June 24, 2018
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SAM Legislative report: Upcoming elections

By David Trahan, Executive Director

We have received and rated legislative candidates seeking national and state office. Candidates filled out questionnaires on a wide range of topics important to our membership, including gun control, Roxanne Quimby’s proposal to create a national park, and funding for the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

In light of the answers we received, I am particularly concerned there will be a major push for new gun control laws because of the sad and tragic shooting in Colorado.

Many candidates are uninformed about of our existing gun regulations, particularly semi-automatic rifles. We have a lot of work to do educating the public and legislative candidates about the difference between automatic and semiautomatic firearms.

In the coming weeks, we will send out the results and endorsements in a special mailer and also post them on our website. SAM has a Political Action Committee fund for which we accept donations to be used for education and advocacy on legislative issues.

This fund has been dormant, but we have decided to reactivate it. We are soliciting donations to defend our traditions of hunting and gun ownership. To contribute, please, make out checks in any amount to SAM PAC and mail it to 205 Church Hill Rd., Suite 1, Augusta, ME 04330.

Land for Maine’s Future on the ballot in November

On Election Day, Maine voters will consider a $5 million bond that would provide funds to the Land for Maine’s Future Board to make strategic investments in conserving Maine’s working forests, farms, waterfronts, and deer habitat. I urge you to vote in favor of this bond, Question 3, on your ballot.

The Land for Maine’s Future program is one of the state’s most popular programs. Voters overwhelmingly passed bonds in 1987, 1999, 2005, 2007, and 2010 by two-to-one margins. For more than two decades, LMF has enhanced the state’s long-term economic health by conserving key assets like working farms, working forests, waterfronts for commercial fishing opportunities, and key tourism and recreation sites all across Maine.

Since its inception some 25 years ago, nearly 200 projects have been completed statewide, ensuring that more than 500,000 acres of land remains open to the public for hunting, fishing, hiking, and other outdoor recreation activities.

The bond before voters in November addresses one of Maine’s most pressing conservation issue: the state’s struggling deer herd. The white-tailed deer has been an important driver of Maine’s rural economy for more than a century. Generations of Maine hunters and wildlife watchers, as well as thousands of nonresidents, have depended on Maine’s deer populations for outdoor-based recreation.

Today, there are fewer hunters, far fewer deer to enjoy, and the northern half of Maine is struggling economically. If passed, this bond will — for the first time ever — make strategic investments in conserving habitat for deer to help restore healthy deer numbers and also benefit countless other wildlife species in the northern half of Maine. This is a win for our rural economy, our wildlife resources and our sportsmen.

Legislation for next session

We have already introduced SAM legislation for next session.

• Rep. Mike Shaw, D-Standish, has sponsored a bill to give the Commissioner of the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife the rule-making authority to change the date of open water fishing. Given the early ice out and warm springs of recent years, we think this is a move that could help rural economies and get fishermen on the water earlier.

• Rep. Ellie Espling, R-New Gloucester, has introduced a bill banning municipalities from charging fees for hunting and fishing. Recently, several towns in the Manchester region began charging a fee and requiring a permit for archers to hunt in their town in the special expanded zones. We feel on many fronts this is an overreach by towns and will work hard to stop it.


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