Saturday, May 2, 2009

WELCOME

If you are ready for a REAL CHANGE, and ready to achieve a TRANSPARENT, EFFICIENT, and ACCOUNTABLE State legislature in Maine -- PLUS SAVE $15 MILLION DOLLARS -- please urge your State Senators and State Reps to vote for LD1424.

Please leave us your comments
Sincerely
Rep. Linda Valentino

21 comments:

linda said...

This is a worthwhile discussion and should be seriously considered by the Maine Legislature, especially since the citizens will be given an opportunity to vote on the issue.

Anonymous said...

Why aren't we hearing more about this issue?

Erika Donneson said...

Good question. Why aren't we hearing more about this? But thank you Linda for making us aware, and encouraging a discussion.

Erika Donneson said...

Another issue before the legislature is Real ID. There was a hearing last week about its impact on drivers licenses, which is over now. Next week on May 8th you can go to Augusta and watch what they do with the testimony but won't be able to comment any more.

I had no idea this was coming up either.

Craig A. Pendleton said...

Linda,
I have long thought this would be a good approach to solving the gridlock and waste in our govt. IT is the first draft I have ever been able to sit and read. One quick note today is I would suggest that terms be extended to 4 three year terms. Two year terms do not allow an individual enough time to learn his or her role, gain focus and become effective. It seems like you just get elected and you are out campaigning again. Three years would give you longer between camapigns.
I believe much of the transparency, accountability and effeciency can be accomplished through clarity of purpose. If it takes going back and rewriting a so called "Job description" for an elected leader then so be it. I know as Chairman of the Board at PeoplesChoice Credit Union that I have specific duties and responsibilities and a fuduciary responsibility to our members. Elected officials should be clearly informed and reminded of that same duty. I have some experience from working with a man named Dee Hock CEO Emeritus of VISA USA and International for many years. He helped me and others form Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance which I lead for 12 years. There is strength in revisiting the purpose of Governement and crafting moral and ethical principles by which all decisions shall be made. It is clear to me that this step is broken. Our state is in a mess and we need leaders who have vision and skill to get us to a new and better place-not ones who create new license plates and make moxie our state drink while we face 500,000-1billion dollar deficits.

Anonymous said...

Your arguments in favor of a bicameral legislature for Maine sound compelling. A smaller body seems reasonable for a small state, though I feel longer terms are necessary. I know from sitting on Boards, it takes 2 years to become fully aware of the issues, governance, and processes involved. The State of Maine is vastly larger and more complex. With 2 year terms, a Legislator is just getting familiar and comfortable, when it's time to campaign again. I would prefer more in depth attention to the details of running the government and less time raising funds and influencing people.
I look forward to the full hearing on LD 1424.
Thank you for bringing it to my attention.

Anonymous said...

Any major proposed constitutional change must be entered into with careful deliberation.

There seems to be great focus on savings of $15 million--a figure that over a biennial budget is not a windfall of savings; furthermore, constitutional changes should be focused on providing more effective government, not simply cheaper government.

The discussion of unicameral governance in municipal government and school boards illustrates the dangers of empowering one body to fulfill the legislative branch of government. All too many unicameral city councils and school boards have transformed into a kangaroo court drunk with unchecked power.

Perhaps government reform within the current bicameral system that has inherent checks-and-balances within the legislative branch is a more appropriate starting point. Why not examine and streamline both chambers just as a private sector business would to increase efficiency. Set firm lobbyist regulations. Why not allow the early dissolution of the legislature in the event of ineffective sessions--why wait through 2 years of stagnation?

The opinion piece mentions that Canadian provincial governments are unicameral chambers. While this is true, the piece neglects to outline the major differences between the British Parliamentary system that is used in Canadian government versus the American full-executive Republic system. One cannot make adequate correlations when the powers of two systems are vastly different.

While I hope this discussion continues, I have grave concerns for unintended ramifications of such a drastic constitutional reform.

Kennebec Blue said...

I absolutely agree with the idea of a unicameral legislature. It works for Nebraska, and would work for us.

I could understand the need for a bicameral system if there were substantive differences between the two houses of the Maine legislature (if the Senators had six year terms, as they do in the federal government, or if Senate seats were by county, the way Congress allocates two Senators for each state, regardless of population) but that is not the case.

The Maine Senate provides neither a balance between rural and "urban" representation nor a way to slow down voting trends through longer terms. I honestly cannot see how the cost:benefit ratio offers much here.

linda said...

Good news!!!!! LD 1424 received SIX votes from members of State and Local Govenment committee yesterday supporting the idea of a Unicameral legislature. We will now have a lively Floor debate on this issue. Please keep comments coming and feel free to email letters to Editor on this issue.

Penny Snow said...

