Welcome to my web site, where it is my intent to keep you current with the happenings of the 126th Maine legislature, at least from my perspective. I feel honored and humbled to once again have earned your trust and support at the polls as I enter my final two years of public service in Augusta as the voice of House District 81 (Leeds, Livermore, Livermore Falls and Wayne). Having survived the Democrat wave where the majority Republican party was basically thrown out after only two years in control of the legislature, my role will be somewhat different but nevertheless just as important as I continue to advocate for the good citizens of my district and the greater constituency of the citizens of the state. Much good was accomplished over the last two years and, despite all the rhetoric of the campaign season, I believe both parties recognize that fact. We now must continue to collaborate and cooperate with each other as well as with the executive branch to make our great state a better place to live for all.
Immediately below these introductory comments you will find a weekly synopsis of some of the vital news events occurring in the capitol. These are essentially the same as those distributed through my weekly e-mails for those of you who have asked to receive same. I invite anyone who wishes to receive my weekly communications to call or e-mail with the appropriate address.
Other sections of the site provide data on how to reach me should I be able to assist you in some fashion. Frankly, that is one aspect of serving you that I particularly like. As your liaison with the myriad state agencies with which you might want to contact, I can assist you through what many see as a labyrinth of great challenge. That should not be the case and I invite you to call upon me when your personal search seems too unwieldy.
Since my first election I sat down every weekend to write a news column on some salient feature of the legislative workings. This article is printed in the LF Advertiser and a copy is provided to the town managers of the four communities weekly so that they might include it on the town's website should they wish. All citizens can visit my website if they do not have access to the newspaper or their community does not reprint it on its own site.
Finally, there are sections showing the bills that I have personally sponsored or co-sponsored. Efforts will be made to tie this website to the state's so that all legislative bills will be available to you.
Thanks for visiting my website. Should you have any questions whatsoever or need my assistance in any state matter, please let me know. It will be my privilege to serve you!
July 31, 2014 - Newsletter from the House
Maine Department of Labor Seeks Employer Feedback on Drug-Testing Statute
The Maine Department of Labor is soliciting the input of Maine businesses and other organizations regarding the current statute governing employee-testing for alcohol and drug use in the workplace. Businesses interested in participating in the survey must contact the department to receive a survey invitation; invitations are limited to one per business or organization. During the last legislative session, a number of issues were raised concerning drug testing in the workplace. As a result, the department is seeking feedback to formulate future changes to the law and its rules to address employer and employee concerns. Employers wanting to enact a drug-testing program must have a policy approved by the Maine Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Standards, with the exception of federally covered employees.
Those interested in taking the survey should email Mark Dawson, email@example.com , in the Bureau of Labor Standards. The survey will be available online through August 15, 2014.
Maine's substance-testing law is an outlier in a number of ways. Maine is the only state that does not allow probable-cause testing for the first accident; fully exempts employers who have just one employee subject to federal testing; and requires employers to pay for any EAP or uncovered drug rehab costs.
More information on Maine's workplace drug-testing laws is available on the Department of Labor's website at http://www.maine.gov/labor/laborlaws/substanceabuse_testing/ .
Treasurer Douglass Warns of Suspicious, Unofficial Unclaimed Property Postcards from Outside Maine
Postcards sent from a Colorado address, promising to return unclaimed property to rightful owners, are not being sent by the Office of the State Treasurer, according to Maine Treasurer Neria Douglass.
"Postcards mailed from out of State are not from the State Treasurer, and are highly suspicious. Unfortunately, the responsible party is trying to mislead people; luring them to respond by using our unclaimed property program. I recommended that anyone who receives notice from outside Maine does not respond in any way."
"I continue to encourage Mainers to check the state's official Unclaimed Property List at http://www.maine.gov/unclaimed and to make claims on their rightful property," Douglass added.
The Office of the State Treasurer does utilize mailed postcards to notify owners of unclaimed property. There are a number of ways to tell official notices from false ones. Notices from the Maine State Treasurer will be mailed from an Augusta, ME return address, they will direct owners to an official State of Maine website (maine.gov), they will advertise the Treasurer's local phone number (207) 624-7470, and they will bear the official seal of the state of Maine and the signature of the Treasurer.
Links to Suspicious Postcard Images http://www.maine.gov/treasurer/suspiciouspostcard1.jpg http://www.maine.gov/treasurer/suspiciouspostcard2.jpg
Link to Search Unclaimed Property List: http://www.maine.gov/unclaimed
Maine Any Deer Permit Lottery
While the deadline for paper applications has passed, individuals have until 11:59 PM on August 15th to submit online applications for the Maine Any Deer Permit Lottery. From the list of lottery applicants, the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife will administer a chance drawing on September 9th to select winners for a Maine Any Deer Hunting Permit. To hunt Any Deer in Maine, hunters must have one of these special Any Deer Hunting Permits.
