The 131st Legislature has adjourned

 Rep. Caleb Ness (R-Fryeburg)

The 131st Legislature adjourned April 18, 2024 after meeting for 24 hours straight to conclude its business. There will be one more day scheduled to address any vetoes by Governor Mills.

I have to say that I am disappointed that little if anything was done to address the everyday concerns of most Mainers. Despite record tax receipts, Democrats refused proposals to let people keep more of their hard-earned money by lowering taxes. They also refused Republican proposals to lower energy costs, even when we were able to get support from some elected Democrats.

Most troubling was Democrat attempts to raise taxes on retirees by rolling back planned reductions proposed by Republicans and supported by Democrats last year. This was done at 3 AM on a Saturday after the press and public had left the State House. Thankfully, public pressure caused them to reverse the cuts in their final budget.

A proposed elimination of a bipartisan highway funding provision passed last year was also turned back. Had Democrats been successful, $60 million would have been taken from roads and bridges to fund other Democrat priorities. While I am glad this did not happen, $11 million was still taken from needed transportation projects.

Details on the Supplemental Budget that Democrats passed without input from Republicans are still being revealed. I will have more on that in future columns.

While I did not sponsor any headline bills in this Legislature, I was able to make a difference for our first responders. Before I took office, volunteer firefighters could not have a light bar on top of their vehicle that was bigger than 8 inches. I put in a bill to change that. Due to my efforts and the efforts of others, LD 1296 was heard in the Transportation Committee, received a unanimous report, and breezed through the House and Senate! Governor Mills signed it into law on June 5, 2023!

Please do not hesitate to contact me if I can be of assistance with state matters. I can be reached at Caleb.Ness@legislature.maine.gov or call 207 287-1440. Thank you for your interest reading this, your input and support.

Sincerely, Rep. Caleb Ness (R-Fryeburg)

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