The 130th Legislature is underway at Maine’s State House, and MeBIC is watching for bills that will advance racial equity and justice and positively or negatively impact the immigrants that have chosen Maine as their home.
In addition to the bills that MeBIC is actively working on to get across the finish line, MeBIC has also testified about the following bills:
- LD 2, An Act To Require the Inclusion of Racial Impact Statements in the Legislative Process
MeBIC supports LD 2 because systemic racism can only be dismantled through intentionality. This bill will help the Legislature gauge whether proposed legislation, regardless of a bill’s intent, will perpetuate or instead help dismantle systemic bias and racism in Maine’s laws and policies that effect Black, Indigenous and all people of color, including immigrants of color who are critical to Maine’s communities and economic future.
- LD 132, An Act To Implement the Attorney General’s Recommendations on Data Collection in Order To Eliminate Profiling in Maine
More than a decade ago, the Legislature created a commission comprised of law enforcement officials, members of Maine’s Tribes, Black, Latinx and immigrant communities, among others, to study the issue of bias-based police profiling in Maine. While communities of color could provide innumerable examples of apparent biased-based police stops, law enforcement lacked any data to delve into whether the perceptions reflected reality, and the commission’s work was hampered by that lack of data. While progress has been made on these issues, including training, and enactment of policies against profiling, data still is not collected to measure the extent to which bias-based profiling happens or not. MeBIC supports implementation of the Maine Attorney General’s recommendations regarding this data collection, as proposed in LD 132.
- LD 107, RESOLUTION, Proposing an Amendment to the Constitution of Maine To Specify the Qualifications of Electors
MeBIC opposes this bill, which is unnecessary and divisive. It would amend Maine’s Constitution to state that only U.S. citizens can vote in state and local elections in Maine. Maine’s Attorney General says Maine’s Constitution already describes voters only as U.S. citizens. Several cities in the U.S. allow noncitizen voting in local elections, such as for school board and city council. Doing so can promote civic engagement, and give permanent residents and refugees and asylees a say in the affairs of the schools that their children attend and of the towns where they pay taxes. MeBIC is not opposed, in theory, to municipalities deciding to let noncitizens vote on local issues. But it appears Maine’s Constitution already prohibits that, making this bill unwarranted.