AUGUSTA — The Legislative Council approved a bill from Sen. Justin Chenette, D-Saco, to improve existing campaign finance laws by clearly defining in statute what a caucus political action committee is (PAC) in statute.
Sen. Chenette worked with the staff at the Maine Ethics Commission to introduce LR 2667, “An Act To Define the Term ‘Caucus Political Action Committee’” after several years of the commission pushing for the change.
“You can’t regulate something that doesn’t exist in law,” said Sen. Chenette. “This builds on the success we had this past session around PAC reform to fix a discrepancy, prevent future ambiguity, and ensure transparency and ethical standards are met.”
SACO – Senator Justin Chenette has published a children’s coloring and activity book entitled, The Great Whoopie Pie Debate: How Your Idea Becomes Maine Law.
“The goal is to provide the next generation the tools necessary to understand how their own government works,” says Sen. Chenette, author of the book. “I wanted a fun and interactive way for kids to connect to the lessons being taught in the classroom on their path to become active and engaged citizens.”
Published by Bryson Taylor Publishing, the 32-page coloring book visually demonstrates how a law is made from start to finish with a real-life illustration of when Maine legislators debated the state dessert.
Included in the book is an educational activity section for children to solve puzzles, crosswords, and fill-in-the-blanks along with fun facts about the Pine Tree State.
This is Senator Chenette’s first book to be published. All proceeds from the book will benefit college scholarships for local high school students. For ordering information and behind the scenes video on the illustration process, visit www.WhoopiePie.org.
AUGUSTA — Sen. Justin Chenette, D-Saco, has been appointed to serve as Chair of the Marijuana Advisory Commission by Senate President Troy Jackson, D-Allagash. The commission studies best practices to implement adult-use and medical cannabis laws, rules and programs in Maine and makes recommendations to the Legislature.
“It’s critical we continue to work diligently toward establishing an adult-use marketplace as supported by Maine voters, while ensuring that public health and safety is a top priority,” said. Sen. Chenette. “As we’ve seen with alcohol, there is always a need to be refining and improving regulations to ensure a responsible relationship between businesses, law enforcement and the public.”
AUGUSTA — Sen. Justin Chenette, D-Saco, has been appointed to serve on the Maine Climate Council’s coastal and marine working group by Senate President Troy Jackson, D-Allagash. The working group will study and make recommendations regarding the effects of climate change on Maine’s coast and marine resources.
“Climate change is an existential threat to our entire way of life here in Maine,” said Sen. Chenette. “We must work to find sustainable solutions that will protect Maine’s beautiful coastline from rising sea levels, lobstering and fishing industries from warming waters, and our entire natural resources-based economy.”
AUGUSTA — Sen. Justin Chenette, D-Saco, has been appointed to serve on the National Conference of State Legislatures’ (NCSL) Redistricting and Elections Standing Committee by Sen. Pres. Troy Jackson, D-Allagash. The committee studies and advises on redistricting, election, and campaign finance laws across the country.
“Our democratic institutions have been under assault not only from political gerrymandering but also from election interference by foreign powers,” said Sen. Chenette. “This appointment is a reflection of my many years of advocacy in the Legislature to pass comprehensive democratic reforms, from strengthening ethics to expanding voting rights and access.”
Cierra Albert is the 2019 recipient of a leadership scholarship from the Chenette Scholarship Fund provided by Sen. Justin Chenette. She was selected for her service on campus and in the community. Cierra was a student representative on the local school board in addition to being class president for several years. She graduated from Old Orchard Beach High School in June and plans to attend St. John’s University in New York City to major in International Relations.
SACO – Senator Justin Chenette is headed to Harvard University this summer after being
awarded a full ride fellowship.
Chenette, who is serving his second term representing Saco, Old Orchard Beach, Hollis,
Limington, and Buxton in the Senate, will attend the Senior Executives in State & Local
Government program at the John F. Kennedy School of Government in July.
The 3-week intensive leadership development program is designed for all senior-level state and
local government officials. The goal is to hone skills and further the leadership potential of
accomplished individuals from across the United States.
“This is truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to enhance my leadership, teambuilding, policy,
and communication skills from colleagues around the country,” says Sen. Chenette. “All the best
practices I learn at Harvard will be directly applied to my work in the legislature to better serve
our community and state.”
Three recent Thornton Academy graduates have been awarded the 2019 Spirit of Service Scholarships from the Chenette Scholarship Fund. Noah Poulin, Natalie Ben-Ami, and Ashley Gonzalez were each selected to receive a $500 college scholarship because of their leadership in school and service in the community.
From left to right: Sen. Justin Chenette 09', Noah Poulin 19', Natalie Ben-Ami 19', & Ashley Gonzalez 19'
AUGUSTA — Legislation sponsored by Sen. Justin Chenette, D-Saco, to reduce the outside influence of money and lobbyists in politics was approved by the Maine Senate today in a party-line vote of 21-13.
“Lobbyists shouldn’t have a greater voice than our constituents. Under current law, money grants them undue access to our elected officials,” said Sen. Chenette. “This bill represents a comprehensive overhaul of our campaign finance system and strengthens the integrity of state government.”
LD 54 “An Act To Limit the Influence of Lobbyists by Expanding the Prohibition on Accepting Political Contributions,” would ban legislators, legislative candidates, the governor and gubernatorial candidates from accepting political contributions from lobbyists. It also would ban out-of-state lobbyist money from Maine’s political system. Candidate and elected official PACs, or political action committees, would also be banned from accepting lobbyist contributions. Currently, the only ban in place is for sitting officials while the legislature is in session. This bill expands the ban to be year-round.
The bill was endorsed by the Maine League of Women Voters, Maine Citizens for Clean Elections, and End Citizens United.
LD 54 bill is a part of Sen. Chenette’s campaign ethics reform package, which includes LD 76, “An Act To Strengthen the Integrity of the Legislature by Extending the Waiting Period before Legislators May Engage in Any Amount of Compensated Lobbying,” and LD 256, “An Act To Ban the Use of Leadership Political Action Committees for Personal Profit.” Both of those bills have been signed into law by Gov. Janet Mills.
LD 54 faces further votes in the House and the Senate before heading to the governor’s desk.
Sen. Chenette is the Chair of the Governor Oversight Committee, a member of the Senate Ethics Committee, and Co-Chair of the Democracy Reform Caucus.
The bill forms a stakeholder group to overhaul laws regarding bullying in schools
AUGUSTA — On Tuesday, the Maine House voted in support of a bill introduced by Sen. Justin Chenette, D-Saco, to review and overhaul Maine’s bullying laws. The Senate voted in support of LD 1306, “An Act To Promote Safe Schools through the Creation of the Safe School Climate Council,” last Thursday.
“As someone who was bullied all throughout school, I know the long-lasting pain that bullying can cause,” said Sen Chenette. “I want to do everything I can to ensure young people feel safe in school, feel accepted, and feel like they can be true to themselves without fear of retribution from their peers.”
LD 1306 directs the Department of Education to create a stakeholder group to recommend improvements to Maine’s bullying laws for schools. By February 2020, the Commissioner of the Department of Education will report the findings of the stakeholder group and its specific recommendations to the Education and Cultural Affairs Committee and the rest of the Legislature for further legislative action.
The goal of this bill is to obtain data, analyze issues and report on solutions to comprehensively address how school districts across the state are responding to bullying in their schools. The bill is supported by the Maine Education Association.
LD 1306 has received strong bipartisan support in the Maine Legislature. It now faces enactment votes in the Senate and the House
Rep. Justin Chenette
Press Releases and News Stories about the work being done in the local community and in the state legislature.