Sunday, May 19, 2013
I am responding to a July 21 editorial regarding my vote related to the DISCLOSE Act (Our View, "Maine senators voted wrong on disclosure").
U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe says the process by which a campaign finance disclosure bill came to the floor likely would have precluded the GOP from offering any amendments to the proposal.
2012 File Photo/The Associated Press
I am an ardent, longtime supporter of full disclosure in campaign advertising, having authored the landmark disclosure provision of the McCain-Feingold 2002 Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act. Regrettably, this measure was later struck down by the Supreme Court in Citizens United, so no one wants to get this current legislation right more than I do.
That is why I was deeply disappointed by the legislation's unequal treatment of corporations and unions, imposing new donor disclosure requirements that effectively benefit labor unions over businesses. The hallmark of the bipartisan McCain-Feingold Act was its even-handed, balanced treatment of all entities.
Most troubling, the bill wasn't crafted to include any Republican views, bypassed the committee process, was written behind closed doors by a select few and was rushed to the Senate floor just six days after it was introduced. The majority leader then immediately sought to limit debate.
Given the track record of denying the minority's ability to offer amendments thus far in this Senate, there were no assurances that individual senators would be allowed to modify the bill.
My role as a senator isn't to simply rubber-stamp legislation with no opportunity to address concerns through the traditional amendment process.
Indeed, because of the skyrocketing instances of the majority leader moving to end debate the very first day a bill comes to the floor or employing Senate procedure to completely block the minority from even offering amendments, a vote to proceed on the DISCLOSE Act would effectively have been tantamount to supporting the bill with no changes.
Quashing alternative ideas and opinions is not how the Senate should work.
Falmouth and Washington, D.C.
Congress Street striping makes commute frustrating
I am writing regarding the striping project on Congress Street. I live in Stroudwater, so this is an area where I travel daily.
On my way home from work, I take a left off Congress Street onto Waldo Street, utilizing the new left-turn lane. I now have to wait longer because there is one steady stream of cars coming toward me. With two lanes, I was able to turn faster.
I understand that traffic does back up when someone is turning left off Congress Street, but it never took me more than a minute to wait to turn. In the morning, I have to wait longer to take a right onto Congress Street because there is only one lane of traffic to turn into.
Driving westbound on Congress Street, after the light at Stevens Avenue, it goes down to one lane by merging into the right lane. Historically, the right lane leading up to Stevens Avenue is backed up because so many motorists take a right onto Stevens Avenue.
Those of us who are going straight through this light typically stay in the left lane to avoid the backup. However, having to almost immediately merge into the right lane makes for dangerous travel and high frustration.
I strongly urge the state to reconsider this new traffic pattern and change it back.
Left-leaning media bias works in favor of Obama
Many years ago, in 1982, I sent a letter to the editor to this very paper titled "The Unseen Enemy," in which I decried the left-leaning bias in the media and its effect on elections.
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