Take notice people

We the people, not anymore. A few weeks ago, Speaker of the House Sara Gideon and President of the Senate Troy Jackson made changes to the public hearing notice rule, reducing it from two weeks down to one week. I have heard this happens during almost every legislative session, but that doesn’t make it right. This decision also impacted newspaper ads announcing public hearings. How are the people who rely on newspapers suppose to know when a public hearing is going to be held?

I have recently learned that the one week notice rule is not being adhered to. Some bills are being submitted one day, and the public hearing is being held the next day. For example, LD 1722 and LD 1730 were submitted to the Veterans and Legal Affairs Committee on May 14 and the public hearings were held the following day on May 15. The people in Augusta blame this on too many bills and not enough time to process them. The solution to this problem should be to limit the number of bills submitted in any legislative session, not removing the people from the process.

The people in Augusta were elected to represent the people, and yet they’re clearly not giving us enough time to be heard. I find this whole situation to be totally unacceptable.

James Waite

Old Orchard Beach

Abortion and responsibility

Let’s take religion out of the equation with regards to abortion. If a person spends their life drinking to excess and destroys their liver, should taxpayers pay for the surgery to replace that organ? How about a smoker who develops lung cancer?

In both of the above cases, the medical issue was caused by the poor judgement of the individual. The dangers of these two activities is well known. People need to be held responsible for their actions. If you speed through a neighborhood and get a ticket, that’s on you.

The pro-choice crowd wants you and I to pay for their lack of responsibility. Getting pregnant is a choice. If you choose to jump into bed and have unprotected sex, you risk both disease and pregnancy.

Not getting pregnant is not difficult! You don’t have to live in a convent or even refrain from casual sex. All it takes is a bit of common sense and one of the many methods of preventing an unwanted pregnancy. The focus should not be on the easy, common and expensive access to abortion but instead the many easy and inexpensive methods of birth control. It is your choice. I don’t want to pay for your errors in judgment.

Leo Mazerall

Stockton Springs

Revitalizing mill communities

Maine’s forest industry is a vital part of the state’s economy, contributing $8.5 billion annually. Recent growth in the industry, including the $111 million invested by Nine Dragons in the Old Town and Rumford Mills, and Sappi’s recent investment of $200 million in upgrades to its Somerset Mill, mean the industry is still robust.

However, these investments come after a period of decline. Between 2013 and 2015, Maine lost mills in six different communities. These closures had a profound impact on rural communities in Maine. Hundreds of people were left unemployed, and in many cases, municipal budgets were severely stressed from the loss of a commercial tax base.

Maine stakeholders believe the forest industry can grow, but growth in the industry must include diversification if we are to avoid another setback similar to what the industry experienced in 2015.

As a former town and city manager of several mill town communities including East Millinocket, Old Town, Millinocket and Lincoln, I know Maine’s forest industry is poised to welcome emerging technologies to Maine that can use post-harvest residuals to make renewable chemicals, materials, and fuels. In order to incentivize these emerging technologies to locate in Maine, our lawmakers must pass LD 1698, a renewable chemicals production tax credit.

This tax incentive will revitalize economically distressed Maine mill communities, and diversify our forest products industry so that it may see continued growth and success in the future.

Peggy Daigle

East Millinocket