Legislative Information Office says all testimony will have to be submitted through
a form provided on the legislative website, but the office did not provide
links to the forms.
was given for the change, but the 129th Maine Legislature has seen
what some officials say is unprecedented levels of testimony in opposition to a
host of bills.
Some bills have spurred hundreds of pieces of written testimony from Maine citizens, who until now have enjoyed 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.
to share their opinions on legislation can still email the members of the
legislature’s committees directly, that does not change, but the emails will no
longer be considered official testimony and be included in the public record
for the bill.
Some who have been active in urging Mainers to submit their thoughts on proposed legislation were alarmed at the change.
“Alarms went off when I learned of the
Legislative Information Office’s surprise decision
to roll out a new, untested, automated distribution
system involving the submission of public testimony. The timing is alarming;
April 22nd just happens to be the date scheduled for the controversial and
highly-charged “Red Flag Bill,” LD 1312. Large crowds are anticipated on both
sides of this issue, which is largely viewed as an attack on the 2nd Amendment,
Due Process, and America’s long-standing presumption of innocence,” said Hon. Heather
Sirocki of the Maine First Project.
Watch Maine Examiner for an update on the new forms to submit testimony when they become available.