Senator Joseph Baldacci, Chair
Representative Ann Matlack, Chair
Joint Committee on State and Local Government
Dear Senator Baldacci, Representative Matlack, and distinguished members of the State and Local Government Committee:
My name is Lisa Pohlmann, I am the CEO of the Natural Resources Council of Maine (NRCM), and I am offering this testimony in support of the concept embodied in LD 2.
The Natural Resources Council of Maine supports efforts to understand and address racial inequity that may occur through the enactment, implementation, and enforcement of Maine laws.
We appreciate the significant work that has been done by the Permanent Commission on the Status of Racial, Indigenous, and Maine Tribal Populations, and we encourage lawmakers to give considerable thought to enacting the priority legislation identified in the Commission’s report.
Moving forward, we believe that lawmakers could benefit from the development of racial impact statements as part of the legislative process. Such statements could help ensure that newly enacted laws do not disproportionally impact historically disadvantaged racial populations or communities in Maine.
NRCM is aware that several significant issues would need to be worked out to implement the concept embodied in LD 2, including details such as how such statements would be requested, who would conduct such analyses, what specific information would be required in such statements, and more. We are comfortable with the proposed approach of directing Legislative Council to develop a pilot project that would help address such issues.
Our general view is that current elected officials have an obligation to ensure that new bills enacted into law in Maine treat all Maine people equitably and do not perpetuate structural racism. LD 2 could contribute toward that goal.
I appreciate the opportunity to provide these comments.