Session Highlights

By State Senator Bill Diamond

Well, the First Session of the 125th Maine Legislature is finally over. While there were some glitches and some heated moments, I would say that overall things worked fairly well.

There were even some major successes, including a budget that went on to be overwhelmingly approved by the entire legislature that moderated the cuts initially proposed by the governor.

Over the next few weeks, I’ll tell you about some of the highlights of the session in different areas, but this week I’d like to talk about some of the bills this session that meant a lot to me personally.

Driving on the River Road in Windham is unpleasant at best, and it is in need of a major upgrade. The local legislative delegation (Representatives Mark Bryant and Gary Plummer and myself) have long been dedicated to getting Maine Department of Transportation (DOT) to make this project a priority, and we were finally able to do that this year. I am pleased to say that a temporary repair is underway right now, and major reconstruction of this important road will begin next year.

Public safety has always been a major concern to me, and seeing all the lives lost and damaged through something like texting while driving really bothered me. Of all the bills that I sponsored, “An Act to Prohibit Texting While Driving” was probably the most important. Our existing laws weren’t targeted specifically enough on this growing problem, and I have great confidence that this new law will prevent accidents and save lives.

We owe a great debt to our veterans, and we need to do all that we can to help them. Homelessness is a major problem for veterans, with between 300 and 500 homeless veterans at any given time in Maine.  Often this is a result of the veteran not knowing what is available for assistance, and other times it is just a matter of coordinating the right resources for each individual. “An Act To End Homelessness for Veterans in Maine” sets up a partnership between the Bureau of Maine Veterans’ Services and a national, human services-based volunteer organization, such as the Volunteers of America, to provide that education and coordination, and prevent the problem of homelessness among veterans. It is our goal to end homelessness for veterans within 10 years.

Then, there was teacher that I heard about who admitted that he visited literally hundreds of websites containing child pornography, and yet could not be convicted of any crime because Maine law only covered possession. To correct this and allow Maine law to deal with current technology, I put forth a bill, “An Act To Protect Children from Sexual Predators.” This new law was carefully crafted to deal with people who intentionally view children in sexual situations, while protecting people may accidentally come across such material on the Internet.

Even though the session is over, remember that I am still representing you in Augusta, and if you have any problems with the state or any ideas for making it run better, please call my office at the State House at 287-1515 or visit my website at www.mainesenate.org/diamond to send me an e-mail.

Senator Bill Diamond is a resident of Windham, and serves the District 12 communities of Casco, Frye Island, Raymond, Standish, Windham and Hollis.

Please follow and like us: