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Potholes & Politics: Local Maine Issues from A to Z

News & Politics Podcasts

Potholes & Politics: Local Maine Issues from A to Z is a podcast about municipalities in Maine and the people and policies that bring local government to your doorstep. Through stories, experiences, current events, and interviews with municipal officials this podcast will spotlight the everyday challenges and successes of local governments in our home state. Potholes & Politics is brought to you by Maine Municipal Association. Comments and suggested topics can be sent to mmapodcast@memun.org

Location:

United States

Description:

Potholes & Politics: Local Maine Issues from A to Z is a podcast about municipalities in Maine and the people and policies that bring local government to your doorstep. Through stories, experiences, current events, and interviews with municipal officials this podcast will spotlight the everyday challenges and successes of local governments in our home state. Potholes & Politics is brought to you by Maine Municipal Association. Comments and suggested topics can be sent to mmapodcast@memun.org

Language:

English

Contact:

2076238428


Episodes
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Inside the Eleventh-Hour Legislative Scramble: Budget Battles, Housing Solutions, and the Quest for Transparent Governance

5/1/2024
Send us a Text Message. The statutory adjournment day of the 131st was April 18th, but the Legislature only recessed carrying many pieces of legislature over that was indefinitely postposed in a chaotic and partisan late night. As the Legislature did not adjourn "Sine Die" the start of the enactment clock on all but emergency legislation has not yet begn, including the much discussed Supplemental Budget. Nothing is real, and campaigning for the next session should not be starting until they return to finish the work and adjourn Sine Die (aka no intention of returning) In this episode Rebecca Squared are joined by Kate Dufour, Laura Ellis and Amanda Campbell breaking down the ins and outs of this chaotic and partisan session. What happened...what ain't happening...and where are there glimmers of hope to emerge from this norm breaking session. More importantly, stick around and learn how you can join the the next MMA Legislative Policy Committee and play a role in educating the next Legislature of the level of government they took for granted this session.

Duration:00:45:16

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Easter Monday Emergency Episode

4/1/2024
Send us a Text Message. In a surprise move, the legislature came into session today and upended the Governor’s supplemental budget request. After spending the weekend consulting with municipal officials in their home communities, the tone changed drastically. Rebecca Squared (Lambo & Grahambo) breakdown what is municipally relevant in Augusta as the Legislature returns and is full of Easter Chocolate chipping away at the Governor's Supplemental budget request in meaningful ways.

Duration:00:09:56

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First Legislative Update of 2024 - 2nd Session, February 1

2/5/2024
Send us a Text Message. Much delayed first legislative breakdown of the second session has dropped. This week we only go over what has happened for the First week of February though staff has been underwater with carryover initiatives during the entire month of January. We very much hope the Legislature will adjourn mid-April as planned but until then, the proposed legislation is painful thus far. To that end we encourage you to subscribe to the Legislative Bulletin and pay attention to calls for action. The initiatives discussed this week are: General Assistance bills LD 1664 (not the amended fiscal note) & LD 1732 (also not the amended version) both sponsored by Rep. Michele Meyer of Eliot. Under Taxation: Rep. Tiffany Stout of Harrington's bill to create a local option fee LD 1893. Under Criminal Justice and Public Safety, LD 2094, sponsored by Pres. Troy Jackson of Aroostook, LD 2109, sponsored by Rep. Jeffrey Timberlake of Androscoggin Under Housing, LD 337, sponsored by Rep. Cheryl Golek of Harpswell, LD 2138 sponsored by Rep. Colleen Madigan of Waterville, LD 2136, sponsored by Rep. Anne-Marie Mastraccio of Sanford. Franchise Agreements and Cable Utility Legislation LD 1967, sponsored by Rep. Melanie Sachs of Freeport. And last but not chronically least...Cannabis Legislation LD 1952 sponsored by Rep. David Boyer of Poland, LD 1914 sponsored by Sen. Donna Bailey of York

Duration:00:47:50

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Stormwater 101 with Maine Stormwater Rangers

