Question 1 uses complicated wording that is confusing to voters and prompts the outcome that the proponents hope for. In August 2020 Maine Supreme Court ruled the state’s constitution doesn’t give voters the power through referendum to reverse a decision by the Maine Public Utilities Commission or any other commission, saying it “exceeded the scope of the people’s legislative powers conferred by the Maine Constitution.”

Regardless of one’s feelings regarding the NECEC corridor, Question 1 should be viewed with skepticism. Whenever a bill includes language such as “approve all such projects anywhere in Maine” and “such projects using public land…” voters should beware. Anytime a law or rule provides subjective criteria for action defined only by some future person, place or thing, it should make the voters nervous.

If Question 1 is approved by Maine voters, it will trigger a legal battle that Maine taxpayers will pay for. The Maine Constitution is clear; “the legislature shall pass no law ex post facto” changing the law after some event has occurred (CMP corridor permitting) and then retroactively applying it. The Maine Supreme Court will uphold the constitution.

The passage of Question 1 will forever cloud the landscape for business development in Maine. Phrases like “other such projects” and “certain other projects” create considerable risk for any business seeking to locate in Maine. Could some group of people challenge their legal permitting, their development plan or other aspect of their business after the fact and cause them to shut down?

Because of this, I am planning to vote no on Question 1 in November. The risk to future business development in Maine is great. Please consider the long-term economic risks of this question when you vote.

Rep. Jack Ducharme

Maine House District 111

Madison

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