AUGUSTA, Maine — A contentious debate in the Maine House this week has some Democrats accusing some Republicans of trying to bully a freshman lawmaker.
Rep. Chloe Maxmin (D-Nobleboro) was speaking on the House floor about her bill for a Green New Deal, originally written to fight climate change, and about the threats Maine faces because of a changing climate.
Maxmin was interrupted four times by Republicans, citing Points of Order and complaining that climate details had been removed from the bill, so she shouldn’t be talking about the issue in her speech.
House rules state speeches are supposed to focus on the issue of the specific bills.
Maxmin was eventually allowed to finish the speech, and the bill passed.
Maxmin, who has been a climate activist for a decade, says her bill had been amended in committee, with most of the climate details removed and shifted to a bill from Gov. Mills.
The remaining language of the Green New Deal bill is focused on apprenticeship programs for energy projects, including solar panels on school construction projects.
"Just because the words 'climate change' are not in the bill doesn’t mean it isn’t related to the coming energy transition we will inevitably be making," Maxmin said.
Republicans, led by Rep. Jeff Hanley (R-Pittston), argued on the House floor that Maxmin's bill was no longer about climate change. Hanley is also opposing the bill.
"When you read the amended bill, there are zero climate issues in it. It's about the Maine labor department dictating how many apprentices on the job site,” Hanley told NEWS CENTER Maine.
The vote to pass the Green New Deal bill fell basically along party lines.
The House, however, proved far more receptive to Gov. Mills' climate change bill. That measure passed the House Friday by more than a two-thirds majority.
More votes on both bills are expected next week.