131st Legislature Bill Tracker
Maine legislators will consider a number of bills during the 131st Legislature that involve issues related to the Wabanaki Nations. Our Bill Tracker has details on many of those bills and actions you can take to stand with the Wabanaki. Many bills we’ll follow haven’t been released yet, so check back often for updates!
Scroll down to see all of the bills added to the tracker so far or use the navigation sections below to jump to new bills in the tracker, bills with an upcoming public hearing (🎙️) or bills with an upcoming vote (⚠️).
Learn how to submit testimony, contact your legislators, write an LTE and more in our Legislative Toolkit.
Wabanaki citizens and allies rallied at the Maine State House in April 2022.
Bills with upcoming hearings
None of the bills we are currently tracking have public hearings this week.
LD 25: An Act to Provide Indigenous Peoples Free Access to State Parks
Sponsor: Sen. Craig V. Hickman, D-Kennebec
The Wabanaki Alliance supports this bill. Read our testimony»
This bill provides that a member of a federally recognized Indian nation, tribe or band is not required to pay a fee for admission to or use of any state-owned park or historic site managed by the state of Maine. An amendment to the bill proposed in committee also waives camping fees. Read the complete bill text»
⚠️ STATUS: Senate will vote soon
The Committee on Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry held a public hearing on Jan. 25. (Read the public testimony.) A work session was held Feb. 1 and the committee voted the bill Ought to Pass as amended. The bill goes to the Senate next for a vote.
» Contact your legislators: Email and call your legislators and ask them to vote YES on LD 25. Find your legislator here»
LD 78: RESOLUTION, Proposing an Amendment to Article X of the Constitution of Maine Regarding the Publication of Maine Indian Treaty Obligations and LD 578, RESOLUTION, Proposing an Amendment to the Constitution of Maine Concerning the Publication of Maine Indian Treaty Obligations
LD 78 Sponsor: House Speaker Rachel Talbot Ross, D-Portland
LD 578 Sponsor: Sen. Richard Bennett, R-Oxford
The Wabanaki Alliance supports these bills. Read our testimony»
These bills would restore language regarding Maine Indian treaty obligations to all printed copies of the Maine Constitution. In 1876, the state constitution was amended to remove certain sections of Article X from print. Article X incorporates most of the 1819 act that separated Maine from Massachusetts and includes a timeline for starting the new Maine government. Section 5 of the article, one of three affected by the 1876 amendment, clarifies Maine’s obligation to uphold and defend treaties made between Massachusetts and the Passamaquoddy and Penobscot Nations. While the three sections remain in force and can be read online, the 1876 amendment prohibits their inclusion in printed versions of the constitution. Both LD 78 and LD 578 are amendments to the state constitution that would require that Section 5 be included in all printed copies of the constitution. Constitutional amendments require passage by two-thirds of each legislative chamber before advancing to the voters for approval. Learn more about the removal of section 5 in this report or watch REDACT, a recording of a Maine Historical Society panel discussion on the topic. Read the complete bill text for LD 78 and LD 578.
⚠️ STATUS: Legislature will vote soon
The Committee on Judiciary held a public hearing on both bills Tuesday, March 7 (read the public testimony). Sen. Bennett withdrew his bill, LD 578, and threw his support to LD 78. At a March 16 work session, LD 78 was amended to stipulate that all provisions of Article X, not just Section 5, be included in printed version of the constitution. The committee voted that the bill Ought to Pass as Amended. The bill will go to the House next for a vote.
» Contact your legislators. Call your legislators and ask them to vote YES on LD 78. Find your legislator here»
LD 294, An Act to Include a Tribal Member in the Baxter State Park Authority
Sponsor: Rep. Benjamin T. Collings, D-Portland
The Wabanaki Alliance supports this bill. Read our testimony»
This bill would add a Wabanaki citizen to the Baxter State Park Authority, which has full power in the control and management of Baxter State Park. The nominee would be appointed by the governor based on a joint recommendation by tribal governments of the Mi’kmaq Nation, the Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians, the Passamaquoddy Tribe at Motahkomikuk, the Passamaquoddy Tribe at Sipayik and the Penobscot Nation.
