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!
April 23, 2104 - Newsletter from the House
Posted Roads Each spring, MaineDOT evaluates potential damage to state and state-aid highways, and determines whether weight restrictions should be imposed to prevent damage due to freeze/thaw action. Many municipalities undertake similar evaluations and restrictions on local road systems.
For information about local road postings, please contact the appropriate municipal office.
To view an interactive map of current posted roads, click on the \" http://www.maine.gov/mdot/postedroads/counties.htm \" link to the left.
Maine Unemployment Rate 5.9 Percent in March
State Labor Commissioner Jeanne Paquette released March workforce estimates for Maine.
Workforce conditions continue to improve. Payroll job growth of 8,000 over the year drove the unemployment rate to the lowest since September 2008 and the employment to population ratio to highest since November 2008. Job growth was spread across a number of sectors.
The unemployment rate of 5.9 percent is down from 6.1 percent in February and 6.8 percent one year ago. The number of unemployed declined 6,700 over the year to 41,800.
Meanwhile, Maine's Job Bank, at www.mainecareercenter.com, continues to increase its number of job listings with more than 7,500 available for applicants. The Job Bank, a service of the Maine Department of Labor, is an online job board that is free for both employers and job seekers.
"Employers and job seekers all over Maine are connecting through the Maine Job Bank," said Governor LePage. "Job openings will become more competitive as our unemployment rate continues to fall. Now is the time to take advantage of this tool in your job search."
For more information on Maine's unemployment rate, please visit the Maine Department of Labor's website.
Northern Maine Spring Turkey Season Suspended Due To Effects of Severe Winter
Due to the impact of this year's severe winter in northern Maine, the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and wildlife has suspended the spring wild turkey hunt in portions of northern Maine, specifically Wildlife Management Districts 1-6. The spring turkey season will remain unchanged in all other areas of the state.
"Late winter can be the most critical period for wild turkeys, and unfortunately March of 2014 has been challenging for turkeys in Northern Maine," said Chandler Woodcock, Commissioner, Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. In fact, the National Weather Service ranked March 2014 in northern Maine as the third snowiest March on record.
IFW wildlife biologists believe the northern Maine wild turkey population has potentially sustained above-average winter mortality rates. Perhaps more significantly, much of northern Maine is still blanketed in snow.
The wild turkey population in northern Maine is more vulnerable to severe winters as it is not as well established as wild turkeys in other parts of the state.
"Wild turkeys breed in April and May, and there is still over two feet of snow in the northern Maine woods, and 80 percent of our fields are snow-covered, making nesting conditions extremely difficult for turkeys," said IFW Wildlife Biologist Rich Hoppe.
Wild turkeys nest on the ground at the base of trees or near brush piles. The snow, excessive water and the late spring will delay nesting as well as impacting overall nesting success.
AG Mills Warns of Phone Scam Claiming to be Collecting Fines
Maine Attorney General Janet T. Mills is warning Mainers to be aware of a phone scam that claims to be from the Bureau of Motor Vehicles. The caller demands a fee be paid immediately over the phone or else a warrant for arrest will be issued or their driver's license will be suspended.
"No court or government agency will call you to demand an immediate cash payment to avoid arrest or the loss of your license," said Attorney General Janet T. Mills. "If you receive one of these calls - hang up. If you have questions call the Bureau of Motor Vehicles. Never give personal or financial information out over the phone on calls you did not initiate. If someone calls you and asks you to make payment by money order or pre-paid debit card, that is very big red flag that you are about to be scammed."
Over the past couple weeks, some Mainers have been receiving calls purporting to be from the Bureau of Motor Vehicles advising they owe money on fines and if they do not pay immediately an arrest warrant will be issued or their license suspended. The scam artists employ technology that spoofs their real phone number by stating the call is from the Bureau of Motor Vehicles.
This is very similar to a phone scam that the Maine Judicial System warned citizens about in January.
If you have questions about these or other consumer matters, please contact the Consumer Protection Division of the Attorney General's Office at 1(800) 436-2131 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
To contact the Maine Bureau of Motor Vehicles with any questions, please call 624-9000.
April 18, 2014 - Newsletter from the House
Second Regular Session Draws to a Close
The 126th Maine State Legislature will soon adjourn, as nearly all legislation has been dealt with. It is expected that the Legislature will break, and then meet at the beginning of May to consider any vetoes that are issued and to deal with any other necessary matters before adjourning for the year.If there is a particular bill that you are interested in from this session, you can contact me or go to the state web.
Secretary of State Issues Alert to Maine Residents about Drivers-Licenses.Org
Numerous Maine residents have contacted the Secretary of State's Office regarding the website, http://www.Drivers-Licenses.org/Maine . Residents have used this website to attempt to renew their driver's license online. After providing the website with personal information and being charged a fee, users receive information on how to renew their licenses but fail to receive a new license. This website is not associated with the Maine Secretary of State's office or the Bureau of Motor Vehicles.
The website correctly states that it is not a government agency, nor is it associated with any government agency. However, the form of the website and the way the information is presented may create the impression that this is an official government website.
To renew your driver's license online through the State of Maine's Rapid Renewal, please enter http://www.maine.gov/online/bmv/dlr/ directly into the address bar on your web browser and not into a search engine bar.
Please contact the Secretary of State's office at (207) 626-8400 should you have any further questions or concerns.
Maine Office of Securities Seeking Information from Residents Involved in Sea Hunters Investment.
The Maine Office of Securities is seeking information from Maine residents who have invested or been approached about investing in the treasure hunting activities of Sea Hunters, L.P., Sea Hunters 2, L.P., Deep Sea Hunters, L.P or Greg Brooks.
Potential investors may have been contacted directly by Mr. Brooks or his representatives or attended a presentation outlining his undersea recovery efforts. Maine Securities Administrator Judith Shaw encourages people with information to contact the Department of Professional and Financial Regulation, Office of Securities, by calling 1-877-624-8551.
The Office of Securities protects Maine investors by investigating and prosecuting violations of securities laws; licensing broker-dealers, agents, investment advisers, and investment adviser representatives; and reviewing registration statements and exemption filings for securities issuers that are seeking to sell in Maine. More information and resources are available at www.investors.maine.gov.
The Office of Securities is part of Maine's Department of Professional and Financial Regulation, which encourages sound business practices through the oversight of insurers, financial institutions, creditors, investment providers, and numerous occupations to protect Maine residents. Consumers can learn more at www.maine.gov/pfr.
Genealogy Event to Focus on Mayflower Ancestry
It is estimated that nearly 10 percent of the U.S. population can trace their ancestry back to one of the 102 passengers of the Mayflower. Have you ever wondered if you are one of them?
On Thursday, April 24 from 2:00 to 4:00 PM, the Maine State Library Genealogy Club will host Mayflower genealogist Scott Sampson for a presentation: "Did I Come Over on the Mayflower?"
The free event will be held at the Maine State Library in Augusta and is open to the public. Refreshments will be served.
The Maine State Library Genealogy Club promotes interest in genealogy, celebrates ancestral history and works to share best practice strategies for family research. The group meets monthly at the Maine State Library and is always welcoming new members.
The Maine State Library is home to the largest genealogy collection in the state as well as town histories and published vital records for towns in Maine and a good deal of New England, materials on the Maritime Provinces of Canada, and genealogy reference materials.
To learn more about the Genealogy Club or genealogy resources at the Maine State Library, please contact Emily Schroeder at Emily.Schroeder@maine.gov or call 207-287-5600. As a side note, I know that my ancestry traces to John Alden who was on the Mayflower!