Wednesday, 05 December 2018 12:41

Maine lawmakers look ahead to new session

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AUGUSTA - Tuesday was a day of mandatory orientation meetings for lawmakers but before getting down to business, Maine Senate leaders outlined their priorities for the coming 129th session.

"You know that means property tax relief. That means trying to come up with a way to make healthcare more affordable," Senate President-elect Troy Jackson, D-Allagash, said.

 

"That means fighting for prescription drugs, which I truly believe states have to take the lead on. And then student debt relief," Jackson said.

 
Senate Minority Leader-elect Dana Dow, R-Waldoboro, said he would like to work on tax reform.

 

"But I don't think that's going to work this time," Dow said. He said he believes any property tax relief would come at the expense of additional taxation elsewhere.

 

"You know there's things that people in this state are demanding and you have to deliver them. And I, we, intend on doing that," he said.

 

Jackson agrees with Governor-elect Janet Mills that Medicaid expansion funding needs to be among the first issues lawmakers tackle.

 

Dow said it appears that this issue is going to move forward.

 

For nearly 20 years, seating in the House of Representatives has been split, with Republicans and Democrats on opposite sides of the room.

 

But not this session.

 

"We break down those barriers because we should be working together," Jackson said. "We shouldn't be worried about who we're sitting with. You know, we all have to pull together and work on the issues that affect all the people of the state of Maine."

 

Dow agreed: "As far as getting to know each other, it'll help out."

 

While Democrats already outnumbered Republicans in the House of Representatives, November's election saw Democrats gaining control of the state Senate and the governor's office.

 

Both senate leaders agree that there will be debates and arguments but also that this will be a much less contentious legislative session than in recent years.

 

TJ Tremble

Assistant News Director
[email protected]

T.J. Tremble joined WVII ABC 7 and WFVX FOX 22 in March 2016.

He was raised in Bangor, attended Bangor schools and graduated from John Bapst High School. He attended the University of Maine, studying p...