2017-02-09 / Editorial

Column to provide information on legislative happenings

Legislative Lowdown
by Rep. Martin Grohman

I’m pleased to start a weekly column providing updates on activities in the Legislature. I’ll cover progress on various bills and initiatives and discuss matters of current interest in Maine. Right now, we are early in the legislative session, which began in January, and bills are just being printed and referred to committee. I commute to Augusta four days a week, Mondays and Wednesdays for committee hearings and Tuesdays and Thursdays for sessions of the House.

The major work of this session will be to approve the budget for the next two years. The state budget year runs from July 1 to June 30, so we must have that work done by the end of June. While those summer days seem a long way off now, there is a very large amount of work to do before then. The budget comprises almost $7 billion dollars in expenditures across many different departments and initiatives. The governor has proposed cuts to education, health care and mental health services – and increases in taxes – that many of us are concerned with.

I am on a new committee this year, Criminal Justice and Public Safety, which has afforded me a look at the way our criminal justice system and drug courts work, and gives me the opportunity to work with many excellent people across our law enforcement, emergency management and jail and prison systems on a variety of issues. As we are all aware, our state and community face significant challenges that intersect on many levels with the criminal justice and public safety systems – most notably, the opiate crisis.

My job is to represent you, and I hope you’ll feel free to get in touch with me with your thoughts and concerns as we progress through the budget and committee hearing process.

Rep. Martin Grohman (D-Biddeford) is serving his second term in the Maine Legislature. Outside the legislature, he is chairman of the Solid Waste Commission in Biddeford, and the owner of a small company called Hellocycle which does alkaline battery recycling by mail.

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