As Senate Chair of Judiciary, I was deeply involved in many bills concerning “privacy” issues.
LD 345 - "An Act To Ensure the Confidentiality of Concealed Weapons Permit Holder Information". Final bill provided that a concealed handgun permit is confidential, except for the municipality of the permit holder, date the permit issued, and date permit expires. It only allows confidential information to be disclosed for criminal justice purposes or permitting purposes to law enforcement officers or issuing authorities. By working closely for weeks with all stakeholders, we were able to address concerns of citizen privacy. My floor speech in urging Senators to vote for this compromise version of the bill was reproduced in its entirety by the Sportsmen Alliance of Maine in their newsletter and can be read in full on my website.
LD 415 "An Act To Require a Warrant To Obtain the Location Information of a Cell Phone or Other Electronic Device" Required a government entity obtain a warrant for the location information of a cellular telephone user and notify the user that they had obtained this information. Bill was opposed by law enforcement. I opposed. Legislature passed. Governor vetoed. Veto overridden.
LD 1377 -"An Act To Protect Cellular Telephone Privacy" Unlike LD 415 which only dealt with “location” data, this bill dealt with cell phone “content” data. Warrants and notification are required for content data. A compromise was worked out with stakeholders at the committee level. I supported. Legislature passed. Became law without Governor’s signature.
LD 236 – “An Act To Protect the Privacy of Citizens from Domestic Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Use” Very controversial bill. I supported the committee majority to have a one year moratorium on drones by law enforcement, allow for Maine businesses to continue to manufacture them, and have Criminal Justice Academy write proposed rules to come back to Judiciary next session. This version was supported by law enforcement. Instead, the minority report was passed by Legislature. Governor vetoed. Veto sustained.LD 851 – “An Act To Require the Return of Excess Funds by a Municipality That Forecloses on Real Estate" This was one of several foreclosure bills that brought many local bankers and attorneys to Augusta to testify. It would have allowed municipalities to return proceeds from the sale of tax-acquired property to the former owner after first paying all back taxes, interest, costs and other unpaid municipal expense. Procedures were written to ensure that the interests of the taxpayers of the municipality are protected. I supported. Legislature passed. Governor vetoed.
LD 872 - "An Act to Improve the Quality of Guardian ad Litem Services for the Children and Families of Maine" This bill was sponsored by Sen. Dutremble and worked on for months by the committee. The new law will address complaints, rostering, caseloads, criminal background checks, appointment process, code of conduct, and billing. I supported. Legislature passed. Governor signed.
On July 24, 2013, I was appointed as chair of the state’s Right to Know Advisory Committee.
Government transparency is critical to ensuring accountability and responsibility, and this committee is dedicated to maintaining that transparency. We need to be vigilant about public access to the workings of government while still safe-guarding the public’s personal privacy.
The committee is made up of one Senator, one representative, and 14 appointed members of the public. Created by the Legislature in 2006, it is tasked with providing recommendations to the three branches of state government and local governments. Advice is given on how to best ensure public access to records, proceedings, and other documents.
The Right to Know Advisory Committee is scheduled to meet four times this Fall.