Education Committee: Thursday, April 16

Work Sessions starting at 1:00 p.m.
Attorney General Guidance on Potential Competing Measures

Thursday, April 16th

Work Session - 1:00 pm

Briefing on Initiated Bills & Competing Measures
Attorney General Janet Mills & Chief Deputy Attorney General Linda Pistner

Work Session - 2:00 pm or ASAP after end of AG Briefing

L.D. 677:
An Act To Lower the Cost of State Government in the Departments under the Purview of the Joint Standing Committee on Education and Cultural Affairs

L.D. 1036:
An Act To Amend the Education Laws Regarding the State Board of Education's Degree-granting Authority, the Appeal of a School Board's Decision To Discharge a Superintendent, the Telecommunications Education Access Fund and Certain Definitions and Programs

L.D. 1027:
Resolve, Directing the Department of Education To Include the Study of Family and Consumer Science in the System of Learning Results

L.D. 1068:
An Act To Extend the Summer Tourism Season and Thereby Increase Sales Tax Revenues by Requiring that the School Year in Maine Begin After Labor Day

L.D. 1077:
Resolve, To Establish the Commission To Establish The Maine Academy of Living Treasures

L.D. 352:
An Act To Encourage Veterinary Practice in Maine

AG: Prospective legislation would be competing measures

Attorney General Mills has just advised the Committee that she believes that LD 467 (exemption for Rangeley area), LD 285 (penalties), & LD 635 (limit penalties to "good" districts) indeed WOULD be competing measures.

These three are the only ones that the Committee asked for advice.

Exception would be if they were enacted as emergency measures with two-thirds vote.

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Rep Finch questioned whether "exempting" a group from the law represents altering the law.

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Lovejoy: Asks if repeal is successful would state have to reimburse penalized districts?

AG: Not necessarily. Repeal is "prospective" so time frame is not retroactive.
AG says she believes a law court would consider that a competing measure.

Senator Weston questions that areas are relieved of penalties after January vote "causes problems"

Commissioner replies with assertion that law required districts to vote by end of January, form by July. No areas that voted after January are relieved.

[Editorial question: Alternative plan for Wells-Ogunquit doesn't count?]

AG: recommends summoning a two-thirds vote for any action.
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AG reminds that emergency legislation also needs Governor's signature.

Lovejoy asks if repeal is succesful whether State would have to reimbuse penalties.

AG: Not necessarily. Legislation is "prospective" not retroactive.

Ironically...

The bill is said to "retroactively" carry a fiscal note -- $36.5 million

LD 677...

...Senator Nutting's bill to remove two positions from the DoE.

Rep Nelson: Can Commissioner explain how Department will benefit from stimulus money?

Commisisoner: Stimulus has increased demands of Departments work, particular in relation to communications. Extra reporting requirements will require additional short-term positions. Neither of positions in question are "appointed".

Sutherland: Moves Ought-not-to-pass.

Finch: will submit a minority report to eliminate one position, the Communications Director. Spokesman for the Department should be the Commissioner or the Deputy Commissioner.

McFadden: Agrees with Rep Finch.

Wagner: Are there positions like this in each other departments

Commissioner: all have legislative liaisons. Can't speak for communications directors. I lobbied to get this position back, critically important.

Alfond: heard from superintendents that info is constant, useful, and necessary. Will be voting ONTP.

Weston: asks about salary.

Commissioner: Indovidual to 10K cut in pay moving from legislative side to DoE.

ONTP: 7 in favor. 4 in opposition (with minority report of eliminating only a single position)