12/13/2023
Send us a Text Message. Why should you care about stormwater? What is a MS4 regulated community? Why do people pick up their dog poo and put it in a bag only to dump it on the trail or in the storm drain? What is a harbor trout? In this episode, Rebecca Squared & Amanda the new kid talk with Stormwater Super Heros - Giants of municipal water protection activities; South Portland's Stormwater Coordinator Fred Dillon and Portland's Stormwater Coordinator Doug Roncarati and their state level partner Maine Department of Environmental Protection Stormwater Engineer Cody Obropta to tackle these questions and a whole lot more! This episode is part 1 of a two part series. Fred, Doug and Cody share how they became stormwater rangers, what it's important and a small bit of the challenges communities in Maine face with old infrastructure and dense development. "Urbanized and developed municipalities and other large public entities require Clean Water Act permits to send stormwater to nearby water bodies due to an increased likelihood of stormwater pollutants." "Stormwater is precipitation that does not soak into the ground. Runoff accumulates in large quantities as it flows off of rooftops, driveways, roads and other impervious surfaces, picking up soil and polluting chemicals in its wake. It then flows into a storm drain, through an underground network of pipes, where it discharges into local rivers and streams, untreated." Think Blue Maine https://thinkbluemaine.org/ Map of urban impaired streams: https://maine.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=7f8f40a744ad49f3a6cccc7f1330872a Non-Point Source Training Center - https://www.maine.gov/dep/training/npstrc-schedule.html Rutgers Green Infrastructure Champions Program - https://rutgers.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_nuaE-xe4T8e080uhQ-l6vg

Duration:00:43:38

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Measuring Municipal Mill Rates 101 - Shining the Light on Maine's Tax Assessors

10/25/2023
Send us a Text Message. The sensationalized headlines around heated municipal meetings targeting municipal tax assessment changes, and property reevaluation haven't offered much in the way of educating the public around the root causes of Mill Rate and property tax bill increases. So Potholes & Politics is taking a deeper dive. Trust us...this is 58 minutes you won't want to miss. (Hint: It ain't because of those "greedy" volunteer municipal select boards and councils.) This episode is the first installment of many that could be renamed a new series called: "Why did my property taxes go up?" with Kerry Leichtman, Camden and Rockport's Tax Assessor. "Mill" is derived from the Latin word "millesimum", meaning thousandth. As used in property tax, 1 mill is equal to $1 in property tax levied per $1,000 of a property's assessed value. Kerry explains what is happening with municipal tax assessment, why reevaluations are necessary, and how your tax bill is tied to the massive influx of property hungry and cash flush buyers. Bonus: There is at least one really bad "Dad Joke" in this episode!

Duration:00:55:22

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Secretary of State, Shenna Bellows at MMA's 87th Annual Convention

10/13/2023
Send us a Text Message. This week we are highlighting one of the conversations from MMA's 87th Annual Convention held at the Augusta Civic Center, October 4 & 5, 2023. This year's convention theme was "Lead, Motivate, Communicate" and featured dynamic speakers like Leila Brammer, Director of Outreach and Instructional Development of the Parrhesia Program for Public Discourse, University of Chicago on "Civic Leadership and the Imperative of Effective Communication" and Yellow Light Breen, President & CEO, Maine Development Foundation on "Leading for Economic Innovation and Prosperity", and an uplifting reminder of why we serve local government and how to not despair in these unprecedented times with a presentation from Ron Holifield, Chief Executive Officer, Strategic Government Resources and former City Manager, "It’s Not About Me, It’s Not About Now". An elections update session was one of many offered and provided by Julie Flynn, Deputy Secretary of State, Maine Secretary of State. In this episode we chat with Secretary of State, Shenna Bellows about security issues facing Maine's town and city clerks this election season on the convention floor. The audio quality is not the best, and for this we apologize but the message is still important and one we think is worth a listen.

