SENATOR VALENTINO APPLAUDS CHIEF JUSTICE’S COMMITMENT TO MODERNIZING MAINE COURTS, ADDRESSING DRUG ABUSE
AUGUSTA—Earlier this morning, Chief Justice Leigh Saufley delivered the annual State of the Judiciary to a Joint Session of the Maine Legislature. The Chief Justice called on the Legislature to continue supporting efforts to bring Maine’s courts into the digital age, and address the growing problem of illegal drug abuse in Maine by coupling intervention with prevention.
So-called “religious freedom” measure denies Human Rights Act
AUGUSTA – This morning, in a 19-16 vote, the Senate voted against a controversial bill that would allow people to use their religious beliefs as a reason for breaking laws including non-discrimination laws such as the Maine Human Rights Act.
Measure provides consumer-friendly higher ed data on graduates' average earnings, employment rate and more
AUGUSTA – A measure to provide students and their families with information that will help them make higher education decisions won broad support from education and business leaders during a public hearing Monday.
Senator Valentino sponsors bill to protect sand beaches
AUGUSTA –Democratic Senator Linda Valentino of Saco introduced a measure yesterday to streamline the permitting process to protect Saco Bay from erosion caused by the Camp Ellis jetty, an installation owned by the federal government.
Jackson Lab and University of New England urge business bond
AUGUSTA—Experts from Jackson Laboratories, the University of New England, and other Maine businesses urged the Legislature’s special workforce committee today to support an investment bond aimed at helping businesses grow and create jobs and bolster Maine’s economic recovery.
“We heard from these organizations about the unique opportunity to move Maine to the forefront of development and innovation,” said Senator Linda Valentino of Saco, who serves as the Senate Chair of the Joint Select Committee on Maine’s Workforce and Economic Future. “Investment in our innovators will lead directly to commercialization, job creation, and will help bolster Maine’s economic recovery.”
The University of New England testified about the need for investment in a marine research vessel noting the ability to “transform Maine’s marine economy” with this bond, including employing more than 31,000 people in the region.
Jackson Laboratories testified on the potential of a new biometric facility to advance its research on treating cancer, making it the largest center in the United States. They noted that the return on state investment is about 12:1.
“Now is the time for Maine to make an investment in our businesses and create jobs,” said House Majority Leader Seth Berry of Bowdoinham, the House Chair of the Joint Select Committee on Maine’s Workforce and Economic Future. “The testimony we heard today reinforced that every dollar we invest in these industries will have a multiplier effect and ripple throughout our economy.”
Maine has recovered merely one-third of jobs lost from recession; ranking third from the bottom among worst per state job growth.
The Workforce Committee will continue meeting in the next few weeks to formulate a bond proposal which will go to the Committee on Appropriations and Financial Affairs for review.
Senator Valentino’s bill approved by Insurance and Financial Services Committee
AUGUSTA – Last week, the Insurance and Financial Services Committee voted 11-1 to support Democratic Senator Linda Valentino’s bill to require insurance companies to cover hearing aids for young adults.
AUGUSTA—The Legislature’s special workforce committee heard yesterday from twelve business and financial leaders about the importance of a small business bond to grow Maine’s small and mid-size businesses.
The state pays its judges second lowest salaries among the 50 states, according to a 2013 report compiled by the National Center for State Courts.
By Scott Dolan firstname.lastname@example.org
Caitlyn Comeau, a junior at Thornton Academy in Saco and enrolled in the school’s Jobs for Maine’s Graduates program, recently had the opportunity to job shadow state Sen. Linda Valentino, D-Saco.
Comeau started her day by meeting the senator in the committee room for Maine’s Workforce and Economic Future, which Valentino co-chairs. The committee was formed to help close the state’s skills gap by cultivating a better-prepared workforce. Comeau looked on as Valentino presided over a Workforce Committee public hearing.
Valentino said she loved the idea of being shadowed by a high school student.
“That’s the whole basis of the Workforce Committee to make sure we start working with students while they’re still in school. Young people need to start exploring career options long before they’re handed a diploma,” she said.
Valentino believes Jobs for Maine’s Graduates can play an important role in promoting those opportunities. She and the other members of the Workforce Committee have asked the program to help public schools across the state develop career preparation opportunities for students, such as job shadows, internships and business tours.
“It was a great experience,” Comeau said. “The senator and I talked about her career in local and state government, and the fields that I’m interested in. She went to school at Thornton Academy, too, so we found some things we have in common. It was just one day, but I learned a lot – about the senator and what goes on at the State House.”
Jobs for Maine’s Graduates is a nonprofit working with students who face barriers to education. The program provides 5,000 students a year with the skills and experience they need to succeed in high school, post- secondary education and careers.
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