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Bristol Area Lions Club Welcomes State Senator Chris Johnson 05/31/2013

Posted by DS in meetings, speakers.
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Bristol Lion David Kolodin, right, thanks Maine State Senator Chris Johnson for his presentation on current legislative issues in Augusta.

Bristol Lion David Kolodin, right, thanks Maine State Senator Chris Johnson for his presentation on current legislative issues in Augusta.

In a recent presentation to the Bristol Area Lions Club, Maine State Senator Chris Johnson discussed a few of the nearly 2700 proposed bills under current consideration.

A resident of Somerville, Johnson was chosen to represent District 20 in 2012. He serves on three committees in Augusta—marine resources, education and cultural affairs, and government oversight. When not at the State House, he is director of information technology for DeskNet, a newsroom management company.

Johnson explained some of the complexities of passing a bill, which begins in a public hearing, wends its way to a work session and policy committee and approval from both legislative bodies before ideally ending up on the governor’s desk for his signature. It is not unusual for a bill to undergo numerous revisions, nor is it uncommon for a bill to be rejected entirely.

Johnson had the first bill passed in the current session, which was considered a feat for a freshman congressman.

Currently the Maine state legislature is wrestling with a number of bills aimed at boosting the local economy. Recognizing that higher education is more important than ever, one bill would allow a smooth credit transfer between community college and the University of Maine 4-year system.

Funding for downtown revitalization is being addressed in another bill, while another deals with hospital repayment for MaineCare expenses.

State Senator Johnson shared news on a few recently passed bills in which he played a direct role. As part of his work with the marine resources committee, the St. Croix River is now open to alewife passage for the first time in seventeen years. The alewife is an important link in the food chain for the ground fish population, and alewife run on the St. Croix River is one of the most abundant in the state. As a member of the education committee, Johnson also had a part in passing a suicide prevention bill that requires school staff to be trained to notice signs of suicidal behavior. Another education bill under consideration involves teacher evaluations based more on student grasp of critical thinking skills and less on standardized test scores.

Following Senator Johnson’s presentation, the Bristol Area Lions inducted a new member and reviewed several current projects. Recipients of four scholarships for graduating Lincoln Academy seniors have been chosen. Such scholarships are possible thanks to a number of fundraising initiatives during the summer, including weekly raffle ticket sales in New Harbor, a Treasures and Treats sale at the Willing Workers Hall on July 18, monthly Saturday trunk sales at the Bristol Consolidated School, and the annual Golf Tournament and Silent Auction at Wawenock Golf Club, which is scheduled for Saturday, August 10. All events are listed in the Damariscotta Area Chamber of Commerce Visitors’ Guide.

The next gathering of the Bristol Area Lions Club, on Monday, June 17, will be the annual meeting and election of officers and directors. To learn more about the Bristol Area Lions Club, serving Bristol and South Bristol, contact John Janell at 563-7402.

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