Thursday, March 09, 2006

West Enders in MPA’s Lobby Day in Augusta

Augusta, ME — The Maine People’s Alliance (MPA) held its Annual Lobby Day on March 8th at the State House. This year’s event was attended by roughly 60 MPA members from around the state, and was designed to develop the skills of MPA’s citizen lobbyists and provide them the opportunity to share their positions directly with their legislators.
Participants from the West End included Mal Gregory, Todd Ricker, Amy Thompson, and Jenny Rottmann.
Following a lobby training session, MPA members set out in small groups to track down their senators and representatives in order to share their views and gauge their legislator’s positions. During lunch, the group received a visit from Governor Baldacci, who thanked MPA members for their enthusiastic participation in the political process and for the energy they bring each year to the capitol on Lobby Day. The event ended with a discussion of TABOR, the Taxpayers Bill of Rights, during which strategies were developed for educating Maine’s citizens about the effects the initiative will have if voted on and passed this November.

Participants discussed four priority bills:

LD 1481 - An Act to Amend the Laws Governing the Enactment Procedures for Ordinances: This bill limits citizens’ ability to have a voice in the planning decisions of their municipalities. It takes power from communities and gives it to developers.

LD 1792 - An Act to Protect Maine Families and the Environment by Improving the Collection and Recycling of Mercury Thermostats: This bill requires manufacturers of thermostats containing mercury to pay a minimum of $5 incentive for each thermostat containing mercury brought to a state-approved collection site.

LD 1845 - An Act to Increase Access to Health Insurance Products: This bill allows the Board of Directors of Dirigo Health to cancel or not renew their contract with Anthem as provider of DirigoChoice, and pursue alternative options to administer the product.

LD 1935 - An Act to Protect Health Insurance Consumers: This bill prohibits insurance carriers from including the costs of the Savings Offset Payment used to support the Dirigo Health Program in health insurance premium rates.


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