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Maine Legislature relents, will continue accepting citizen testimony by email

Just a few days after announcing the Maine Legislature would no longer accept citizen testimony by email, public outcry and, in part, because top officials in the Maine Legislature were not given a chance to weigh in, the Maine’s Legislative Council has reversed their decision and will continue to allow emailed testimony.

AUGUSTA – The Maine Legislature has reversed the decision to stop accepting testimony from Maine citizens via email and announced it will continue to accept email testimony for the time being.

The about face came days after the announcement that emails to legislative committees would no longer be considered testimony, and that on April 22, the Maine Legislature would be rolling out a new online public testimony submission system on the legislature’s official website.

After considerable public outcry, and, according to the executive director of Maine’s Legislative Council, at least partly because all ten members of the Legislature’s executive council had not weighed in on the change, they announced they had reversed the decision.

Still, the new online form for citizens to submit testimony has been rolled out, providing another option for testimony.

This legislative session has seen what some observers say is an unprecedented level of grassroots citizen engagement as the legislature considers far-ranging bills that would dramatically alter public policy in Maine.

Some bills have spurred hundreds of pieces of written testimony from Maine citizens, who enjoy what is arguably the most accessible state legislature in the nation.

A bill that would eliminate exemptions for vaccines and essentially force parents to vaccinate their children to put them in school reportedly received over 1,600 pieces of written testimony.

A bill to provide taxpayer funded abortions received 266 pieces of written testimony. A host of other bills have received waves of written testimony from Mainers wanting to make sure their voices are heard.

A recent proposal to allow firearms to be confiscated from individuals through secret “red flag” orders saw nine hours of testimony before committee and hundreds of pieces of written testimony submitted.

While some Mainers may still wish to submit testimony via email, The Maine Heritage Policy Center has put together a helpful primer on using the online testimony submission form that you can check out by clicking here.

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