District: Mechanic Falls, Otisfield and Oxford
Legislative service: Second term
Committee: Natural Resources (ranking minority member), Labor
Bill record: Two bills, one signed, one dead
Tax reform: Against
Bear trapping ban: Against
Washington County slots at a tribal horse track: Against
Stiffer seat belt law: Against
Increase term limits from 4 two-year terms to 6: Against
This session, James Hamper was a conservative voice on the Natural Resources Committee, which debated the contentious issues of banning the flame retardant known as deca, participating in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) and regulating outdoor wood boilers.
On RGGI, he supported the minority report, which accelerated the program to avoid a hike in electricity rates. This amendment did not pass on the floor.
In committee, Hamper opposed the RGGI initiative fearing that it ultimately wouldn’t reduce carbon dioxide and could actually increase it in the region.
Maine’s power plants already run cleaner than standards require, he said, so their credits would either be banked or sold to other states, causing more carbon dioxide to be produced in neighboring states, he said.
On the deca bill, he did not support the bill to ban it in committee, but later voted for enactment. He noted the chemical is not a problem in the state.
“We’re not using it in furniture. We’re not using it in mattresses…” Hamper said. “The environmental groups think it might be used in furniture.”
The committee also debated bills seeking to ban outdoor wood boilers. The committee instead reported out a bill with new regulations for them, which had unanimous support in committee.