Last week, the Maine Legislature voted on whether to allow a Washington County racino (horse racing track with accompanying slot machines) run by the Passamaquoddy Indian tribe and whether seat belt use should be mandatory. Both bills were passed by the full legislature. Here is how local legislators voted:

Washington County Racino-Rep. John Robinson YES

Voters should have the ability to decide the fate of the Washington County racino via the referendum process. The Bangor racino facility is currently operating and stimulating viable economic development. That plan was approved by the electorate through the same manner being pursued for the Washington County proposal. Just as the Bangor facility is creating sustained economic growth and opportunity in Bangor, I believe it would be disingenuous for those of us in the thriving southern portion of the state not to support the right of the Passamaquoddy in Washington County to have a similar lucrative opportunity in their territory.

“An Act To Make Failure To Wear a Seat Belt a Primary Offense” Rep. John Robinson NO

Maine currently requires all operators and passengers in a motor vehicle to wear seatbelts; however, failure to wear a seatbelt is classified as a secondary offense. A secondary offense means that the driver of a motor vehicle can be cited and fined if they or a passenger are not wearing a seatbelt, but only if they are stopped for another offense such as speeding. The newly enacted version of L.D. 24 makes the failure to wear your seatbelt a primary offense. It is my belief that this new regulation is nothing more than government further eroding our civil liberties.

Washington County Racino- Sen.Bill Diamond YES

In the past, I have always voted against the various proposals for a Racino in Washington County for two reasons. I felt the Bangor Racino, which was approved by voters, needed time to be evaluated and secondly, we were repeatedly assured that Washington County would get badly needed economic assistance from a variety of sources if the racino was voted down. The unemployment rate in the county remains at over 18 percent and still no help as promised. I felt that enough is enough and a racino would provide jobs to the people in Washington County who have been struggling.

Seatbelts-Sen. Bill Diamond YES

Maine has had a mandatory seatbelt law for several years with restricted enforcement. Testimony at the hearing showed that more severe injuries were caused when seatbelts were not used. Treating these injuries is very expensive and too often the cost of the hospital care went unpaid by the patients, which meant everyone else with health insurance had to make up the difference. Emergency Room physicians testified that seatbelts could save millions of dollars for the health care system, which is already far too expensive for the average person. We must reduce the cost of health care.

L.D. 24, “An Act to Make Failure to Wear a Seat Belt a Primary Offense” -Rep. Gary Moore YES

This bill gave me much to think about. Many of my closest friends are against this law. I supported this bill because it is probably in the best interest of all drivers on the road that each and every person in a motor vehicle is buckled-up. Maine’s current rate of seat belt usage is 76 percent. It is my hope that this law will encourage more people to wear their seat belts. An added benefit to passing this law is that it makes Maine eligible to receive an estimated $3.7 million dollars in additional federal highway funds.

Washington County Racino, Rep. Gary Moore YES

I support racino gambling in Maine. As the prime architect of laws governing slots in Maine, I am certain that the state regulations are the most restrictive gaming regulations in the country. The Bangor slots have been totally successful and have demonstrated good citizenship in all respects. It is worth noting that at the conclusion of the Senate’s final vote to allow this racino, an agitated anti-gambling observer snarled at a representative of the Passamaquoddy Tribe, “There’s one of the last of the Mohicans.” This nasty, racially motivated slur guaranteed that I would continue to support gambling by the tribe.

Washington County Racino, Gary Plummer NO

I voted against the bill that would allow a racino in Washington County. It seems to me that since a petition drive that will send this question to the people for a referendum vote was successful that it did not make sense for the Legislature to presume how the voters would decide. Since the Legislature did not pass this bill, it is now up to the voters to pass or reject this measure.

Seatbelts, Gary Plummer NO

I voted against the bill to make it a primary offense if an adult is not wearing a seat belt. I always wear my seat belt and I ask all passengers in my vehicle to wear a belt. I just think that we cannot legislate everything that is good for people. I believe that people need to make decisions regarding their own health and safety.

Seatbelts, Rep. Mark Bryant YES

For the past 12 years, wearing a seat belt has been a state law, but you could only be cited for not buckling up if you were pulled over for another offense. I voted to make wearing seat belts a primary offense because I am convinced it will save lives, injuries and money. The two compromises also made the law more palatable to me. First, if you are pulled over for the seat belt offense only, neither you nor your vehicle can be searched. And second, only warnings will be issued by law enforcement officials until April 2008.

Washington Racino, Rep. Mark Bryant YES

I voted not to override the Governors Veto and allow the issue should go out a statewide vote. I voted in support of the Passamaquoddy Indian Tribe to develop a racetrack casino in eastern Maine. The whole area is in need of some kind of an economic boost. In the last three years there has been very little positive change in that region. Absent of any other valid proposals, if this is what the area feels is best for them, then I say let the voters decide.

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