BANGOR — Tuesday evening one senator and a number of representatives met over zoom to recap laws they won or lost in the house over the year.
During the meeting, lawmakers focused on laws they wrote up which pertained to recovery from drugs, harm reduction, and justice.
“This is a bill that the governor and her director of opioid response Gordon Smith purposed and asked me to submit to the legislature. This bill is a common-sense bill that will permit EMT’S to distribute naltrexone to anyone who might be at risk of a future overdose,” said Sam Zager, a democrat representative for Portland.
This bill is one example of the dozens legislators made this year to hopefully pass and eventually help Maine families. The talk about decriminalizing syringes has been a controversial one and it isn’t over for some lawmakers.
“Why is this so important decriminalizing syringes or other safer use supplies is one way to reframe our drug laws and treat chaotic or problematic drug use as a public health issue and not a criminal one,” said Whitney Parrish, director of policy for Health Equity Alliance located in Bangor.
A bill lawmakers were able to create was one that would reduce the amount folks have to pay when talking to a family member or a friend in jail.
“It was a couple of years ago at my kitchen table when I couldn’t afford a phone call to his father who has been incarcerated off and on for his entire life. And that night he asked, ‘mom why are bills so expensive? Can you find somebody to help us?’ And that person was Representative Kinney,” said Courtney Allen, a Maine resident.
Not every bill positioned to help reform was able to pass lawmakers say with those bills that didn’t, they aren’t going to give up. They will move them into the next session.
“What’s next? What’s next Courtney Allen? What are we doing next? I don’t know what are you doing next Marshall? … I don’t know I just want to keep going,” said Marshall, a Maine resident.
The state capital’s next session is in January of 2022.