Legislative Update - April 29, 2011 LEPAGE CABINET LEGISLATIVE DATABASE
On April 27, 2011, the Governor’s Office announced a number of cabinet changes. Specifically, Commissioner Darryl Brown will no longer serve as Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Protection. Commissioner Brown will now serve as the Director of the State Planning Office. This change comes because it appears that Commissioner Brown is ineligible to hold the office of Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Protection due to past sources of income related to water permitting. Jim Brooks, Director of the Bureau of Air Quality will be the Acting Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Protection.
On the same day, it was also announced that Commissioner Phil Congdon resigned as Commissioner of the Department of Economic and Community Development. George Gervais is now serving as Acting Commissioner of this Department. Finally, the Governor announced that he intends to nominate Lieutenant General Robert Winglass as his Commissioner of Labor. General Winglass served in the Marine Corps until 1992 and served four years in the Maine House of Representatives.
ELDER ABUSE LEGISLATION
On April 26, 2011, the Judiciary Committee held public hearings on three bills related to elder abuse: LD 787, “An Act to Establish an Elder Victims restitution Fund;” LD 939, “An Act to Enhance Mandated Reporting and Prosecution of Elder Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation;” and LD 1374, “An Act to Protect Seniors and Incapacitated or Dependent Adults from Abuse.”
These bills were supported by a number of organizations including the Disability Rights Center, the Maine Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program, the Maine Coalition to End Domestic Violence, AARP, the Maine Credit Union League and the National Association of Social Workers. A number of governmental entities also spoke in favor of these bills including the Department of Corrections, the Office of Securities, the Department of Public Safety, the Office of Elder Services at the Department of Health and Human Services and the Sagadahoc Sheriff’s Department. The Maine Municipal Association did testify in opposition to LD 939 because this bill would require certain municipal officials to report suspected case of elder abuse to the Department of Health and Human Services. The Committee will hold work sessions on these three bills on May 11, 2011.
On April 28, 2011, the Judiciary Committee held public hearings on two landlord/tenant bills: LD 1070 and LD 1199. Both of these bills are intended to expedite the FED process so that landlords can evict tenants more quickly. These bills were supported by representatives of landlord organizations. A number of legal services organizations opposed these two bills, including Maine Equal Justice Partners, the Disability Rights Center and Pine Tree Legal Assistance. The Maine State Bar Association also testified in opposition to these two bills due to access to justice issues surrounding these proposals. LD 1070 proposes that a tenant pay back rent in order to be heard at an FED hearing, which has the potential to limit the ability of tenants to access the Courts. LD 1199 proposes that the writ of possession be issued at the time of judgment, effectively eliminating the right of tenants to appeal an FED decision. These two bills are up for work session on May 12, 2011.
http://www.mainelegislature.org/legis/bills/bills_125th/billtexts/HP012801.asp (though this has been amended a number of times in Committee, with no online text available)
http://www.mainelegislature.org/legis/bills/bills_125th/billtexts/HP025801.asp (though this has been amended in Committee to become a resolve, no online text available)
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Legislative Update - April 29, 2011