Tuesday, March 11, 2014
Books and bullets: Lawmakers on the Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee anticipate a lot of gun-related legislation this session.
Republican Sen. David C. Burns, of Washington County, has submitted what could be one of the more contentious bills.
Burns' proposal would allow certain concealed firearm permit holders to bring their guns on school grounds. Burns, in a press release, said the proposal would allow educators to "protect themselves."
"Individuals who are sick enough to shoot a child are unlikely to respect any new or existing firearms law that we pass," Burns said in a statement. "The only way to prevent another Sandy Hook tragedy is to make sure that our schools are not defenseless.”
Burns' bill is the second known proposal that calls for arming educators. Rep. Brian Duprey, R-Hampden, in December announced that he had submitted legislation that would allow educators with concealed firearm permits to carry guns at school.
The details of the two proposals are not yet public, but it appears that Burns' bill may be more stringent than Duprey's. Burns, a former Maine State trooper and police officer, noted that concealed permit holders would have to go through a lot of the training that is required for law enforcement before being allowed to carry a gun on school property.
Nonetheless, it would appear that Burns' bill will face strong opposition from gun control advocates. The latter are quick to note that a full-time sheriff's deputy was assigned to protect Columbine High School, but he was outgunned by the perpetrators of that 1999 mass shooting.
Leftover reading from the weekend: Anyone who is interested in Maine's now 30-year-old (Sisyphean?) odyssey for cheap Canadian electricity would do well to read colleague Tux Turkel's piece in the Maine Sunday Telegram.
One small, but great, aspect of the piece is the three-point broadside at the beginning that explains why the tantalizingly cheap power from Hydro-Quebec has been hard to obtain.
Also, Buzzfeed Politics posted an interesting piece about how gun culture has won over liberals. McKay Coppins tries to explain why some among the tree-hugging, farm-to-table liberals set have become gun-toting, target-practicing lovers of spent cordite.
Coppins mostly explores the embrace of guns by denizens of the East Village and Williamsburg, rather than Democrats who court the support of the National Rifle Association. In some cases, the latter group is easily explained: Political expediency (or they're actually hunters). The former may be more linked to the reason why hipsters have re-popularized bad beer and uncomfortable clothes: They fell in love with the irony.
According to the House Democratic Office, there were 1,780 bills submitted this session. The list is likely to shrink as similar bills are consolidated, or in some cases, lawmakers realize their bill is a really bad idea.
Here's a partial list of the number of legislative requests made for the first regular session of the last nine legislatures:
117th: 1,970 bills
118th 2,079 bills
119th: 2,645 bills
120th: 2,074 bills
121st: 1,705 bills
122nd: 1,902 bills
123rd: 2,188 bills
124th: 1, 669 bills
125th: 1,899 bills
The Revisors Office will begin publishing a list of bill titles on Monday.
KMB: Anyone familiar with Gov. Paul LePage's 2011 remarks about not attending the Martin Luther King Day Jr. breakfast hosted by the Portland chapter of the NAACP knows what those initials stand for, so no reason to repeat it here.
LePage was reportedly not invited to the MLK breakfast this year. Republican House leader Rep. Kenneth Fredette of Newport was invited, and he's going.
The breakfast begins at 8 a.m. It will be held at the Holiday Inn By the Bay on Spring Street.
The governor, meanwhile, issued a proclamation Sunday declaring MLK Day, the Martin Luther King Day of Service.
Completely random non-political item: Hobo nickels.
Who knew there was such a thing? There is.
According to Esquire, a hobo nickel is a coin changed by engravers "to replace the mint's image with one of their own." Apparently the Buffalo nickel was one of the prized coins for altering. During a Jan. 12 auction, one coin that had been altered to show a bearded man on the heads side and a boxcar on the other went for $22,000.
A quote for today: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” -- M.L.K.Tweet
Steve Mistler covers politics and government for the Portland Press Herald. He spends a lot of time in the hallways of the State House.