State Sen. Matt Pouliot, R-Augusta, posted a Facebook video bemoaning “spin” over complaints on his refusal to return to session, and having been a long Augusta constituent of his, I know that when he cries spin it’s usually because he’s spinning.

This spring, Pouliot argued that the Legislature should reconvene, but only with the expressed purpose of ending Gov. Mills’ declared State of Emergency. Now, he’s arguing that — despite his vote — the Legislature must return to session, but only if they can keep it short, and limit their focus to what he considers “emergency” measures.

Pouliot doesn’t outline what he thinks of as an “emergency,” but implies that a special session should only deal with coronavirus-related business. But so many of the bills in process relate to struggles that are made worse by COVID-19. Take, for example, L.D. 2146 and L.D. 1955 — bills that, respectively, would authorize teledentistry in Maine and expand dental care for more Mainers. Or L.D. 1984, which would provide needed services for the adults with intellectual disabilities, autism, and brain injury who are currently lingering on Medicaid waitlists.

The people of Maine who elected the 129th Legislature did not ask the GOP caucus to determine which bills constitute an “emergency.” But their refusal to return to session unless it’s done on their very narrow terms allows them undue influence over legislation they oppose, without a fair process. The GOP caucus is simply rolling the dice, on the off chance that this November’s election goes their way, while our community waits on these bills for health, safety and livelihood.

Sen. Pouliot’s casual remark that most of these other bills can easily wait six months reminds me that I have a choice this November.

Megan Bastey

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