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 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.
July 11, 2014 - Newsletter from the House
Maine's Workforce Training System is Among the Top Programs in the CountryGovernor Paul R. LePage released a statement recently about the Workforce Investment Act Incentive Grant that Maine has earned by hitting Program Year 2012 performance goals. It is the first time in 12 years that Maine qualified for an incentive grant.
"When my administration looked into the workforce training system, we saw that the amount of money spent on training for occupational skills was far too low, so we worked to create a more efficient program that prioritized training for jobs that are actually in demand," said Governor LePage. "Working with the State Workforce Investment Board, as well as our Departments of Labor and Education, we have been able to improve the program and train more people for good-paying careers.\"
The Maine Departments of Education and Labor earned the grant totaling $819,433. Only eight states qualified for an incentive grant, including Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Maine, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Texas.
Grant money will be used to fund industry partnerships and adult literacy. It will be awarded statewide to sub-grantee applicants through a competitive program designed to improve alignment between workforce development and education systems. The goals of the sub-grants will be to improve training outcomes by providing trainees with industry-recognized credentials, to increase adult literacy, and to generate higher wages for trainees.
"When we all work together to make sure that taxpayer dollars are spent wisely and invested properly in our citizens, good things happen for our workers, our businesses, and our economy," said the Governor.
Check Your Boat Before and After You Float
With increased boater traffic during the summer season, the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) wishes to remind boaters to remove invasive plants and animals from their boats before and after they float.
2013 produced some positive news regarding invasive species. No new Maine water bodies were found to be infested with invasive aquatic plants during 2013 or early season 2014.
Maine courtesy boat inspections in 2013 topped the 80,000 mark for the second consecutive year, including a number of "saves" where invasive plants were removed from boats before launching in non-infested bodies of water. Financial support from the Department continues in 2014, with $179,500 issued to organizations to conduct inspections.
While there was some good news in 2013, there are still 24 known invasive species infestations in Maine -- mostly in the southern and western regions of the State. Lake associations and municipalities are committing significant volunteer time and financial resources to bring infestations under control. The DEP has issued $167,928 to organizations for such activities in 2014.
Revenue for the DEP's invasive aquatic species program is generated by way of an annual fee on motorized watercraft and seaplanes using inland waters. Boaters with Maine watercraft registrations pay $10, while boaters with out-of-state registrations and seaplane operators pay $20.
For more information about invasive species in Maine, contact John McPhedran at firstname.lastname@example.org or review the Department's Web site at http://www.maine.gov/dep/water/invasives/.
Maine Medical Center brings you "Be Well
Taking care of your family\'s health needs can be complex. That\'s why Maine Medical Center brings you "Be Well," a series of short videos and articles providing valuable tips from their health experts.
"Be Well" health reports on stress management, heart disease, and healthy eating can all be found on WCSH6's Web site.
Investment Information and ResourcesThe U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has a host of tools posted on its Web site to help you research and manage your investments. From an Introduction to the Markets to Investing Basics to Calculators, Quizzes, and Worksheets, this resource provides great insight for everyone. You can even sign up to receive investor alerts and bulletins from the Office of Investor Education and Advocacy.
All of this information, and more, can be found at http://investor.gov/.