Duration:00:14:50

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Pumpkinfest Latte's and Maine Law Enforcement Accreditation (MLEAP) Programs

9/15/2023
Send us a Text Message. While it seems like we may have been on vacation, the intersession work has been in full swing and Legislative Committees including Judiciary and Housing are back at it next week! This episode we dive into the Maine Law Enforcement Accreditation Program managed by Dirigo Safety and speak with one chief in the tail end of the accreditation process; Jason Warlick of Damariscotta Police Department on the benefits of being a certified MLEAP agency. After talking about the process, we touch on what it is like to be Chief in a tiny (population wise) town in Maine with major big city issues, and one of the largest most popular community festivals in the nation: Damariscotta Pumpkinfest & Regatta. For more information about the MLEAP program, reach out to Shawn O'Leary at shawn.oleary@dirigosafety.org and to apply for the Law Enforcement Grant program through MMA email safetygrants@memun.org. As always you can email the show at mmapodcast@memun.org. Don't forget to rate us and subscribe and follow us on X (formerly Twitter) @memun_advocacy.

Duration:00:49:13

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Senior Property Tax Stabilization, What Happened? What is Next?

8/11/2023
Send us a Text Message. Last year, LD 290, An Act To Stabilize Property Taxes for Individuals 65 Years of Age or Older Who Own a Homestead for at Least 10 Years, was enacted with little discussion and a host of very expensive unintended consequences. This year, the law was amended to address those consequences and bring property tax relief where it was most needed. However, it will now be up to municipal officials to address the fall out of public misunderstandings as one law sunsets and two more programs expand. In this episode, we talk with leading municipal policy architect and boss extraordinaire, Kate Dufour, Director of Advocacy and Communications at MMA who explains: "How we got here, from there" on property tax relief programs. The Advocacy team briefly chats about the woes of this past session and hope for the future and Lambo talks about where in Maine she is off to next.

Duration:00:45:38

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On The Road: Aroostook County

7/28/2023
Send us a Text Message. Rebecca Squared took a break from Augusta last week and spent some time talking with local government leaders in Aroostook County. The week before they hit the National League of Cities Staff Convention in Boston. What are the unique challenges of the northern communities, what makes them special, and what do Augusta policy makers need to understand about the 5 hours of Maine north of the Augusta Bubble? In this episode we introduce you to our newest colleague, and former Georgetown Town Administrator, Amanda Campbell. We also chat with St. Agatha Town Manager Michelle Bernier, Frenchville Town Manager, David Cyr and Aroostook County Administrator, Ryan Pelletier. Note: As a special treat, we drop in a very local tidbit for loyal listeners. See if you can find it! The episode picture will make sense when you do!

Duration:00:57:04

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Episode 16- The End is Not Here....YET!

6/26/2023
Send us a Text Message. Well, the 1st Session was meant to end June 15, but we are in the 1st Special Session that won't end....at least amicably so it seems. Here is where we are this week...and soon we will be in your communities too! LD 1857- Resolve, to Establish a Public Safety Health and Wellness Grant Pilot Program, sponsored by Rep. Lynn Copeland of Saco. Reconsidered, House amendment “A” provided the Department of Public Safety with 10% of the $2 million grant for the administration of the program. The amendment was adopted and engrossed by both House and Senate. This bill was advanced on behalf of MMA’s Legislative Policy Committee (LPC). (See “Silver Linings” in Legislative Bulletin 05-26-2023) LD 1664 -An Act to Increase Reimbursement Under the General Assistance Program, Sen. Marianne Moore of Washington Co. The House amendment “A” removed the emergency preamble and fixing the appropriation accordingly was adopted and engrossed by both House and Senate. This bill was advanced on behalf of MMA’s LPC. (See “GA Funding & Study on The Horizon” in Legislative Bulletin 05-26-2023) LD 1493 – An Act to Increase Affordable Housing by Expanding Tax Increment Financing, sponsored by Rep. Raegan LaRochelle, of Augusta, will come from Taxation Committee with a divided report. The majority report is “Ought to Pass as Amended.” This bill was advanced on behalf of MMA’s LPC. (See “Pine Trees, Chickadees, Workforce Affordable Housing” in Legislative Bulletin June 2, 2023) LD 101 - An Act to Return to the Former Owner Any Excess Funds Remaining After the Sale of Foreclosed Property, sponsored by Rep. Chad Perkins of Dover-Foxcroft, will come from Taxation Committee “Ought to Pass as Amended.” (See “Tax Acquired Property Update” in Legislative Bulletin 6-09-2023) LD 130 -An Act to Eliminate Senior Citizen Property Tax Stabilization and Expand the Homestead Property Tax Exemption, sponsored by Sen. Rick Bennett of Oxford Co., will come from Taxation Committee with two “Ought to Pass as Amended” reports. MMA supports the majority report. (See Clarification-Property Tax Stabilization Act in this Legislative Bulletin 6-09-2023 or 06-02-2023) The Appropriations Committee will have made decisions on all funding issues including the supplemental/Part II budget (LD 258) and all items sitting on the “table” waiting for funding. Staff encourage you to engage with your legislators when opportunity allows and make pho

