Senator Johnson makes a point of not only participating, but listening at meetings, community events around the district, and at the Constituent Office Hours he schedules monthly.
Chris Speaks Out On The Issues
As our State Senator, Chris has written columns roughly every two weeks, about Maine, our pressing issues, and the impact on our lives of what is going on in Augusta. You can find links to the most recent columns, and an archive of all columns on the right side of this page.
Chris has been honored to deliver a number of statewide radio addresses communicating his thoughts on important issues and the workings of state government, which you can listen to via the play list on the right side of this page.
Here is a recent interview on Steve Raymond’s “Spotlight on Seniors” show carried by local cable.
Chris Helps Solve Problems Collaboratively in Our Communities
Some problems don’t need new legislation. They just need bringing people involved together to work things out.
- When a constituent told Chris we should have a program like Scarborough’s Project HOPE to tackle the drug addiction problem, he got people together to work on a Lincoln County collaborative response to the issue. That led to an agreement between municipal and county law enforcement, LincolnHealth, and Mid Coast Hospital’s Addiction Resource Center, and an ongoing effort with community partners including the CLC YMCA, other individuals and organizations.
- Chris helped convince DEP, DMR, and DACF to sign joint MOUs to collaborate on Medomak River clean-up in an effort to help clammers by reducing closures.
- He heard from Round Pond businesses how the DOT planned schedule for closing State RT 32 in Bremen for culvert replacement during peak tourism would cost them 30% of their business. Chris invited Bremen and Bristol town officials, school officials (busing concerns), business owners, DOT project decision-makers, and legislators representing those towns to meet. They put their heads together and found a better way to get the job done with acceptable business and school impact.
- When a Boothbay Harbor businessman had difficulty working out with the Fire Marshall’s office what his options were to meet fire code within a reasonable cost, Chris arranged a meeting and exchange of data that lead to clearer understanding by the state office and the owner, and a workable solution to meet fire code and proceed with business plans.
- When controversy arose over the DOT’s design for replacing the unreliable Gut Bridge in South Bristol, Chris met with advocates for an alternative design, saw its merits, and helped persuade DOT to revisit and improve their plans for the S. Bristol Gut Bridge design, resulting in a well engineered and more fitting bridge design, and a project which will be completed fall 2016 to replace the bridge.
Chris Works for Constituents in Augusta
Some problems do require legislative solutions. When constituents told him about specific problems in Maine law, he worked to solve them as well.
- Helping Veterans Get Treatment: Jessica Chubbuck introduced a young veteran Benjamin Leeman who explained how he has to miss needed treatment, or use up his personal time, or lose hours and pay in order to attend therapy. Chris suggested creating a Veteran Friendly Workplace Award by the Dept. of Labor for employers who allow a veteran to flex their hours with prior notice to attend treatment and work their usual number of hours. He consulted with the DOL on details, proposed a bill to make it so, and when the bill was not allowed in he obtained approval from the governor’s office for DOL to implement the program anyhow. Jessica, Ben, and a veteran advisory group meeting with DOL have been further defining the program to include PTSD training, and be rolled out in fall 2016.
- Irresponsible Fireworks Use: While campaigning Chris heard from many constituents about problems caused by inconsiderate fireworks use. Chris took action by introducing LD 168 “An Act To Establish Reasonable Restrictions on the Use of Fireworks” as a concept bill to put those problems before legislators and ask for a solution. Working with the committee, with advice from the Lincoln County DA, together they found a common sense solution. The amended bill allowed law enforcement officers to consider that unreasonable fireworks use can be disorderly conduct under the law. Although there was some bipartisan support in committee, most Republicans treated it as a partisan issue, leading to a veto, which was not overridden. In 2015 he brought the bill back and gained even the support of a fireworks vendor, but with opposition from the governor the bill was defeated in the Senate.
- Access to Vaccinations: Chris heard from a constituent visiting his office hours that although his doctor recommended vaccination for shingles and pharmacists administer them, the pharmacist could not fulfill the doctor’s request because of a technicality in pharmacist authorization. He introduced LD 32 “An Act To Expand the Types of Vaccines That May Be Administered by Pharmacists” which was supported by doctors and pharmacists, received unanimous support and became law.
- Resolve Nurses’ Authority Conflicts: A local Doctor of Naturopathy brought to Chris’s attention that nurses can only legally administer prescriptions by some of the professionals with prescriptive authority, because that law has not kept up with changes elsewhere in Maine law. Chris learned more and introduced LD 1766 “An Act To Clarify and Update a Nurse’s Authority To Administer Medication”, and then worked with stakeholders and legislators to improve the bill, which gained the full support of nursing associations and medical associations, the unanimous support of both bodies, and was signed into law.
- Improving Cemetery Unintended Burdens: Chris learned from towns in the district that a recent change in the law for cemetery maintenance created unintended burdens. He worked with stakeholders including veteran, municipal, cemetery and legislative interests to find solutions as amended with which everyone was happy. LD 1662 achieved unanimous support and was signed into law.