UPDATE MAY 9: The committee issued a divided report, with the majority report recommending “ought not to pass.” Both chambers accepted the majority “ought not to pass” recommendation and the bill failed.
UPDATE MARCH 24: The date for the committee hearing is Monday April 3rd at 10am. Health Choice Maine will be holding a rally at 8am at the State House in Augusta at 8am on April 3rd. We encourage everyone to 1) Submit your written testimony 2) Spread the news about the rally and hearing 3) Attend the rally 4) Submit oral testimony during the hearing. Review our Legislative Guide for full details on how to submit testimony. See the Rally & Hearing page for more details about those events.
LD 51, “An Act to Restore Religious and Philosophical Exemptions to Immunization Requirements,” is a bill that has been introduced for the 2023 Maine Legislative session by Representatives Drinkwater of Milford and Perkins of Dover-Foxcroft. The bill is very simple in nature. It would restore the religious and philosophical exemptions for students, and certain healthcare facilities. It would not repeal current immunization requirements or mandates; it would however reinstate the original religious and philosophical opt outs that existed for decades prior to 2019. You can read the text of the bill here.
The bill has been assigned to the Committee on Education and Cultural Affairs.
We will be holding a rally at the State House the day of the committee hearing, and we are asking that everyone that can possibly attend, plan to do so. We seem to be entirely blacklisted now in the media, so it is going to be solely up to us to make as much noise as possible.
Why LD 51 and not one of the other related bills? LD 51 doesn’t address just one group or one type of vaccine. It gets to the root of the problem and essentially repeals 798 and puts back everything it took away. We have been working with Representative Drinkwater for months, collecting information that he will present when he introduces the bill to the Committee. You don’t want to miss his presentation–it will be eye-opening! We have spent the last 2 years advocating on behalf of families, and we have collected a lot of information and evidence across that time. Everyone keeps asking us why we haven’t filed a legal challenge to the vaccine law yet. If you are one of those folks wondering that, stay tuned.
Plan Your Testimony
Let’s use this time to plan accordingly. The hearing can be announced with as little as two weeks’ notice. Use this time to work on your testimony, so when the date is released, we are all ready to go.
Steps for Testimony Submittal:
- Read our Legislative Guide for tips on how to format your testimony and suggested talking points
- Type up your testimony and have someone review it for typos. Your written testimony should be less than one page long. Oral testimony should be less than than 3 minutes.
- Go to https://www.mainelegislature.org/testimony/
- Select Public Hearing > Education & Cultural Affairs Committee > April 3, 2023 > LD51 (watch this Testimony Instructional video if you’d like to be walked through the process)
- If you would like to testify via Zoom, check the box next to “I would like to testify electronically over Zoom.” If you don’t, leave the box blank.
- Either copy and paste or upload your testimony document
- Fill out your name and contact information. You don’t need to fill in your phone number, unless you are testifying via Zoom.
- Check the “I am not a robot” box then click “Submit.”
- Once you have completed your testimony, please send a copy to: 2023Testimony@gmail.com
- Please also email a copy of your testimony to your State Senator and your State Representative.
- If you are testifying in-person in Augusta: Bring 20 copies of your testimony with you. There will be a sign up sheet to sign up to testify before the Committee hearing starts.
The Legislative Guide is designed to assist you with any questions you may have about the bill, the process, and what we need to cover. Please note that there is a list of folks we are specifically interested in. If you, or someone you know, fits in one of the following categories, please reach out to us directly:
- Constitutional Law Professionals
- Immigration Law Professionals
- Medical Professionals
- Medical/Scientific Researchers or Specialists
- Religious Leaders
- A family that has immigrated or is seeking asylum in Maine. We will protect your privacy. Reach out to me privately at Tiffany@Healthchoicemaine.org
- Anyone who is working or has worked in administration at any facility affected by any mandate.
- Anyone who has personal experience as a patient in Maine affected by the staffing shortages in healthcare.
If you have any questions, or need help with anything, please do not hesitate to reach out.
Photo by J. Stephen Conn