Duration:00:31:50

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Episode 15 - Special Session Winding Up - Updates & Action Calls

6/5/2023
Send us a Text Message. Our necessary hiatus from our weekly podcast has been afforded a brief reprieve. Advocacy staff have been drinking from a firehouse of legislation and hearings on platform bills that have been waiting since cloture for printing and assignment to committee hearings. For the first time, MMA has needed to hold a May LPC meeting as bills are still cranking out with significant municipal impact, assigned short turn around public hearing dates and even shorter work session dates. This is the time of year when good public policy dies because of lack of time to dig in and understand or worse....bad public policy not well thought through passes without review. In the coming weeks, we'll be calling on municipal officials to weigh in with their voices directly to members of the legislature to help inform them of impacts, request adequately funding measures, and make corrections. We really need you now! This week we break down what has happened on a couple of MMA's platform bills and how you can help their fate. This week we break down: LD 1857 - An Act to Create the Public Safety Health and Wellness Reimbursement Fund to Benefit Public Safety Workers and Volunteers, sponsored by Rep. Lynn Copeland of Saco, was unanimously supported out of committee but in a form that requires and appropriations battle instead of on going funding. LD 1493 - An Act to Increase Affordable Housing by Expanding Tax Increment Financing, sponsored by Rep. Raegan LaRochelle of Augusta, was amended to avoid a fiscal note, but still provides an incredibly powerful tool for communities to advance their housing goals with local policy, but received a divided report out of Taxation. LD 130 - An Act to Eliminate Senior Citizen Property Tax Stabilization and Expand the Homestead Property Tax Exemption, Sen. Richard Bennett of Oxford County, also received a divided report in Taxation. While both versions advance sensible policy changes to the hastily enacted senior property tax freeze legislation LD 280 passed last year, the majority report removes the significant hardship placed on municipal tax collectors, assessors and communities. LD 1223 - An Act to Clarify Cost Allocations and Insurance in the Joint Use of Public Utility Equipment, sponsored by Sen. Nicole Grohoski from Hancock County, attempted to address a corporate imbalance for municipal pole attachment projects, to advance broadband connections via use of utility poles that exist in publicly owned way "rent" free. The final version was amended with agreement from the major players and afforded a sunset date setting the stage for a future legislative battle. Finally, in the good news category, we announce the winners of the first annual Douglas M. Eugley Memorial Scholarship for Public Service! Congratulation to Zachary White, of Skowhegan, Carolyne Sauda, of Bangor. Mary-Hollie Whitmore, of Milford, who we wish well in their college endeavors and hope to see in a future LPC Committee!

Duration:00:35:17

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Episode 14 - Planning for ADU's, School Board Election Timing, Funding Jail Health Care

4/18/2023
Send us a Text Message. Episode 14 - Planning for ADU's, School Board Election Timing, Funding Jail Health Care Much delayed episode in a midst of a crazy session! This week we break down the public hearings on MMA Platform bills on: LD 665 - An Act to Extend the Date by Which Compliance is Required for Affordable Housing Development, Increased Numbers of Dwelling Units and Accessory Dwelling Units, Sponsored by Rep. Allison Hepler of Woolwich; LD 1022 - An Act to Allow School Budget Referenda on the Same Day as Primary Elections, Sponsored by Rep. Amy Arata of New Gloucester and a much needed edit on MMA's platform bill from the 129th Legislature; LD 1204 -An Act to Improve the Health of Maine Residents by Closing Coverage Gaps in the MaineCare Program for Incarcerated Persons, sponsored by Speaker, Rachel Talbot Ross of Portland. As we welcome spring weather and ache to spend less time outside the dome, we are digging in to the mountain of bills flowing through committees and hope you will stay tuned as things are getting heated in Augusta!