Read the complete bill text»
STATUS: Awaiting work session
The Committee on Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry held a public hearing on Feb. 13. (Read the public testimony.) A work session has not yet been scheduled.
» Email your legislators. If your legislators sit on this committee, email them and ask them to vote Ought to Pass on LD 294. Find your legislator here»
LD 229: An Act to Compensate Tribal Governments for Basic Training for a Law Enforcement Officer Hired by Another Government Agency
Sponsor: Rep. James F. Dill, D-Old Town
The Wabanaki Alliance supports this bill.
This bill adds tribal governments to an existing state law regarding reimbursement for law enforcement training. That statute stipulates that a government must reimburse training costs whenever it hires a full-time law enforcement officer whose training was paid by another government entity. This requirement only applies within five years of the hired officer’s graduation from a police academy. LD 229 would add tribal governments and full-time law enforcement officers trained at the Indian police academy at the federal law enforcement training center to the list of governments eligible for reimbursement.
Read the complete bill text»
STATUS: Awaiting public hearing
The bill was referred to the Committee on Criminal Justice and Public Safety. A public hearing has not yet been scheduled.
Watch for updates to the bill status and for actions you can take!
Find your legislators
Not sure who your legislators are? Find a list of all your state and federal elected officials HERE. Or visit the Legislature website to find a full list of all Maine Senators and Maine Representatives.
Contact your legislators
Emails and phone calls from constituents are particularly persuasive. Use the link above to find your legislators and their contact info. Call or email them and let them know why you support or oppose a specific piece of legislation. Once you’ve submitted your testimony for a bill (see below), send your legislators a copy!
On the day of a bill vote, call the 1-800 numbers listed below and leave messages with your name and town, your legislators’ names, the bill number you’re calling about, and how you’d like them to vote. Messages are transcribed and delivered to legislators’ desks throughout the day.
TTY: Use Maine Relay 711
Submit public testimony
All bills and state agency commissioner nominees are assigned to one of 19 standing joint committees and receive a public hearing. Members of the public can offer testimony in support or opposition to a bill in person or via Zoom during the public hearing or in writing. If you want to testify during the hearing via Zoom, you must register at least 30 minutes before the hearing begins. You do not need to register to testify in person.
To register for Zoom or to submit your testimony in writing, follow these steps:
- Visit the legislative testimony page HERE.
- Select Public hearing
- Select the committee that is hearing the bill
- Select the date and time of the hearing
- Select the appropriate bill number
- To register for Zoom, select “I would like to testify electronically over Zoom.”
- To submit written testimony, upload your file or enter the testimony in the field.
- If you plan to testify in person, you are asked to bring 20 copies of your testimony to distribute to committee members.
You can find committee assignments and public hearing dates and times on the bill’s website. While you can submit testimony at any time and it will be shared with committee members and become part of the public record, only testimony submitted online by midnight on the day of the bill’s public hearing will be included on the bill’s web page.
People with special needs who require accommodations to participate in a hearing should contact the Legislative Information Office as soon as possible by phone (207) 287-1692 or email email@example.com.
Read our legislative testimony
The Wabanaki Alliance often submits legislative testimony in support of or opposition to bills before the Maine Legislature and the U.S. Congress. Read our testimony on our Legislative Testimony page.
Write a letter to the editor
Once you’ve written your testimony, turn it into a letter to the editor! Find tips on writing letters and a list of newspaper contact info in our LTE Guide.
See how your legislators ranked on Wabanaki Alliance priority issues during the most recent legislative session in the 130th Maine Legislature Legislative Scorecard.
Other calls to action
Find actions on Wabanaki Alliance priority federal and state legislation and other issues on our Take Action page.