You can help choose what issues MPA rates legislators on this year

You can help choose what issues MPA rates legislators on this year

From the outside looking in, the rapid-fire happenings in Augusta and the twists and turns of the legislative process can seem downright dizzying. (To be honest, it’s not all that different from inside the Capitol building looking out.)

Between the more than 1,800 bills submitted and hundreds of committee hearings and debates, the procedural acrobatics often take center-stage, while what’s at stake gets lost in the shuffle: the real issues that impact people’s lives across our state.

That’s why theMaine People’s Alliance publishes a legislative scorecard each year, to cut through the noise and draw attention to the votes that mattered most to Maine people and best exemplify the fundamental values of fairness, community and investing in the future.

This year, we’re doing things a little differently. Since the election this November, I’ve been blown away by how many people want to get engaged in a real and meaningful way with what’s going on in Augusta. MPA is a membership-based organization with 32,000 members and many thousands more supporters, and we take that very seriously. That’s why this year we’re asking for your detailed input on what issues and bills should be our focus.

You can review and vote on the slate of bills (many brought to our attention by members and supporters) being considered for the 2017 Maine People’s Agenda at www.maineagenda.org.

Right now, the legislature is weighing proposals that cut right to the heart of fundamental questions about our values: who we prioritize taking care of or not, who we welcome into our communities and who we reject, who gets a raise and who doesn’t, how we expand or restrict our democracy, whether the will of the voters matters.

These bills also cut to the heart of what we’re facing as a nation: attacks on immigrants rooted in racism and xenophobia, attacks on our social safety net in the name of tax breaks for the wealthy, attacks on women’s reproductive rights and the right of workers to bargain collectively.

But it’s not all bad. This list of bills also contains some genuinely positive, bold ideas. We have the opportunity to pass a budget that helps restore tax fairness after Governor LePage’s years of massive tax cuts for the wealthiest Mainers, and invest in our communities and our state, we can pass universal family care and bring our social safety net into the 21st century, we can pass stronger protections for workers and we can increase access to health care.

Hundreds of MPA members have voted already and I hope many more join them. Voting is open until tomorrow (Friday, April 28th) at noon.

About author

Taryn Hallweaver
Taryn Hallweaver 2 posts

Taryn serves as legislative director for the Maine People's Alliance.

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