At this point in the legislative session, more than a thousand bills have made their way to a legislative committee for at least a public hearing. Many bills have had a work session and been voted on, though there are still many more to be considered.

I submitted several pieces of legislation this year and co-sponsored several more. I’d like to share with you an overview of some of these measures and where they currently stand in the Legislature.

L.D. 518 “An Act to Clarify and Protect Certain Public Service Retirement Benefits,” returns a Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) as a benefit under the Maine Public Service Retirement System (MePERS). Recognizing that COLA is a benefit, and therefore a contractual obligation, would give peace of mind to people who spent their working lives devoted to our state. This measure has not yet been voted out of committee.

Another measure I sponsored is LD 727 “An Act to Allow the Retrofit of Underground Storage Tanks,” which allows for the retrofitting of existing Underground Storage Tanks by allowing the use of technology that builds a separate and new double wall tank within the physical confines of the existing tank. This prevents gas stations from having to tear up their entire parking lot, an expensive venture that often negatively affects rural convenience stores. This bill has been voted out of committee with the recommendation ”˜Ought to Pass as Amended.’ The next step is for it to come to the full Legislature for votes.

One of the bills I co-sponsored was put forward by my colleague Senator Baker (R-Sagadahoc). LD 1046, “An Act To Penalize Legislators for Excessive Absences,” which ensures that taxpayers are not footing the bill for lawmakers who do not show up to do their work. To me, it seems like common sense that people should not be paid for work they don’t do. The bill was voted out of committee with the recommendation of ”˜Ought to Pass as Amended,’ and now heads to the full Legislature for a vote.

Another bill I co-sponsored is LD 68, “An Act To Authorize a General Fund Bond Issue To Attract Business by Investing in High-speed Broadband Infrastructure,” sponsored by Rep. Jim Campbell (I-Newfield). Investing in broadband is necessary for Maine to be able to keep up with today’s high-tech, fast-paced world. So much of what we do today, in kindergarten classrooms and company conference rooms, is done using the Internet and Maine cannot afford to fall behind. Currently, just 20% of the state’s addresses have access to broadband speeds that meet the state’s minimum definition of broadband. This measure has not yet had its public hearing.

The legislation described here is only a sampling of what I have sponsored or co-sponsored this year. If you’re interested in finding out more about what legislation is being considered in Augusta, I recommend visiting the Legislature’s website at: and using the search function to find bills that interest you. Of course, you can always contact me to discuss what’s going on in Augusta. The best way to reach me is by phone: 432-5643 or email: [email protected]

— Sen. David Woodsome represents Senate District 33, which includes Cornish, Limerick, Newfield, Parsonsfield, Sanford, Shapleigh and Waterboro.

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