Saturday, 1 p.m., YEZ Tent
How does the Maine legislative process work and how can citizens participate most effectively in the process? A teach-in organized by MOFGA’s Public Policy Committee will address these questions on Saturday, from 1 to 3 p.m. in the YEZ Tent at the Common Ground Fair this year. It will ask: What works and what doesn’t? How much power do ordinary citizens have to affect the legislative process? How can they strengthen their power? Do paid lobbyists for industry organizations really call all the shots? What’s the role of campaign finance in determining legislative outcomes? Are votes bought and paid for? What works, in winning your legislator’s votes for an issue that’s important to you, and what doesn’t? How important is it to ensure that the citizen’s referendum process is preserved?
Coming on the heels of MOFGA’s busiest legislative session ever, the panelists will explore these issues in the context of the pesticides and genetic engineering legislative proposals and their fate in the legislature this year. The audience will have ample opportunity for questions and participation.
Sharon Tisher, Chair of MOFGA’s Public Policy Committee, will chair the panel discussion. Panelists include Representative Linda Rogers McKee (D-Wayne), chief sponsor of MOFGA’s successful genetic cross-contamination legislation and co-chair of the Joint Standing Committee on Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry; Representative Paul Volenik (D-Brooklin), a member of the Agriculture Committee and chief sponsor of the unsuccessful bill to require mandatory labeling of genetically engineered foods; Conrad Heeschen, former representative from Wilton; Evelyn deFrees, chief lobbyist for 10 years for the Natural Resources Council of Maine; Sherry Streeter, with Co-op Voices Unite; and Lori Conner, with Maine Right to Know.