UPDATE 4/25: LD 1626 has passed the Legislature and has been assigned to the Special Appropriations table to await final action.
LD 1626 is a bill to restore tribal self-governance to the Wabanaki tribes in Maine. In March, a majority of the Judiciary Committee voted that LD 1626 “Ought to Pass,” with one committee member calling the legislation “the civil rights issue of our era in Maine.”
Based on consensus recommendations from a bipartisan task force convened by the Maine Legislature, the legislation addresses long-standing issues with a land claims act passed in 1980 that governs the relationship between the state and the Wabanaki.
The committee’s decision came after multiple work sessions on the bill and an 8-hour public hearing in February that included oral testimony from more than 100 people and written testimony from more than 1,600 Mainers, almost all in support. (Read the public testimony.) In March, nearly 100 people took part in the Wabanaki Alliance Lobby Day March 9 at the State House, talking with legislators and urging the bill’s passage. Find photos from the event on our Facebook page and watch a video from Sunlight Media Collective.
The legislation will go to the House first, and then to the Senate.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
- Ask your legislators to pass LD 1626. A vote on the bill could come at any time and your legislators need to hear from you! The best way to reach them this week is to call them. Find your legislators and their contact info in the Maine Voter Lookup. Enter your address and select the “Elected Officials” tab. After you’ve done that, leave messages for your legislators at the numbers below with your name, town, your legislators’ names, and that you want them to vote YES on LD 1626. The messages are transcribed throughout the day and left on legislators’ desks.
- Maine House: 1-800-423-2900
- Maine Senate: 1-800-423-6900
- Ask Gov. Janet Mills to sign the bill. If the bill passes the Legislature, it will go to Gov. Janet Mills for signature or veto. Write Gov. Mills and ask her to support this important legislation. Find her contact info here.
- Write an LTE. Letters to the editor are another effective way to let your legislators know that their constituents want them to vote in favor of LD 1626. Find talking points and background information in the links below and see our LTE Guide for tips and contact information for Maine newspapers.