As House chair of the Judiciary Committee, I would like to publicly thank Rep. Janet Mills of Farmington for her work on legislation that will guard against price-gouging on essential items in times of emergencies.

Her bill would give the Attorney General’s Office the ability to check and prosecute anyone charging exorbitant prices on items such as water, fuel and food when people need it most.

Rep. Mills said she pursued this issue because she grew concerned after Hurricane Katrina and saw the fuel prices skyrocket at a time of great need. I agreed, and was committed to working with Rep. Mills and other stakeholders to make sure our justice system offers the protection that Maine people ought to have.

Rep. Mills worked hard with retailers, wholesalers, hardware stores, oil dealers, and consumers to draft a bill that everyone could be in agreement with.

Her legal experience and professional demeanor are real assets to the important policy discussions of our state. Her ability to compromise and work with industry, the AG’s office and Gov. Baldacci to find the best solution for Maine people really impressed me.

The bill will be enacted by the Legislature soon, and will become law thanks to Rep. Mills’ efforts to put people first.

Rep. Deborah L. Simpson, Auburn