The Maine Constitution spells out how each session of the Legislature’s term is structured. Article IV, Part Third, Legislative Power states in Section 1 that, “…the business of the second regular session of the Legislature shall be limited to budgetary matters; legislation in the Governor’s call; legislation of an emergency nature admitted by the legislature…”

Given that the second regular session is shorter than the first session there are fewer bills that need to be decided. Typically, only the most important or vital bills get voted on. Only those emergent bills, with an impact on Mainer’s lives, will be debated and given their day or moment on the floor of the House and the Senate.

This is serious business and these are serious times … and then you read what is going to be debated this session by this august body in Augusta.

In no particular order here are some of the high, or low lights. The Legislature will seek to ban single-use plastic straws, splash sticks and beverage lid plugs. Sadly, this bill will become law, I would imagine. While I am sure there will be some who breathe a huge sigh of relief over this weighty bill, the only emergency associated with this bill will be how quickly my paper straw becomes softer than an al dente noodle in my spaghetti. Everyone better stock up on plastic straws now. You can get 1,000 for only $15.95 on Amazon.

Next up for our friends under the dome is an act to minimize potentially objectionable license plates. On my long commutes I see a fair number of vanity plates that spell out a number of interesting words or phrases. I used to giggle at the car I used to see with the old-style veteran license plate that read, “AGINA.” Think about that one for a moment and I bet you will giggle too. Bravo.

Anyway, if you are paying a premium price for a vanity license plate should the state tell you what you can and cannot have on the plate? Who cares if it offends someone or not? It is your plate. It is not your neighbors’ plate or that of someone you just passed on the highway. It is yours. I am sure this is really an emergency.

There is a bill that would require the operators of motorized scooters to wear helmets. How has society advanced to the where we are without this bill having been decided before now?

Perhaps this bill should be amended to include the mandatory use of a blinking yellow light affixed above the scooter. What about a siren? Imagine the cacophony inside your local grocer or big box store as these dreadnoughts of the aisles make their way to and fro. If safety is paramount, then let’s go all out.

Not to be forgotten, coal-fired automobiles have taken center stage with several bills. There is a bill that would promote the purchase of electric school buses. They need to promote it heavily because the average cost of an electric bus will set a town back more than $100,000 above the price of a diesel-powered bus. Ouch.

I can see this initiative being really popular up in the County. Not every town up there has an LL Bean to stop at and plug into the local grid. According to one website I looked at, the average electric bus has a top range of about 120 miles and can take up to 8 hours to charge.

Guess taking the football team to Bangor is out of the question. Or the game becomes an overnight trip in order to charge up the bus.

There is also a bill aimed at restricting parking in areas reserved for charging electric motor vehicles. I hope the spots are big enough for the electric school buses.

Seriously, wouldn’t it be wiser to protect the parking spots of combustion engine vehicles because we want them to find a spot faster and shut down thereby slowing the release of all of that nasty exhaust? We should have the electric cars orbiting around parking lots looking for a spot because they are not emitting those exhausts. Come on Augusta. Think about this.

My favorite bill, by far, was the act to create a Maine Spaceport Complex. Now I remember reading something about this last year. If memory serves me it was an idea to fund a nearly $200 million venture to launch mini-satellites into space from the old Loring Air Force Base with flight control run out of Brunswick Landing.

I realize that there are a great many people in Augusta who have their heads in the clouds but does anyone really think that this idea is an emergency that needs to be dealt with during this short session? Even more, anyone who was alive during the 1980s might remember Morton Thiokol as a reason why this is a bad idea.

No, this is not your old Uncle Morty who comes over at Thanksgiving. This is the company that caused the Challenger disaster because their rubber O-rings failed. And they failed because they froze in 28-degree temperatures in Florida. If it was too cold to launch in Florida do you think that it will be too cold for many months out of the year to launch in Limestone, Maine?

Some of these ideas are not ready for prime time and they are not emergencies by any definition of the word emergency. Remember these are all “emergency” bills and they are brought to you by the people you sent to Augusta. Think about that when they want your support in November.

Jonathan Crimmins can be reached at [email protected]

Comments are not available on this story.

filed under: