- 1 Ways to Resist
- 2 Updates
- 3 Actions Taken by the State Government
- 4 Key Upcoming Elections
- 5 Healthcare
- 6 Policing
- 7 Immigration
- 8 Voting Rights
- 9 Mass Incarceration
- 10 Benefits / Tax Cuts
- 11 Housing/Infrastructure
- 12 Women's Rights/Reproductive Justice
- 13 LGBTQ+ Issues
- 14 Educational Justice
- 15 Consumer Protections/Workers' Rights
- 16 Climate / Environment
- 17 Disability Rights
- 18 Organizations and Events
- 19 Local News Sources
- 20 Relevant City and County Information
Ways to Resist
- Contact your elected officials:
- Get involved with local organizations.
- Find organizations with state and local presences working in your area.
- Check out our Tools of Resistance.
- Look for upcoming state and local events.
There are no recent updates.
To see past updates for Maine, click here.
Actions Taken by the State Government
Legislation that Supports Equity and Justice
Important bills proposed by Maine lawmakers this legislative session that should be supported:
- No bills identified yet.
Harmful bills proposed by Maine lawmakers this legislative session that should be opposed:
- LD 65: An Act to Ensure the Right to Work Without Payment of Dues or Fees to a Labor Union as a Condition of Employment. The bill would allow the state to prohibit unions that collectively bargain on behalf of both members and nonmembers from requiring union fees for the services they provide to all the workers they represent. Such laws are designed to reduce unions' income and power.
- LD 366 would prohibit cities and counties from becoming sanctuaries.
- LD 775 and LD 778 Both introduced 3/2/17 - 775 will override the language in Title 26, (which allows the Maine minimum wage to grow at regular intervals until 1/1/21, afterwards it would rise with the cost of living). This act would cap the minimum wage at the average among the New England States, which will only limit minimum wage increases. 778 removes the clause from Title 26 allowing the minimum wage to rise with the cost of living after 1/1/21.
See also the main policy pages for federal legislative tracking.
Key Upcoming Elections
Click here to find out if you're registered to vote. Register to vote here. The deadline is 21 days before Election Day. Same-day in-person registration is available on Election Day. Bring proof of identification the first time you vote. No document is required to vote.
- Senator Angus King (I/ votes with Democrats) will be up for reelection in 2018.
- Gubernatorial elections will take place in 2018, as the current Republican governor has hit the term limit.
- If there is a full repeal of the Affordable Care Act, 60,000 people in Maine (or 4.5% of the population) are estimated to lose coverage, whereas 95,000 people (or 7.1% of the population) will lose coverage with a partial repeal. (Retrieved 1/27/2017 from ACA Repeal Impact, state-by-state.) This is because with a full repeal, premiums will not increase the way they would under a partial repeal, since insurance companies would be able to discriminate on the basis of preexisting conditions and wouldn't be required to provide essential health benefits. Not covering preexisting conditions will disproportionately affect people with disabilities. The number would be even higher, but Maine chose not to expand Medicaid, so fewer people gained insurance under the ACA.
- The number of uninsured people in Maine is predicted to be 77,000 by 2021 under the ACA. Without the ACA, that number is expected to rise to 147,000, a 90.3% increase.
- Maine is among the states that lost the ability to place lifetime limits on coverage, because that practice is banned by the ACA; those limits are likely to be reinstated under a full repeal.
- Given that a repeal of the ACA would also change payment structures and subsidies, 13,000 jobs could be lost in Maine. When federal funding is cut, it creates a ripple effect that affects local and state revenue, thus creating losses in economic activity and employment.
- A repeal is estimated to cost MaineHealth nearly $1 billion over the next 10 years, and this may mean that some rural hospitals will have to close.
- Under the ACA Repeal-and-Delay Strategy, young adults in Maine could pay $761 more in 2018.
- 16 people have been killed by police in the state of Maine from 2013 through 2016..
- 0% of the people killed by police were black.
- No homicide rates for police killings by population are available at this time..
- In 2013, Maine had 44,687 immigrants, which is 3.4% of the state’s population.
- In 2012, undocumented immigrants made up 0.2% of the population—less than 5,000 people.
- Undocumented immigrants paid $3.7 million in Maine state and local taxes in 2010.
Rights of Non-Citizens
- Maine does not allow undocumented immigrants to obtain drivers’ licenses.
- Undocumented students cannot attend a public college at the same in-state tuition rate available to legal residents and citizens.
- In 2012 President Barack Obama signed an executive order (DACA) that defers deportation for children who were brought to the country as children. The action allows them to work lawfully but does not create a pathway to citizenship or give them legal status in the United States. 165 applications for DACA in Maine were approved between 2012 to 2016.
- Undocumented students and DACA grantees may enroll in in-state colleges.
- In 2013, immigrants made up 3.6% of the state’s workforce (25,333 people).
- In 2012, undocumented workers made up 0.1% (5,000 workers) of the state’s workforce.
- If the state deported all undocumented immigrants, Maine would lose $137 million in economic activity and 1,080 jobs filled by undocumented immigrants.
- If all undocumented immigrants were given legal status, they would pay $4.5 million in state and local taxes.
- Maine does not comply with using E-Verify to check employees’ legal statuses.
- Bill S593 was passed to protect victims of human trafficking from having their passports or other forms of ID from being destroyed.
- Portland, Maine, the state’s largest city, is not a sanctuary city and complies with the federal government's deportation policies. However, Rep. Charlotte Warren, D of Hallowell, Maine, drafted a proposal on January 29, 2017, for Hallowell to become a sanctuary city.
- In 2016, 32 refugees were resettled in Maine.
- Catholic Charities in Maine provides a variety of services for refugees. The center provides case management, career and language training, and various mentoring programs.
Maine currently has the Election Day Registration and Portability components of Voter Registration Modernization in place. Maine also has preregistration. Previously, Maine considered legislation that would allow online voter registration.
- In 2014, there were 3,780 people incarcerated in Maine, plus a probation population of 6,710 and parole population of 22.
- 0 people are incarcerated in private prisons in Maine.
- 162 juveniles are in custody in Maine.
- Of the prison population, 59 people are serving life sentences, and 55 are serving life sentences without parole.
- In Maine, a black person is 6.0 times more likely to be incarcerated than a white person.
- Corrections expenditures in 2014 were $160 million.
Benefits / Tax Cuts
- Maine residents who face a tax increase under Trump’s plan: 
- Households: 32,000
- Adults and children: 92,000
- Children: 53,000
- In 2015, an average of 105,075 households and 202,579 individuals received Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits (SNAP, formerly called Food Stamps) in a given month in Maine. In 2011, approximately 19% of the population of Maine was receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits (SNAP, formerly called Food Stamps). The average monthly benefit per Maine household was $218 per household and $116 per person in 2016.
- In 2016, an average of 8,503 households, including 4,021 families and 6,068 children, received Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), which is direct financial assistance, in a given month. The average monthly benefit for a single parent with three children residing in Maine was $485 in 2014. Average benefits in Maine have fallen in value by 23.9% since 1996.
- In 2016, an average of 4,503 women received funds from the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) in a given month.
- In December 2015, there were 1,751 Social Security recipients in the "aged" category who received an average of $273.55 per person, for a total of $479,000.
- 38,200 low-income families spent more than half of their income on housing.
- In 2014, Maine had 40 units of affordable and available housing for every 100 households categorized as “extremely low income” (at or below 30% of area median income.)
- In Maine, there were 2,241 homeless people in 2016.
- Of the homeless population, there were 297 families, 146 veterans, 146 unaccompanied young adults (18-24), and 217 people experiencing chronic homelessness.
- Maine received $220 million in federal rental assistance funding in 2014.
- In Maine, more than 32,000 families relied on federal rental assistance in 2014.
- Nearly all Maine households using federal rental assistance included children, elderly people or disabled people.
- Maine's infrastructure received a score of C- from the American Society of Civil Engineers in 2015.
- This study gave the state “good” scores for energy and ports, but rated transportation, roads, wastewater, and dams as being in “poor” condition.
- In 2013, the Department of Transportation found that 32.9% of Maine's bridges were structurally deficient or functionally obsolete, and 53% of Maine's roads were in poor or mediocre condition.
- Driving on these roads leads to an additional $245 per motorist per year in increased vehicle repairs and operating costs.
Women's Rights/Reproductive Justice
- Maine has four Planned Parenthood centers.
- In 2015, three centers were in rural, medically underserved, or health provider shortage areas.
- On average, there is one Planned Parenthood for 53,000 women of reproductive age.
Policy Solutions / Issues
- There were 9 abortion providers in Maine in 2015.
- In 2014, 10.8 out of every 1,000 women of reproductive age in Maine had an abortion. The national abortion rate is 14.6.
Policy Solutions / Issues
- Medical abortion is limited.
- State Medicaid does not fund most abortions.
Women and Wages
- In Maine, 13.7% of women live in poverty. Single mothers make up 37.1% of women living in poverty, while women age 65 and older make up 10%.
- For every dollar made by men, women are paid $0.78, which is two cents below the national average of $0.80.
- African American women are paid $0.62 for every dollar paid to white men, while Latina women make $0.67 for every dollar made by white men.
Domestic Violence in Maine
- In 2013, 5,487 domestic violence incidents were reported to Maine law enforcement, which made up half of Maine's assault reports.
- Arrests were made in only 17.4% of reported incidents.
- In 2013, 12 homicides were committed related to domestic-violence incidents, comprising half of all homicides.
- 46% of domestic violence homicides in Maine from 2012 to 2013 were committed using firearms.
- On one day in 2014, Maine's eight domestic violence programs served 439 victims/survivors of domestic violence; 55 requests for services were denied due to lack of resources.
Religious freedom law
Maine does not have state religious freedom laws. Religious freedom laws protect the right of people to practice their religion and limit laws imposing on that right, and were intended to protect religious minorities. However, after same-sex marriage was legalized, conservative states have attempted to enact similar laws with provisions that allow discrimination against LGBTQ+ individuals.
Maine has passed laws protecting LGBTQ+ people from discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodations, education, foster care and credit, and has a nondiscrimination policy for state employees. It lacks laws on nondiscrimination in adoption, insurance and jury selection.
Maine has de-facto parental recognition, parental presumption for same-sex couples, second-parent adoption, and surrogacy laws, and has passed laws on consent to inseminate (meaning that in the case of the insemination of one member of a female same-sex couple, the partner not carrying the child is automatically recognized as a parent). The State lacks nondiscrimination laws protecting LGBTQ+ people from discrimination in foster care.
Hate crime laws
Maine does include LGBTQ+ people in its hate crime laws as a protected group, and does require specific reporting of such crimes.
Maine does have laws protecting LGBTQ+ individuals against bullying, including cyberbullying. It has passed laws promoting transgender inclusion in sports and requires school suicide prevention policies, but lacks protection from conversion therapy, laws to address homelessness among LGBTQ+ youth, LGBTQ+ inclusive sex education laws, and LGBTQ+ inclusive juvenile justice policies.
Health and safety laws
Maine does not have nondiscrimination protections in the ACA exchanges and does not ban insurance exclusions for trans health care. It lacks trans-inclusive health benefits for state employees and explicitly excludes transgender health care from state Medicaid. The State allows gender marker changes on drivers’ licenses but not on birth certificates, but it does collect health data on LGBTQ+ individuals.
- Maine is ranked 18th in per-pupil spending as of 2013, with an average expenditure of $6,970 per student.
- As of 2013, Maine ranked 36th in teacher pay, with teachers earning an average of $48,119 per year.
- 89% of students in Maine attend public schools. As is the case in other states, students who attend private schools come from wealthier families, with private school families earning an average 24% higher income.
- As of 2014, public charter school enrollment accounted for 0.2% of total public school enrollment.
- Maine's overall graduation rate is 87%, which is above the national average. By subgroups, four-year graduation rates are as follows:
- White: 87%
- Latino: 72%
- Black: 79%
- Asian/Pacific Islander: 95%
- American Indian: 80%
- Economically Disadvantaged: 78%
- Limited English Proficient: 72%
- Students with Disabilities: 71%
Consumer Protections/Workers' Rights
- Maine has a minimum wage of $9.00.
- Maine has no state law for paid sick leave.
- Maine has no state law for paid family leave.
- Maine is a state with an at-will exemption. "At-will" means that an employer can terminate an employee at any time for any reason, except an illegal one, or for no reason, without breaking the law. Likewise, an employee is free to leave a job at any time for any or no reason with no adverse legal consequences.
- Maine does not have a public policy exemption. A public policy exemption means that an employer may not fire an employee if it would violate the state's public policy doctrine or a state or federal statute, including refusing to perform an act that state law prohibits (e.g., refusing an employer's request to commit perjury at a trial), reporting a violation of the law (e.g., reporting an employer's fraudulent accounting practices or use of child labor), engaging in acts that are in the public interest (e.g., joining the National Guard or performing jury duty) and exercising a statutory right (e.g., filing a claim under the state workers' compensation law).
- Maine does allow for implied contract exemptions.. An implied contract can be created in several different ways: oral assurances by a supervisor; or handbooks, policies or practices as written assurances by the employer. This means that if there is no written contract between the employer and employee, that employee may have an exception of fixed term or even indefinite employment based on an employer's statements. As a general rule, courts disregard language promising long-term, lifetime or permanent employment as aspirational and consider the relationship to be at-will.
- Maine does not support the Implied Covenant of Good Faith and Fair Dealing. Courts have interpreted the covenant in different ways, from requiring just cause for termination to prohibiting terminations made in bad faith or motivated by malice.
Climate / Environment
- More than 39% of Maine’s electricity generation comes from nonhydroelectric renewables (biomass and wind.) Fossil fuels account for 35%.
- Maine has 13 sites on the National Priorities List.
- In 2014, Black populations had the highest air pollution exposure indices—35—compared to an overall index of 13 and a White index of 12.
- In 2012, Native American adults in Maine were most likely to have asthma (18.2%), compared to 10.9% overall and 10.8% of the White population.
- The Gulf of Maine is warming up faster than 99% of large bodies of saltwater.
- The relevant environmental agency in Maine is the Department of Environmental Protection.
- Republican Governor Paul LePage has passed legislation encouraging the expansion of natural gas pipelines.
- In 2016, Governor LePage vetoed a comprehensive solar bill.
- In 2013, LePage vetoed a long-term climate change study.
- In February 2017, LePage called for the resignation of members of the Maine Public Utilities Commission after their January pro-solar decision.
- Maine has the fifth-highest percentage of disabled people in the US: 16.3% of Maine's residents are disabled, compared with the national average of 12.6%. [2015 US Census American Community Survey, Table R1810]
- Maine has the sixth-lowest employment rate among disabled adults in the US: 29.6%, compared to the national average of 34.9%. People without disabilities in Maine have a 79.7% employment rate. [2015 US Census American Community Survey, Table R1811]
- Approximately 18.5% of eligible voters in Maine have one or more disabilities, compared to a national average of 15.71%.
- Of adults with disabilities in Maine, 31.2% live in poverty, as opposed to 10.5% of non-disabled adults. [2015 US Census American Community Survey, Table B23024] The poverty rate for disabled children under 5 is 0.0%, as opposed to 19.5% for non-disabled children.[2015 US Census American Community Survey, Table B18130]
- In Maine, 6.3% of adults between 18 and 64 receive SSI (Supplemental Security Income), compared to the national average of 5.4%. [2015 US Census American Community Survey, Table B19056]
- The Maine Human Rights Act forbids hiring discrimination against people with mental or physical disabilities.
Organizations and Events
Find state/local chapters of national organizations here.
- American Immigration Council, facts on immigrants' impact on Maine
- Aserela, a Portland-based group building self-reliance among South Sudanese refugees.
- Catholic Charities Refugee and Immigrant Services
- Immigrant Legal Advocacy Project, providing free and low-cost immigration information and legal assistance. The site is also available in French, Spanish, Somali and Arabic.
- Immigrant Resource Center of Maine, a Lewiston organization providing culturally and linguistically appropriate resources, especially to women and children from African countries.
- Maine Access Immigration Network, a multilingual community health outreach association in greater Portland.
- Maine Immigrant and Refugee Services, focusing on helping adults pass citizenship exams and educating families and teens about the Maine juvenile justice system.
- Maine Progressives
- Maine Sanctuary Movement
- The Progressive Party—Maine
Environmental Justice Groups
- Environment Maine
- Maine Conservation Voters
- Maine Environmental Education Association (MEEA)
- Maine Environmental Policy Institute
- Marine & Environmental Research Institute
- Natural Resources Council of Maine
- Sierra Club, Maine Chapter
- 350 Maine
Disability Rights Organizations
- Disability Rights Maine, Maine's P&A (Protection and Advocacy) organization
- Homeward Bound, Maine's MFP (Money Follows the Person) program, which helps fund transition from institutions back to the community
- Maine SILC (Statewide Independent Living Council)
- NAMI Maine (National Alliance on Mental Illness)
- Swing Left events for Maine's 2nd district (helping elect progressives to the House)