Action Under the Dome For Monday, Jan. 22

Monday, January 22, 2024
Jen Lancaster

It's Monday, January 22.

Did you know that Maine now has semi-open primaries? With the presidential primary around the corner on March 5, it’s important to know that unenrolled voters can now vote in the primary of their choice. And it's the first time that Mainers will use Ranked Choice Voting in a presidential primary. Here's our quick voter guide to the election.
Here are your weekly updates 👇

Want to learn how to lobby your Maine legislator? We're organizing an Advocacy Day in Augusta on February 15. It's a time to gather under the dome, celebrate our 104 birthday (we look good for our age), and talk to our legislators about vital issues. We're tackling big things like the National Popular Vote, gun safety, tribal sovereignty, and money in politics. Save your spot now and RSVP here.

Here's what we're seeing lately in Augusta:

  • LD 1578National Popular Vote: NPV had its public hearing on January 8. Soon they'll schedule a work session — when they could pass the bill out of committee and advance the bill to the chamber floors. You can make National Popular Vote a reality. Use this convenient form to email your Maine legislators and ask them to pass the NPV bill.
  •  RIP 💀  LD 1991 — Changing Governor Primary Elections: This bill would alter primary elections for governor to be nonpartisan and require top-two Ranked Choice Voting (RCV), where the top two candidates with the most votes advance to the general election. We had reservations. All of us would love to avoid the spoiler effect, but we testified that we think there’s a better way. This bill was quickly killed in committee. 

A brief history lesson:

  • SP 705  — Article V Constitutional Amendment: This is a joint resolution that could trigger two Article V Conventions to amend the U.S. Constitution, where one seeks to establish term limits for Congress and the other addresses money in politics and overturns the disastrous Citizens United decision. Since 1991, the League has opposed term limits. We 100% stick up for meaningful campaign finance reform, but an Article V convention isn’t a good way to fix Citizens United. Overall, we opposed SP 705 in our testimony, with strong concerns that the conventions may not be fair and representative of the people; they could make their own rules and set their own agendas. It received a divided Ought to Pass report during its work session in the VLA committee, so we’re on alert. ​

On the horizon: 

  • The Gun Safety Coalition will advocate for Maine-specific legislation that will address gun safety concerns.
  • The tribal sovereignty bill, LD 2007, was carried over from 2023. We'll update you once its public hearing has been scheduled.
National Popular Vote is gaining traction
Have you seen the latest endorsement? The Editorial Board of the Portland Press Herald has officially taken a stand for the National Popular Vote (NPV). Since 1970, the League of Women Voters has held the position that we should abolish the electoral college. What can we say? We're trendsetters. In the meantime, we see NPV as an acceptable way to achieve progress on this front. Click here to read the endorsement!