Duration:00:36:33

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Episode 13 - Public Safety Cardiac Health, Chicken Fingers & Weed

3/27/2023
Send us a Text Message. Episode 13 - Public Safety Cardiac Health, Chicken Fingers & Weed This week, Lambo & Grahambo breakdown legislation from March 23rd Legislative Bulletin; Rebecca Graham has a sit down with Dr. Benjamin Stone of Sigma Tactical Wellness at the MFCA Professional Development Conference last week who discusses how to identify the real risks to public safety employees at greater risk to cardiac event and one way to address it by looking for the right red flags in health screenings. (This section has poorer audio we apologize in advance) We have a surprise interruption from MMA's IT Demon Brian McDonald and we break down significant movies, chicken finger recipes, and future possible topics around cyber security if we can find enough beer and honey mustard sauce for a longer episode. (We hope that he can put down the chicken fingers long enough to address the audio issues that caused some of the dodgy audio for the Dr. Stone interview.)

Duration:00:55:28

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Bonus Episode - Policing Ethics Lessons from the Holocaust

3/27/2023
Send us a Text Message. As we prepare for Holocaust Remembrance Day, Maine Municipal Association, Maine Chiefs of Police Association, and several other stakeholders had the opportunity to receive an important history lesson in context from the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington D.C.. In this episode, Rebecca Graham sits down with Noel March who facilitated bringing a special law enforcement program out of D.C. to Maine through the Maine Community Policing Institute and the Maine Holocaust and Human Rights Center of Maine. The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum was able to take part of The Museum's Law, Justice, and the Holocaust Program on the road to Maine, one of only two places outside Washington D.C. who have benefitted from the learning opportunity. The signature program, Law Enforcement and Society: Lessons of the Holocaust (LEAS), is presented in partnership with the Anti-Defamation League. Established in 1999 at the request of DC Metropolitan Police Department, the program is suitable for recruit, in-service, and command professionals in law enforcement at the federal, state, and local levels. To date, this innovative program has reached more than 150,000 officers from the US and 80 countries worldwide. The internationally recognized date for Holocaust Remembrance Day corresponds to the 27th day of Nisan on the Hebrew calendar. It marks the anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. In 2023, that day is Tuesday, April 18.

Duration:00:32:39

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Episode 12 - The Greed & Weed Episode

3/13/2023
Send us a Text Message. Episode 12 - The Greed & Weed Episode With surprise guest star, Dexter Kimball future MMA podcast host. This week our Legislative Bulletin we cover MMA's platform bill for Cannabis Revenue Sharing LD 88 -An Act to Provide Qualifying Municipalities a Percentage of Adult Use Cannabis Sales and Excise Tax Revenues, sponsored by Rep. Sean Paulhus of Bath; Provide and update on LD 422 - An Act to Eliminate the Requirement That Municipalities Provide Public Notice in Newspapers, sponsored by Rep. Daniel Newman of Belgrade; Break down a bill to limit candidate speech on election day, LD 750 - An Act to Eliminate the Limits on Candidates' Speech at the Polls, Sponsored by Sen. Jim Libby of Cumberland County; And preview MMA's platform bill LD 673 - An Act to Direct the Maine Criminal Justice Academy to Develop a Nonresidential Law Enforcement Training Academy, sponsored by Rep. Michel Lajoie of Lewiston. Plus we have a sweet interruption by young Dexter Kimball!

Duration:00:27:27

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Episode 11- The Newspaper Empire Strikes Back

3/7/2023
Send us a Text Message. Episode 11- The Newspaper Empire Strikes Back! This week we break down hearings on: LD 422- An Act to Eliminate the Requirement That Municipalities Provide Public Notice in Newspapers, sponsored by Rep. Daniel Newman of Belgrade and preview: LD 405 - An Act to Prevent False Reporting Leading to Evacuation , Shutdown or Lockdown sponsored by Sen. Ann Carney of Cumberland County and MMA platform bill with an upcoming public hearing, LD 88- An Act to Provide Qualifying Municipalities a Percentage of Adult Use Cannabis Sales and Excise Tax Revenues sponsored by Rep. Sean Paulhus of Bath and possible fixes for the gigantic loopholes passed last year in LD 290 -An Act To Stabilize Property Taxes for Individuals 65 Years of Age or Older Who Own a Homestead for at Least 10 Years originally sponsored by Sen. Trey Stewart of Aroostook

