George's Outdoor News Blog Archive 2012
This week the legislature considers Governor Paul LePage’s three nominees for the Land for Maine’s Future. All three are exceptional. This is an “A” team, but we’re putting them into a race car that is out of gas – with nobody in the pit to fill up the tank or change the tires.
Why are new federal rules governing Maine’s vernal pools tougher than rules in other areas of the country? Good question, Senator Susan Collins!
The Senator asked this and other vernal pool questions of a federal official this week in a Congressional hearing, and received no answers. But those answers were promised later, in writing, and I’ve already asked Carol Woodcock (the Senator’s state office representative) for a copy of those answers.
When Agriculture Commissioner Walt Whitcomb started dairy farming, Maine had 2200 dairy farms. In 1991, I wrote my first newspaper column lamenting the loss of Maine’s dairy farms. Six hundred farmers were still in the dairy business at that time. In 2002, I wrote a sorrowful plea to save the 412 dairy farms still clinging tenuously to their way of life.
With a unanimous legislative committee vote and the support of many key members of Maine’s tourism industry, a bill that revamps the state’s tourism office is on its way to enactment.
Two months ago I reported that some members of the Tourism Commission were disgruntled that the Commission was scheduled to be abolished by this legislation, but Carolann Ouelette, Director of the Office of Tourism, rallied her troops, responded to concerns, and successfully supported an amended version of the bill, sponsored by Rep. Amy Volk.
The legislature’s Taxation Committee has acted on two issues that were the subjects of my recent blog posts: the chickadee checkoff on Maine’s income tax form, and a newly-enforced sales tax on RVs. The bill under consideration would have removed all checkoffs from the income tax form.
One of the most contentious and complicated bills of this legislative session resulted into a worthy compromise endorsed by the Judiciary Committee on March 8.
Recognizing that the government should not be able to take most of the value of private property without compensating the owner, the legislature has been wrestling with LD 1810, Rep. Andre Cushing’s “takings” bill.
If those big recreational vehicles filled with tourists that clog up our highways every summer aggravate you, you’ll be glad to hear they won’t be coming to Maine much longer.
Sitting in the audience at a Taxation Committee hearing earlier this week, waiting for a chance to speak against the bill that would eliminate the chickadee check-off on Maine’s income tax form, I happened onto an astonishing issue that explains a lot about why our economy lags the nation.
Here’s the short version of the problem.
How many bears are too many? We may find out soon, as Maine’s bear population is at a very high level and continuing to grow.
It’s one thing to watch bears on your computer screen, compliments of Maine’s Wildlife Research Foundation’s new bear cam. It’s another experience entirely when a bruin shows up in your backyard.
Maine’s chickadee checkoff may fly away if the legislature’s Taxation Committee flushes it off the roost in the state income tax form where it’s rested since 1984.
A bill ordered up by the Taxation Committee was printed on February 16, with the support of most committee members. It repeals the chickadee and all other voluntary donations now on the Maine income tax form.
Howard Trotzky of Bangor played an historic role in cleaning up Maine’s rivers and defining the future of the North Woods. So I wasn’t surprised when they trotted Howard out on February 16 for the legislative hearing on a bill to reform the Land Use Regulation Commission (LURC), the planning and regulatory agency for the unorganized territories.