes division of the state police had no way to dispose of those items. My legislation solves an issue for them. Another bill I am proud of is “An Act to Facilitate Children’s Testimony”. This bill allows a child 10 years old and under involved in a sex crime to be able to testify outside the courtroom via closed circuit television. The accused still can see the child on TV, yet allows the child not to be intimidated by a lot of strangers in the courtroom through two way communication. We had people testify at the hearing talking about children who could not testify in court under the pressure and the accused walked away from trial, free.
The budget was passed in both houses by one vote over two thirds. As I am writing this the Governor said he would veto the bill. When this is published we should have had time to solve the issue plus avoid a state shutdown. In my estimation a shutdown would be poor situation for all involved regardless of party for Maine citizens. We do need to control state spending and I feel we have made some decent strides in that direction during this session.
The so called hospital bill passed by a solid margin and was signed by the Governor. This allowed the state to get a bond to pay our share of the hospital bill and release federal money. The bill also allows the state to negotiate a liquor contract, which should be very profitable to the state, which will pay the bond in approximately 10 years.
It is an honor to serve the citizens of Gray and Windham, so I thank you for the opportunity. If you have any questions or needs I can be contacted at RepTom.Tyler@legislature.maine,gov or at 207-894-5576.