AUGUSTA —On Tuesday, a bill sponsored by Sen. Justin Chenette, D-Saco passed unanimously in the Maine Senate. LD 1121, “An Act To Acknowledge Potable Water as a Necessity,” defines clean drinking water as a public necessity.
“This bill starts to put us on a path of clearly defining access to clean drinking water as a universal human right within the state of Maine,” said Sen. Chenette. “Drinking water should be treated as a life necessity, because it is critical for life. Period. I’m glad the Senate has joined me in support of this.”
Currently, there are discrepancies in state law that do not reference potable water when mentioning the necessities for life across departments and programs. If the bill becomes law, those omissions would be addressed.
In 2010, the United Nations General Assembly recognized that water and sanitation should be a human right. They went on to clarify that water as a human right is as much about ensuring the quality of water people have to access to meets a high standard, as it is about access to water.
Sen. Chenette worked with the water-rights advocacy group Community Water Justice to introduce the measure.
The bill faces further votes in the House and the Senate.
Sen. Chenette is a member of the Environment and Natural Resources Committee.
Legislature unanimously approves Chenette bill to limit former lawmakers becoming lobbyists
AUGUSTA —On Thursday, a bill sponsored by Sen. Justin Chenette, D-Saco, to reduce the revolving door of legislators from becoming lobbyists, has passed unanimously in the Maine State Legislature.
LD 76, “An Act to Strengthen the Integrity of the Legislature,” passed the Senate unanimously on Tuesday, and the House of Representatives followed suit on Thursday.
“We must limit the undue influence lobbyists have over our government, and nothing speaks to this issue more than lawmakers and lobbyists swapping roles,” says Sen. Chenette. “Closing this loophole will ensure former lawmakers will have to follow transparency and ethics rules and hopefully discourage them from getting a lucrative lobbying gig so soon after they leave elected office.”
AUGUSTA — Sen. Justin Chenette, D-Saco, has scheduled a week of town hall-style forums to provide an opportunity for constituents to directly talk to their legislators and hear the latest updates from the State House.
These office hours will be held across multiple communities to ensure maximum participation.
State representatives from each of the towns Sen. Chenette represents also will participate in each of the forums, regardless of party affiliation.
“Accessibility is a core element of my service in the Legislature,” said Sen. Chenette. “These ongoing forums in every corner of our district provide an opportunity for your elected officials to listen and be held accountable to you. I encourage all to attend.”
Sen. Chenette and the House members will give updates on their work on various policy committees and the legislative session more broadly. All are welcome to attend, ask questions and get answers.
The public office hours will be held at the end of April and early May.
WHAT: Public office hours
WHO: Sen. Justin Chenette with House representatives from each part of his district
WHEN: Starts on Monday, April 29 and ends Thursday, May 2
WHERE: Limington, Old Orchard Beach, Hollis, Buxton, Saco
AUGUSTA – On Wednesday, Sen. Justin Chenette, D-Saco, introduced a bill before the Legislature’s Taxation Committee that would freeze the property tax rates for Maine seniors.
LD 812, “An Act To Stabilize Property Taxes on Homesteads of Individuals Who Are 66 Years of Age or Older,” would allow municipalities to stabilize and cap property taxes to provide consistency for those on fixed incomes and who have reached retirement age.
"Social Security isn’t increasing at the same rate as property taxes are climbing. If you combine higher costs for everything from food, transportation, electricity and prescription drugs, seniors are increasingly in dire situations,” said Sen. Chenette. “I’m getting phone calls from seniors who can’t afford to stay in their homes. It breaks my heart to hear their stories, and this bill complements existing property tax relief programs to keep seniors in their homes.”
This bill would make it optional for municipalities to offer such a program to its residents. Individuals would have to qualify for the property tax fairness credit in order to take advantage of locking in rates, ensuring that those who are in need the most get the reduction. The difference in property tax would be paid by the State to the municipality.
LD 812 faces further action in the Taxation Committee as well as votes in the Maine House and the Senate.
AUGUSTA — The Legislature’s Innovation, Development, Economic Advancement and Business Committee voted unanimously in a vote of 10-0 on Thursday to approve a bill introduced by Sen. Justin Chenette, D-Saco, to ban automated and prerecorded voice robocalls to residential numbers in the state of Maine.
LD 277, "An Act To Ban Telephone Solicitations Using an Artificial or Prerecorded Voice and Enhance Caller Identification," gives the Attorney General the authority to enforce this ban on automated and prerecorded voice robocalls as an unfair trade practice, specifically on the grounds that the telemarketer’s intent is to defraud, cause harm, or wrongfully profit off the communication.
“The Attorney General’s office now has something to prosecute when going after those who spam your phone,” said Sen. Chenette. “While this bill isn’t going to immediately stop all of the annoying calls, it does give state government an important set of tools to ensure accountability for robocalling, spoofing of numbers and telemarketing harassment.”
AUGUSTA —Sen. Justin Chenette, D-Saco, has introduced a bill that aims to protect consumers from utility companies and tightens oversight of Maine’s utility regulators. LD 1120, “An Act To Protect Consumers from Price Gouging by Utility Companies,” would prevent double-digit rate increases for electricity bills and would allow the governor to replace members of the Public Utilities Commission (PUC).
“The time has come to hold CMP and other utilities accountable to prevent price gouging and inaccurate billing,” said Sen. Chenette. “For far too long, the Public Utilities Commission has been enabling utility companies to write themselves a blank check and by doing so allowing foreign shareholders to profit off Maine residents.”