Maine’s November 7th election will have 8 referendum questions. One through four are proposed citizen initiatives and five through eight are proposed amendments to Maine’s constitution.
Question 1: Citizen Initiative
An Act to Require Voter Approval of Certain Borrowing by Government-controlled Entities and Utilities and to Provide Voters More Information Regarding That Borrowing
Do you want to bar some quasi-governmental entities and all consumer-owned electric utilities from taking on more than $1 billion in debt unless they get statewide voter approval?
This initiated bill prohibits a quasi-independent state entity, reporting entity, municipal electric district, consumer-owned transmission and distribution utility, cooperative or rural electrification cooperative from borrowing money, incurring debt, whether general obligation debt or revenue obligation debt, or issuing bonds, notes or other evidences of indebtedness that would cause its total debt outstanding at any time to exceed $1,000,000,000 unless the action that would cause the total debt outstanding to exceed $1,000,000,000 is approved by the voters at a general election.
This initiated bill requires the Treasurer of State, with the assistance of the Secretary of State, to prepare a statement to accompany the question presented to the voters regarding the estimated costs of the increased debt and any other issues the Treasurer of State considers relevant. Exemptions are provided for debt issued by the Maine Public Employees Retirement System, the Finance Authority of Maine, the Maine Health and Higher Education Facilities Authority, the Department of Transportation, the Maine Turnpike Authority, municipalities and counties and the Maine Municipal Bond Bank and for certain education-related programs.
Question 2: Citizen Initiative
An Act to Prohibit Campaign Spending by Foreign Governments and Promote an Anti-corruption Amendment to the United States Constitution
Do you want to ban foreign governments and entities that they own, control, or influence from making campaign contributions or financing communications for or against candidates or ballot questions?
This initiated bill makes the following changes to the election laws.
1. It prohibits a foreign government-influenced entity from making, directly or indirectly, a contribution, expenditure, independent expenditure, electioneering communication or any other donation or disbursement of funds to influence the nomination or election of a candidate or the initiation or approval of a referendum. It prohibits a person from knowingly or recklessly providing substantial assistance, with o without compensation, in the making of an expenditure, independent expenditure, electioneering communication or disbursement in violation of this prohibition. It prohibits a person from knowingly soliciting, accepting or receiving a contribution or donation in violation of this prohibition and prohibits a person from knowingly or recklessly providing substantial assistance, with or without compensation, in the making, solicitation, acceptance or receipt of a contribution or donation in violation of this prohibition.
2. It prohibits a person from structuring or attempting to structure a solicitation, contribution, expenditure, independent expenditure, electioneering communication, donation, disbursement or other transaction to evade the prohibitions and requirements in the initiated bill.
3. It requires, whenever a foreign government-influenced entity disburses funds to finance a public communication to influence the public or government officials on issues of state or local policy or foreign relations, that the communication include a clear and conspicuous statement naming the foreign government-influenced entity as a sponsor of the communication.
4. It directs each television or radio broadcasting station, provider of cable or satellite television, print news outlet and Internet platform to establish due diligence policies to prevent the distribution of communications for which foreign government-influenced entities have made prohibited expenditures, independent expenditures, electioneering communications or disbursements and further directs an Internet platform to, upon discovery, immediately remove any such communications from its platform.
5. It provides that the Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices may assess a penalty of not more than $5,000 or double the amount of the contribution, expenditure, independent expenditure, electioneering communication, donation or disbursement involved in the violation, whichever is greater, for a violation of the initiated bill.
6. The initiated bill also calls on each member of Maine’s Congressional Delegation to actively support and promote an effective anti-corruption amendment to the United States Constitution to reaffirm the power of citizens through their government to regulate the raising and spending of money in elections.
7. For 7 consecutive years beginning July 31, 2023, the initiated bill requires the Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices to issue a report, following public comment, identifying anti-corruption amendment proposals introduced in Congress and the members of Maine’s Congressional Delegation sponsoring such proposals.
Question 3: Citizen Initiative
An Act to Create the Pine Tree Power Company, a Nonprofit, Customer-owned Utility
Do you want to create a new power company governed by an elected board to acquire and operate existing for-profit electricity transmission and distribution facilities in Maine?
This initiated bill creates the Pine Tree Power Company, a privately-operated, nonprofit, consumer-owned utility controlled by a board the majority of the members of which are elected. The company’s purposes are to provide for its customer-owners in this State reliable, affordable electric transmission and distribution services and to help the State meet its climate, energy and connectivity goals in the most rapid and affordable manner possible.
Question 4: Citizen Initiative
An Act Regarding Automotive Right to Repair
Do you want to require vehicle manufacturers to standardize on-board diagnostic systems and provide remote access to those systems and mechanical data to owners and independent repair facilities?
This initiated bill requires manufacturers of certain motor vehicles to standardize the vehicle on-board diagnostic systems and make those systems accessible to owners and independent repair facilities. It requires the Attorney General to designate an independent entity to administer the accessibility of vehicle on-board diagnostic systems by adopting standards and developing policies. The initiated bill requires the release of certain diagnostic repair tools, parts, software and components depending on model year of the motor vehicle. It also requires certain motor vehicles to be equipped with a standard access platform and provides exclusions for information otherwise required to be shared with owners or independent repair shops if that information is necessary for immobilizer systems or security-related modules. The initiated bill provides for enforcement by civil action of the provisions related to access and information sharing and provides the available damages. It also requires that the Attorney General establish a notice relating to motor vehicle telematics systems and requires dealers of certain motor vehicles to provide that notice to potential owners of motor vehicles, and it provides for an administrative consequence if a dealer does not comply.
Question 5: Constitutional Amendment
Proposing an Amendment to the Constitution of Maine Regarding the Timing of Judicial Review of the Determination of the Validity of Written Petitions
Do you favor amending the Constitution of Maine to change the time period for judicial review of the validity of written petitions from within 100 days from the date of filing to within 100 business days from the date of filing of a written petition in the office of the Secretary of State, with an exception for petitions filed within 30 calendar days before or after a general election?
Question 6: Constitutional Amendment
Proposing an Amendment to the Constitution of Maine to Require All Provisions in the Constitution to Be Included in the Official Printing
Do you favor amending the Constitution of Maine to require that all of the provisions of the Constitution be included in the official printed copies of the Constitution prepared by the Secretary of State?
Question 7: Constitutional Amendment
Proposing an Amendment to the Constitution of Maine to Align the Proceedings for Circulating Written Petitions for People’s Vetoes and Direct Initiatives with Federal Law
Do you favor amending the Constitution of Maine to remove a provision requiring a circulator of a citizen’s initiative or people’s veto petition to be a resident of Maine and a registered voter in Maine, requirements that have been ruled unconstitutional in federal court?
Question 8: Constitutional Amendment
Proposing an Amendment to the Constitution of Maine to Allow Persons Under Guardianship for Mental Illness to Be Electors
Do you favor amending the Constitution of Maine to remove a provision prohibiting a person under guardianship for reasons of mental illness from voting for Governor, Senators and Representatives, which the United States District Court for the District of Maine found violates the United States Constitution and federal law?