Duration:00:25:05

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Episode 10 - ELDT, What to do with Dead Bodies & Engineering Projects Over 100K

2/20/2023
Send us a Text Message. Episode 10 - ELDT, What to do with Dead Bodies & Engineering Projects Over 100K A Qui*t (We don't say that word out loud, just like actors refer to the "Scottish Play") week in Augusta on the municipal front except for our monthly LPC meeting, trainings targeting municipal public works and CDL training, and bills of interest. This week we break down Entry Level Driver Training work arounds, review some interesting legislative proposals for composting loved ones and tackling inflation on statutory project levels requiring engineering review. If you're squeamish about human remains....you might want to give this one a miss.

Duration:00:29:47

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Episode 9 - Tax Acquired Property, Elections & Cops Oh My!

2/15/2023
Send us a Text Message. Episode 9 - Tax Acquired Property, Elections & Cops Oh My! This week, an exhausted Potholes Crew, Rebecca Squared, break down legislative proposals around: LD 101 - An Act to Return to the Former Owner Any Excess Funds Remaining After the Sale of Foreclosed Property LD 34 - An Act to Require a Person to Show Photographic Identification for the Purpose of Voting LD 237- An Act to Require a Registered Voter to Update the Registration LD 26- An Act to Provide Postage Prepaid Return Envelopes to Voters Who Send Absentee Ballots by Mail LD 237 - An Act to Require a Registered Voter to Update the Registration And updates on: LD 142- An Act to Fund Climate-related Service Work LD 143 - An Act to Support Rural Service Programming and Promote Volunteerism LD 127 - An Act to Eliminate Television Recycling Fees for Charitable Entities LD 96 - An Act to Ensure Release of Relevant Background Investigation Material to Current Employers of Law Enforcement and Corrections Officers

Duration:00:26:46

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Episode 8 - Legislative Bulletin Breakdown

2/6/2023
Send us a Text Message. The Legislature is back in session and back in person! What has changed since Covid? What has remained? How does it effect the public policy debate? These will be the continued questions we explore. This week our podcast and Legislative Bulletin covered bills effecting municipal operations and the public hearings that happened. 5:00 - LD 202 - Clarifies the rules on sales of cannabis products at outdoor events. 8:00 - LD 96 - Disclosing background checks back to a current employer for police officers applying to another agency. 12:30 - LD 23 - Making all personally identifying information held in the e-citation system confidential. 16:00 - LD 142 & 143 - Maine Service Fellows and Climate Corps for rural Maine. 19:30 - LD 127 - Keeping municipalities from charging waste handling fees for TV sets disposed of by charitable organizations. Don't forget to like us, subscribe and share this podcast with all your friends. You know you want to..... mmapodcast@memun.org

Duration:00:29:45

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Episode 7- New Year, New Legislature, New Co-Host

1/18/2023
Send us a Text Message. Episode 7 - New Year, New Legislature, New Co-Host How does the Advocacy Team determine what bills to place before the Legislative Policy Committee to determine the municipal position on any Legislative proposal? What is more important than a title of a bill? What is in store for our newest Co-Host and part-time advocate full time Municipal Issues Specialist, Rebecca Lambert? Will Potholes & Politics stop when everyone is too busy at the State House? Or will the episodes become shorter and punchier? How will we stay sane while championing our beloved municipal heroes? Find the answer to all of these questions and what horrible things we watch in our "spare time", in this week's episode and get ready for the Legislative Bulletin shift to our podcast. Don't worry, we will be taking deeper dives into municipal stories with our colleagues again after Augusta adjourns. This episode features Host Rebecca Graham, Co-Host Rebecca Lambert (Rebecca Squared), Advocacy Air Traffic Controller extraordinaire, Laura Ellis, and Director of Advocacy and Communications, Kate Dufour. Don't forget to like us and subscribe to stay up to date on the latest municipally relevant legislation being proposed in Augusta! Email us at mmapodcast@memun.org.

Duration:00:19:05