Tuesday, August 28, 2007

PAC Forms to Oppose Term Limits Extension

Former Senate President Rick Bennett has organized a political action committee to oppose the November ballot question that would extend legislative terms limits from four to six consecutive terms.

The ‘No More Than Four’ committee was registered with the state’s ethics and elections commission in July. Bennett, whose supporters had tried to push into the Republican campaign for governor last year, said it was “scandalous” that the Legislature put the question on the ballot.

A citizen’s initiative referendum was adopted by voters in 1993 limiting legislators to four consecutive, two-year terms in either the House or Senate.

Legislators approved the question for the November ballot in a bipartisan, 26-9 vote in the Senate and a 78-65 vote in the House. The proposal is being backed by the state’s League of Women Voters, which would like to see the full repeal of term limits.

Opponents of term limits say it puts too much power in the hands of the executive branch, partisan staff and outside lobbyists, who have more institutional memory than new legislators. They also say it is more democratic to let voters decide if they want to keep incumbents in office, regardless of how long they have served.

The proposal on the ballot would allow a legislator to serve six terms or 12 consecutive years in either the House or Senate before being forced out of office or running for the other body. The extension would apply to incumbent legislators except those now in their fourth term.

League Launches Rent G.R.E.E.N. Campaign

The League of Young Voters Launches New Energy Efficiency Campaign for Renters

The Portland League of Young Voters has announced its newest campaign: Rent G.R.E.E.N. (Green Renewable and Energy Efficient Now!). The multi-year Rent G.R.E.E.N. campaign looks to increase the energy efficiency of Portland's rental stock by providing information for renters, incentives for landlords, and by encouraging individual action. The campaign was developed by the League's thirteen-member Steering Committee.

The campaign's first goal is to raise awareness about the Energy Efficiency Disclosure Form law that the League helped create. With the form, renters can make informed decisions about housing choices – based on how much rental units will cost to heat and will cost to the environment.

The League will be organizing renters by knocking on doors every Saturday, talking about the form, and asking renters to talk to their landlords about it. The League will also be emphasizing individual actions that can be taken to make rental units greener.

West End Representative Jon Hinck joined League members during the Alive at Five concert in Monument Square in an effort to promote the campaign, handing out energy-efficient light bulbs that will save users an estimated $60 per year in energy costs., and educating people about the Carbon Free Homes project, which helps Mainers to completely erase the "carbon footprint" created by energy use in their homes.

Local Cop to be Honored by Channel 6

A Portland police officer is among a group of outstanding volunteers who will be honored at the 8th Annual 6 Who Care Awards, a celebration of outstanding volunteers in the community, sponsored by WCSH Channel 6.

Sergeant Robin Gauvin has been with the Portland Police Department for 24 years. He is working with law enforcement and National Alliance on Mental Illness of Maine (NAMI Maine) to establish Crisis Intervention Teams (CIT) statewide in police departments, jails, hospital emergency rooms, and with social service providers.

He has worked to create 40 specialized teams of law enforcement officers, and organizes their annual trainings to learn how to de-escalate a person in psychiatric crisis.

Gauvin received the NAMI Maine CIT officer of the year award in 2005. He has been volunteering his services to NAMI Maine since 2001. In 2003, he was instrumental in establishing the first in-jail CIT team in the nation. The ceremony will be held on Wednesday, October 17th.


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