Archives for legislation

RadioActive 4/6/17

Producer/Host: Meredith DeFrancesco

Program Topic: President Trump’s Executive Order on Climate and Energy and Environmentalist Split on Metallic Mining in Maine

1) Today, we look at a split between grassroots environmentalists and non-profit environmental groups over legislation that could open Maine to devastating metallic mining ground water pollution.
2). Seven bills are currently before the Maine legislature’s Committee on the Environment and Natural Resources. LD 160 would ban mining outright. LD 253 would repeal a 2012 rule change which negated more protective standards that had been put in place in 1991. Today we look at LD 820, which a number of non-profits have supported, while others in the environmental community reveal would allow substantial and irreversible onsite groundwater pollution by mining companies. The bill sponsor now seeks amendments to the bill for further protection, but it is now in the hands of the Committeee.
3) We also look at President Trump’s sweeping executive order on climate and energy, with Janet Redman, the US policy director from Oil Change International.

Janet Redman, US policy director for Oil Change International and Associate Fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies.
Lew Kingsbury, activist with Alliance for a Common Good and freelance journalist for The Cryer Find his article “ Twice Defeated Metallic Mining Rules Faces Third Vote in Legislature”“ in the April edition.

This program was produced in partnership with the Sunlight Media Collective.

RadioActive 7/23/15

Producer/Host: Meredith DeFrancesco
Issue: Environmental and Social Justice

Program Topic: Environmental Priorities Coalition on Past Legislative Session

Key Discussion Points:
1) The Environmental Priorities Coalition, representing 31 Maine environmental and public health organizations, is commending last session’s legislature for conservation and energy efficiency efforts, despite Governor LePage’s anti-environmental stance.

2) Action included rejecting a bill that would have opened the state to metallic mining (LD 750), a bill re-instituting funding for home energy efficiency subsidies (LD 1215), bills increasing lake protection (LD 568 and LD 713), support for additions to endangered and threatened species listings (LD 807), a bill blocking the governor’s attempt to decrease the number of forest rangers and the merger of the Bureau of parks and Lands with the Maine Forest Service (LD 1019) and a bill to create a process for the Maine Public Utilities Commission and stakeholders to engage in discussions and propose policy on solar power (LD 1263).

3) Maine is the only state in New England without a solar policy or subsidies for solar.

Beth Ahern, Maine Conservation Alliance; Environmental Priorities Coalition

WERU News Report 5/20/15

Producer/Host: Amy Browne
Engineer: John Greenman

(NOTE: Due to a problem with the recording, this archive starts with the show in progress)

As we go to air, the legislature’s Criminal Justice and Public Safety is holding public hearings for 2 bills that would legalize marijuana in Maine:

LD 1380 An Act To Legalize, Tax and Regulate Marijuana sponsored by Rep. Russell of Portland. This bill, if passed, would legalize the possession of up to an ounce of marijuana for a person 21 years of age and older, tax sales of marijuana and regulate the marijuana industry, which in the language of the bill is conducted by marijuana establishments. (Full text:

And LD 1401 An Act To Allow for and Regulate the Adult Use of Cannabis sponsored by Rep. Dion of Portland. This bill would reform state marijuana laws by establishing an excise tax on marijuana, allowing the personal use and cultivation of cannabis and allowing, regulating and licensing certain commercial cannabis-related activities, while providing provisions to protect persons under 21 years of age, employers and schools.
(Full text:

Today’s show features some of the testimony from the public hearing on these bills, and Hillary Lister of “Maine Matters” calls in from the statehouse with her impressions. We also take calls from listeners.

FMI: (The resource mentioned by Hillary Lister)

RadioActive 5/7/15

Producer/Host: Meredith DeFrancesco

Issue: Environmental and Social Justice

Program Topic: Maine Blocks Coverage of Tribes Under Violence Against Women Act (VOWA)

Key Discussion Points:

a) When Congress reauthorized the Violence Against Women Act (VOWA) in 2013, tribes across country were granted the ability to prosecute non-tribal members who have perpetrated domestic or dating violence against tribal members. Though this is a federal law, Maine has yet again used the Maine Indian Claims Settlement Act to refuse to recognize the participation of the Wabanaki tribes within the state.

b) Today, Eric Mehnert, Chief Judge of the Penobscot Nation Court argues the tribes meet all legal requirements to prosecute under VOWA. He also speaks on the process and goals in the Penobscot Nation’s Tribal Court.

c) On Tuesday, May 12th, at 1pm in Room 436, the legislature’s judiciary committee will hold a public hearing on LD 268, a bill that would recognize the Penobscot and Passamquoddy Tribes ability to prosecute under the Violence Against Women Act.