Please note, you may only supply the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife with one application for the lottery per year; if it is found that an applicant has applied more than one time in a year, that applicant will be disqualified.
You are eligible to apply online if :
You have a current valid Maine Big Game Hunting License (complimentary and lifetime licenses are acceptable); and
You are a resident of the United States or Canada.
To complete the application you will need :
Current Big Game Hunting License (or complimentary or lifetime license number)
Districts to hunt in
Personal information (Name, Address, Age, etc)
Landowner Information (if applicable) including acres and town
There are no fees to apply for the Any Deer permit lottery.
July 17, 2014 - Newsletter from the House
Open Farm Day is July 27th
Open Farm Day is an annual family adventure in which farms throughout all 16 counties open their gates to offer the public an opportunity to learn about the business of agriculture. Open Farm Day gives families the chance to visit local farms throughout the state.
Farms around the state participate to commit to ensuring the sustainability of agriculture. Maine's farming industry has given back to their communities by providing a forum for education and learning in a fun atmosphere. Many farms will have demonstrations, displays, farm-raised products for sale and animals and crops to experience. Activities include barn and field tours, milking, hay rides, petting zoos, nature trails, beautiful scenery, samples for tasting and refreshments.
For a list of this year's participating farms, visit www.getrealmaine.com and search for Open Farm Day Participants by clicking Find a Farm and selecting Open Farm Day from the Agritourism activities search options.
Interested farm participants should contact Jessica Nixon at Jessica.L.Nixon@maine.gov or at 207-287-3494.
Maine CareerCenters Launch \'Success Story\' Blog To Aid Job Seekers
The CareerCenters of the Maine Department of Labor, part of the Bureau of Employment Services, has launched a new blog that shares stories of job seekers who have successfully accessed resources at CareerCenters throughout the state. The blog illustrates how staff can help job seekers jump start a search or decide on a new career direction. The blog is available at http://careercenterme.blogspot.com/.
"Many people who are looking for work don't know where to turn for assistance, and they can become discouraged if they have been unemployed for a long time," said Governor Paul R. LePage. "CareerCenters provide a true \'hand up\', rather than a hand out. These success stories illustrate how asking for help can lead to positive changes. CareerCenters provide many resources, and these stories will inspire job seekers to take advantage of them. Our expert staff can provide the boost of confidence you need to take the next step."
Using the stories of real Maine residents at different stages in their careers, the blog provides examples of the many programs and types of services people have used to get a job, change careers, access training or simply get out of a rut in their job search.
CareerCenters, part of the Maine Department of Labor, offer a variety of services to help people find employment or upgrade skills. Each center provides several public-access computer workstations with Microsoft Office software, resume writing and cover letter software, Internet access and O'Net software for skills assessment. All CareerCenter services are provided at no charge
Maine State Officials Issue Warning about Fake Offers of Government Grants in Exchange for Advance Fee
Governor Paul R. LePage joined officials in Maine's Bureau of Consumer Credit Protection in highlighting a recent trend of Mainers receiving unsolicited offers of substantial government grants if they pay an initial advance or administrative fee. In some of these cases, the consumers are also asked to provide personal and financial information.
"Government agencies aren't in the business of making unsolicited calls to offer grants or financial awards of any kind," Governor LePage said. "Mainers receiving such offers are encouraged to be cautious and to contact the Bureau of Consumer Credit Protection, which provides expert advice and assistance on many personal finance matters, including those related to unexpected offers of funds, prizes, debt management services or other financial incentives."
The Bureau's Principal Examiner, David Leach, outlined several recent cases, including:
• A Chelsea resident received an unsolicited call from the "United States Federal Grant Program," promising an $8,400 grant for an advance fee of $400. The consumer's Caller ID displayed a Washington, D.C. area code (202), but the call was traced to India.
• Another Mainer was offered a government grant through the "Finance Accounting Department." This $6,000 grant, she was told, could be obtained by sending $250 through a Green Dot Money Pack card.
In each of these cases, the consumers contacted the Bureau, and were warned not to send funds or permit access to their checking accounts. The phony grant dollar figures typically range from $800 to more than $8,000.
"Consumers are often asked to disclose their bank account numbers, under the premise that the funds could be transmitted directly into those accounts, and are asked for their Social Security numbers and dates of birth," David Leach said. "But then, before their "grants" are sent, the consumers are told they must transmit funds using money services such as Western Union, MoneyGram, Vanilla Card or Green Dot card to pay administrative costs and fees."
Leach said the personal information, such as bank account numbers, Social Security numbers and dates of birth, is likely collected to perpetrate subsequent identity theft. He emphasized that if an unknown person offers free grant money in exchange for an advance or processing fee or disclosure of personal or bank account information, it's a scam.
Consumers can report any suspicious activity involving government grant scams to the Bureau of Consumer Credit Protection, 1-800-332-8529. Additional information about the Bureau and its resources is available at www.Credit.Maine.gov.