A late post this week. So my apologies, first and foremost. Normally, I try to get a round-up of last week’s blogposts together at the beginning of the week. This week, it’s coming at the end. But there are reasons! This week in the UMaine Political Science Department, we played host to Alex Hertel-Fernandez. Alex is a Research Fellow and PhD Candidate at Harvard University whose current research examines the impact of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) on legislation and policymaking at the state level. Students in our Maine Government class got to hear Alex talk more about his research this week. Alex examines the way that ALEC has expanded the influence of corporate interests on the state level across the country, and on Thursday we discussed specific ALEC-sponsored legislation that has made it to Maine. See Alex’s piece in this week’s Bangor Daily News here.
And all of the Maine Government blogsters have been busy as well. Given that we spent so much time thinking about legislation and corporate influence this week, I figured I would choose some pieces my students wrote that had to do with these two themes. Let’s start with corporations. John Chase examines the debate over using SNAP food assistance to buy unhealthy foods from the angle of corporate lobbying. He argues that it’s corporate lobbying from major food producers like Coca Cola that prevent any meaningful reform here. Trey Stewart continues his examination of health care in Maine, zeroing in on the power of the pharmaceutical industry and the impact of Medicare Part D on their bottom lines.
And what about legislation? A host of great analyses of specific pieces of legislation currently making their way through the Maine State House. Spencer Warmuth examines LD 1512, a bill which would enable capital hungry businesses and entrepreneurs access to capital from “crowd funding.” Ben Algeo has a look at two very different bills (LD 1621 and LD 1628) related to natural gas. Last but not least, Jaymi Thibault provides her thoughts on a bill to provide meals to need students even in the summer months. The bill was vetoed by Governor Paul LePage, but the veto was overridden in the Legislature.
Just a sampling of the student’s hard work in the past week. This week, we’re very excited to be hosting a Maine political dynamo, Peter Mills, on campus. He’ll be chatting with the students about his long career in Maine politics with a particular emphasis on office of Governor in the state.
AND….one of our students may have an op-ed piece published in the Bangor Daily News this week. Stay tuned!