(An Act regarding the Penobscot Nation’s and Passamaquoddy Tribe’s Authority to Exercise Jurisdiction under the Federal Tribal Law and Order Act of 2010 and the Federal Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 – Sponsored by Wayne Mitchell/Penobscot representative).

Also being heard by committee on May 12th: LD1094: An Act to Improve Tribal-State Relations (Rep. Matt Dana/Passamaquoddy)

LD893: Resolution, proposing an amendment to article X of the Constitution of Maine Regarding the Publication of Maine Indian Treaty Obligations (Rep. Henry Bear/ Maliseet)

LD267: An Act to Implement the Recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (Rep. Wayne Mitchell/ Penobscot).

Guest: Eric Mehnert, Chief Judge, Penobscot Nation Court

WERU News Report 5/6/15

Producer/Host: Amy Browne
Engineer: John Greenman

“Every individual has a natural and unalienable right to food and to acquire food for that individual’s own nourishment and sustenance by hunting, gathering, foraging, farming, fishing or gardening or by barter, trade or purchase from sources of that individual’s own choosing, and every individual is fully responsible for the exercise of this right, which may not be infringed” — that’s the language in a proposed amendment to Maine’s Constitution that’s currently being considered by the legislature. Today on the WERU News Report we’ll discuss that proposal and other food sovereignty initiatives with guests Betsy Garrold of Food for Maine’s Future and Bonnie Preston of the Alliance for Democracy. We talk with them first, then open the phone lines and invite listeners to join the discussion.

Betsy Garrold is President of the Board of Directors of Food for Maine’s Future, which is an organization that was formed eight years ago with the merger of GE Free Maine and the Independent Food Project. She is a lobbyist in Augusta for the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund. She homesteads in Knox just a few minutes from the MOFGA Common Ground Education Center.

Bonnie Preston is a retired librarian who is on the National Council of the Alliance for Democracy, a group which seeks an end to corporate rule through systemic changes, including strengthening community control through local ordinances. She has spent the last five years working with Heather Retberg (another resident of this area) promoting the Local Food and Community Self-Governance Ordinance, which has passed in 13 towns so far and has been chosen as a major campaign for Alliance for Democracy.

WERU News Report 4/8/15

Producer/Host: Amy Browne
Engineer: John Greenman

Segment 1: Work sessions are got underway in Augusta this week for the Environment and Natural Resources Committee to sort through the details of proposals to rewrite Maine’s mining regulations. Monday the committee considered strategies for assuring that the state won’t be left paying for the clean up if something goes wrong at a mining site. For a sense of what some of the environmentalists following this issue think about the proposals being discussed, in our 1st segment today we’ll hear what Nick Bennett, Staff Scientist and Watersheds Project Director for the Natural Resources Council of Maine had to say

Segment 2: The Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee held public hearings for a slew of bills related to gun owner’s rights are underway in Augusta this afternoon, including LD 652 An Act To Authorize the Carrying of Concealed Handguns without a Permit, also known as the “Constitutional Carry” bill. Sponsor Sen. Brakey of Androscoggin presented it to the committee:

Segment 3: Open phone lines for listener reactions to today’s news, and an update on Mumia Abu Jamal’s health crisis from a concerned area resident.

WERU News Report 4/1/15

Producer/Host: Amy Browne
Engineer: John Greenman

Segment 1: Monday’s public hearing before the Environmental & Natural Resources Committee for LD 750 “An Act To Allow Regulated Metal Mining in Maine”. LD750 is sponsored by Representative Ralph Chapman of District 133, which includes Blue Hill, Brooklin, Brooksville, Castine, Sedgwick and Surry – areas where they have some experience with what can go wrong with mining.

Segment 2: Another piece of legislation sponsored by local Representative Ralph Chapman is LD506, “An Act to Improve Public-private Transportation Partnerships”, which will be discussed and likely voted on by the Transportation committee tomorrow. We have 2 guests with us in the studio to explain why this bill is considered so important to opponents of an E/W corridor. Jane Crosen and Hendrik Gideonse are members of STEWC (Stop the E/W Corridor) & a local spin off group called Advocates for Sustainable Futures Downeast.

We also open the phone lines for calls, and hear from Amy Hughes Scaccia, the coordinator of this year’s HOPE Festival, and annual event sponsored by the Peace and Justice Center of Eastern Maine.

WERU News Report 3/25/15

Producer/Host: Amy Browne
Engineer: Joel Mann

Headlines, then a report on several bills that would increase the minimum wage in Maine that were considered at a public hearing on Monday before the legislature’s Labor, Commerce, Research and Economic Development Committee. In our first segment today we listen in on that discussion, then we open the phone lines for listeners to weigh in on the issue