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Senator Chris Johnson addresses the Bristol Area Lions Club 11/20/2015

Posted by DS in meetings, speakers.
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Senator Chris Johnson addressed the Bristol Area Lions Club on current Maine legislative accomplishments and objectives.

At their meeting on Nov. 16, the Bristol Area Lions and guests enjoyed baked cheese manicotti with Steve’s marinara sauce, meatballs, a tossed salad with balsamic vinaigrette and garlic bread, served by caterer Steve Hawks of the Hawks House Inn in Walpole.

After dinner, State Sen. Chris Johnson reviewed accomplishments of the Legislature in the last session. For the first time in 20 years, control of the Legislature is divided amongst political parties. The House of Representatives has a Democratic majority and the Senate a Republican majority. In order to achieve anything requires the collaboration of both parties. The accomplishments of the last session were:

A budget was passed that achieved an increase in the percent of state funding for education, doubled the Homestead Property Tax Credit, exempted military pensions from Maine income tax and funded up to six more DEA agents and 2 prosecutors to handle major drug crimes. Meanwhile, two new judges and two new clerks were funded to handle the increased caseload, and funding to establish a new drug court in Penobscot County.

They passed legislation which aligns MaineCare coverage of reproductive health with coverage for pregnancy. This saves the state money from preventing unintended pregnancies and gives low-income women and men access to critical reproductive health care including contraception, cancer screenings, STI testing, and Pap tests.

Maine joined other New England states in barring shackling of pregnant prisoners.

Replaced the “AND” so Maine is making the investments it must in improving energy efficiency in homes and businesses.

Lax metallic mining rules were defeated, keeping in place Maine’s current protections for our land and water.

The Senator viewed the following as the most important matters for the next legislature when it convenes on January 6:

Address the need for a comprehensive approach for drug addiction for Maine. In addition to enforcement of the law to stop drug dealers, also providing the treatment and prevention, recovery support, and education needed to prevent people for becoming addicted, and to get people who are addicted into recovery, and ultimately better lives. This solves the drug demand problem as well as interrupting supply.

Obtaining the release of voter approved bonds to invest in Maine’s natural resource based economy. In Bremen the Priors are waiting to keep their shellfish company as a working waterfront, their project was approved twelve months ago.

Create an on-going Ocean Acidification Council to coordinate, disseminate information, and work to advance Maine’s policy and mitigation efforts in response to ocean acidification to protect Maine’s marine industry.

Obtain bond money to help finance municipal and regional municipal utility broadband efforts.

The study of gaps and shortcomings in Maine state and Federal health and mental health services, helping homeless veterans, and reaching out to engage returning veterans is due in February. Too many veterans need help dealing with their personal consequences of serving our nation by putting themselves in harm’s way.

There is so much more Maine needs to do and Senator Johnson looks forward to continuing to work for the needs of Maine people in the legislature.

The next meeting of the Bristol Area Lions will be the annual .
Christmas party at the Damariscotta River Grille on Monday, Dec. 14 at 6 p.m. To make reservations for that meeting and further details please call Herb Watson at 677-6191.

To learn more about the Bristol Area Lions, serving Bristol and South Bristol, call Walt Johansson at 677-2584.

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