What happened at “HOT STOVE” Saturday
On Saturday, December 16, the Bangor Region Chamber held the first “Hot Stove” event of the season. Nearly 50 people filled the room in Rangeley Hall on the campus of Eastern Maine Community College. The group gathered from 8 – 10 am fueled by coffee and the desire to discuss key issues facing our region and beyond. Thanks to WABI for covering the event – see the story here!
Hot Stove is a long standing event of the Bangor Region Chamber of Commerce. Sponsored by Quirk, the intent is to provide a forum for Chamber member business leaders and those who represent us at the local, state and national level to exchange and engage in conversation and the sharing of ideas. The event is facilitated by the Chair and Co-Chair of the Governmental Affairs Committee, Sarah Dubay and Renee Doble to insure that everyone has the chance to participate.
We shared the Chamber’s “Issues of Impact” – our strategic plan for advocacy in 2018. We asked the Legislators in attendance to discuss the upcoming session and their priorities. Legislators in attendance included, Senators Jim Dill, Geoff Gratwick, Representatives Stacey Guerin, Garrell Craig, Dick Campbell, Peter Lyford and Barbara Cardone.
- Bills: Looking at more than 300 carry over (emergency) bills and how they define what is an “emergency”.
- Education/workforce: Rep. Guerin spoke about integrating Veterans into our communities and workforce, including a bill that would transfer military training and experience to certifications required for jobs and professional licensing.
- Opioid crisis: Discussed the opioid task force (more info can be found here). The importance of investing in treatment as well as recovery. There will be a bill that will allow agencies, such as the BARN (Bangor Area Recovery Network) to apply for funding. The Mayor of Brewer, Jerry Goss stressed the importance of dealing with this epidemic and the Legislature taking action.
- Healthcare: Senator Gratwick is serving on the Health Care task force with a focus on controlling costs. The task force is well balanced by both sides of the aisle agreeing on the need for comprehensive and affordable health care. Rep. Craig is serving on the Insurance and Financial Services Committee. He discussed bills being carried over to provide coverage for medical procedures (what should be covered).
- Judiciary Committee: Rep. Cardone mentioned the largest bill has to do with the probate code and she mentioned a bill to create an incentive to draw lawyers to practice in under-served communities. It is based on a program that already exists for dentists.
- Natural Resources: Rep. Campbell discussed they are looking at the future of municipal solid waste and carry over bills that promote manufacturing in Maine.
- Taxation: Senator Dill mentioned a bill submitted by a constituent that would change the excise tax on vehicles to be based on what the buyer “paid” for the vehicle, not the “book value”.
- Referendum Process: This was discussed and opinions expressed included if this is a good way to “govern” and the constitutionality of the process. To be continued…
NEWS from D.C.
Representatives for Senator Collins, King and Congressman Poliqiuin were present and discussed the news out of Washington. They plan to continue to attend Hot Stove to inform the business community with latest updates.
TOP 3 issues discussed…
- Tax bill
- Disaster relief
- Net neutrality
I encourage Chamber members to attend at least one Hot Stove and check it out! You can attend to listen, to share and to learn. I guarantee you will learn a lot! Please join us for our next Hot Stove on January 20th from 8:00 – 10:00 am at Rangelely Hall on the campus of Eastern Maine Community College!