Sounds like a pretty good compromise. I like that many people have the opportunity to participate in government,and gain experience, but if it in the end comes down to 18 senators to thumb up or thumb down a bill, it doesn't really matter anyway, I guess-that's not the kind of experience that motivates people to work harder and longer on behalf of Maine citizens... Very interesting argument for the change.
You persuaded me! Penny

Anonymous said...

Linda, this is great!
and it should work just fine, just as it does in Cuba and Venezuela.
That's right, it will work in Communist countries, which up to now, we are not!...and I for one am defending our REPUBLIC!!!
You will have your Communism under my dead body!
Your idiotic bill will make cheques and balances go away, along with our freedom and liberty.
If you really want all this, may I suggest you move to such lovely places like Cuba or Venezuela where you have what you want, total domination of the people and not freedom or liberty!

linda said...

Nebraska has had a unimcameral legislature since 1937. It has worked well in Nebraska for 72 years. Cities and counties in the United States operate under unicameral Councils and Commissions to make decisions and form budgets. all the canadian Provices are unicameral. Benjamin Franklin was a supporter of unicameral government and Pennysylvannia and other states operated under this form of goverment for many years. Checks and balances are done between the three branches of government. The Executive, Judicial, and Legislative. Plus, in Maine we have the citizen inititive and the people's veto as another check on our government.

linda said...

The Legislature cannot change to a unicameral body without the citizens voting on the issue. Only the citizens can vote to change this, but the citizens do not get a chance to vote on this issue unless a super-majority of Senators and Representatives vote to send this to the Maine citizens to vote on.

Anonymous said...

Great Idea ... smaller government more efficient!

Keep up the great work Representative!

General von Steuben said...

"... smaller government more efficient!"Great idea! Why don't we just elect a KING? That would make government even smaller and waaay more efficient!

Smaller government, the original conservative talking point, has NOTHING to do with scrapping one of two chambers!

Smaller government means to keep government out of our private lives and our pocketbook!

This proposal is just another leftist attempt at dumbing down the populace!

Anonymous said...

The idea that this would save $15 million is funny. What does "save" mean? Will the government's budget be $15 million less after this is passed? Haha. More likely the Legislature's budget will increase, as it always does, and this $15 million will get squandered away on some other "good ideas". This bill would bring no "savings" to Maine taxpayers.

JasonB said...

Anonymous said...
"The idea that this would save $15 million is funny...More likely the Legislature's budget will increase, as it always does, and this $15 million will get squandered away on some other 'good ideas'."

JasonB:
Unfortunately, Anonymous, I'm afraid you might be right. If we want to see spending come under control, I think working towards shifting all taxes to a land value tax (LVT) system could potentially do that.

LVT refers to taxing the spatial-location value of land, (NOT buildings and improvements), plus taxing natural resources.

Under LVT, the market would determine how much revenue the government got. And since LVT would primarily fall on location value, the only way the government could increase its future revenue is by investing in those things that increase the location value of land, (e.g., infrastructure, utilities, and schools).

A split-rate tax, (i.e., a lower tax on buildings and improvements than on spatial-location values), would be a good way to gradually shift over to a purely LVT system.

LVT would also incentivize economic efficiency, and be progressive and pro-conservation.

If you're interested, I go into more detail on LVT in an article of mine at
http://newsflavor.com/opinions/georgism-and-the-single-tax-on-land-why-a-130-year-old-idea-is-still-relevant-today/

Now back to the subject matter at hand...

I like the idea of a unicameral legislature, but I would like it more if it was based on proportional representation. Someone else and I have already begun a discussion on this idea at another part of this blog, (the "LD1424 Q & A" section). Please share your thoughts, if you'd like. (Of course, I'd like to see anyone here share their thoughts!)

The PR unicameral discussion is at

https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=8599706639794898286&postID=2016113467382432181

JasonB said...

"Maine Senate kills one-chamber bill"

Submitted By The Associated Press
on Wednesday, Jun. 10 at 12:30 pm

See

http://morningsentinel.mainetoday.com/newsupdate.php?updates/maine-senate-kills-one-chamber-bill

I guess I'm not surprised.

Since it now appears that we will still have a bicameral legislature, (at least for the time being), perhaps it is worth considering having the Maine Senate use proportional representation. If we're going to have two chambers, it seems redundant to have them both geographically-based. Have the House geographically-based, (as it is now), and have a PR Senate.

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Erika Donneson said...

I don't like it because of what we are seeing right here. People have radically different opinions, and unless they are on national TV, no voter will have a clue what the candidates stand for. With a two party system, we are at least aware of the general characteristics of each party, even though no two candidates will ever be alike in all applications. But at least it gives the public a ball park idea of who is running so they can make their choice.

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