QUOTE OF THE DAY: “I don’t recommend watching the markets on a daily basis unless it’s your job,” Stefan Iris, chief investment officer at Camden National Bank, said of whether nervous stockholders should watch how the market is doing as the coronavirus outbreak continues. Here’s your soundtrack.
What we’re watching today
Less than a week after Maine voters turned back a challenge to a new vaccine law, lawmakers are faced with a bill exempting some from it. In Tuesday’s election, Maine voters overwhelmingly rejected a bid to repeal a law scrapping religious and personal exemptions to vaccines for public school students. A new bill from Rep. Ryan Tipping, D-Orono, who proposed the initial law, would exempt students who are enrolled in an online charter school from the requirement, which goes into effect in September 2021. It faces a public hearing before the education panel this afternoon.
Debate over the proposal is likely to see the same arguments surrounding the defeated referendum. The measure is largely a housekeeping one that will likely be welcomed by most lawmakers. However, the Yes on 1 campaign that supported the referendum spent the last days of their campaign talking about the perceived difficulty in getting medical exemptions to school vaccine requirements and said in a news release on Monday that the bill “does nothing” to address that. The debate may serve as an extension of the campaign.
Correction: Students who attend postsecondary distance learning programs will be exempt from vaccine requirements under the law upheld by Maine voters last week. An earlier version of this item was incorrect.
The Maine politics top 3
— “How Maine’s tribes are fighting for a broader role in state governance,” Caitlin Andrews, Bangor Daily News: “Two legislative bills are aimed at creating a codified consultation process between the Passamaquoddy Tribe, the Penobscot Nation and the Houlton Band of Maliseet and state agencies. They come as the Legislature is debating a broader bill that would vest tribes with federally granted jurisdiction over areas including gaming, natural resources and taxation.”
— “Maine election watchdog recommends investigating CMP corridor opponent,” Andrews: “The political stakes are high if the commission decides that investigating Say No to NECEC or Stop the Corridor is worthwhile. The groups could face a $2,500 fine for late registration, plus additional penalties for filing reports late if those reports meet a donation threshold. But it also could result in those groups disclosing their private donors, adding fuel to an already heated political campaign. Both complaints will be taken up next week.”
— “7 ideas that almost changed Maine forever,” Christopher Burns, BDN: “Oil refineries, megadams, sugar beet crops and vast “natural preserves” at one time or another came close to reshaping Maine. In each case, Mainers debated what was most essential to the state’s character.”
Pro-Collins PAC jumps back in
— A super PAC supporting Maine’s Republican senator is out with new ads this week. The 1820 PAC, a super PAC supporting U.S. Sen. Susan Collins is spending more than $11,000 in the Presque Isle market and $43,000 in the Bangor market, according to federal filings. They have likely bought ads in Portland, too. It’s a small buy so far for the group, which dumped $700,000 into pro-Collins TV ads in Maine last fall, per federal filings.
The PAC, which raised $1.5 million through 2019’s end, made the news a few weeks ago for facing a campaign finance complaint over a $150,000 contribution from a Hawaii-based company. It is one of several outside groups spending on Maine’s Senate race, with “dark money” groups including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and One Nation running ads supportive of Collins. Liberal groups, including Majority Forward and Maine Momentum, have opposed her.
The new ads come a few days after a poll showed one of Collins’ Democratic rivals ahead of her. That’s House Speaker Sara Gideon, who had a slight edge over the incumbent Republican in a survey released Thursday by the Democratic firm Public Policy Polling. Gideon is one of four Democratic planning to compete in a June primary for the chance to face Collins in November. Several independents are also looking to make the ballot, including former Green party candidate Lisa Savage, who announced last week that she had enough signatures.
Today’s Daily Brief was written by Michael Shepherd, Jessica Piper and Caitlin Andrews. If you’re reading this on the BDN’s website or were forwarded it, email firstname.lastname@example.org (we’re setting up a new subscriber page soon) to subscribe to it via email.