When voters go to the polls this coming Tuesday, Nov. 4, there will be the hotly debated question on whether bear baiting should be allowed in Maine, as well as six bond questions totaling $42 million if all are approved. Following are brief explanations of each of those questions, courtesy of the state’s Maine Citizen’s Guide to the Referendum election.

Question 1: Do you want to ban the use of bait, dogs or traps in bear hunting except to protect property, public safety, or for research? This citizen-initiated legislation would amend the laws relating to hunting bear in Maine to prohibit certain practices which are currently allowed. The legislation, if enacted, would prohibit hunters from using food as bait to entice, attract or hunt bear, using a dog or dogs to hunt or pursue bear, or setting a trap to hunt or capture bear. A hunter found to have violated these prohibitions would be subject to a mandatory one-year suspension of his or her hunting license. The initiative makes exceptions to these prohibitions that would allow state or federal employees, when acting in their official capacities, to bait bear in certain instances. A “yes” vote approve a ban on bear baiting.

Question 2: Bond Issue – Do you favor an $8,000,000 bond issue to support Maine agriculture, facilitate economic growth in natural resources-based industries and monitor human health threats related to ticks, mosquitoes and bedbugs through the creation of an animal and plant disease and insect control laboratory administered by the University of Maine Cooperative Extension Service?

Proceeds from the sale of these bonds would be administered by the University of Maine Cooperative Extension Service for the creation of an animal and plant disease and insect control laboratory. A “yes” vote approves the bond.

Question 3: Bond Issue – Do you favor a bond issue to provide $4,000,000 in funds to insure portions of loans to small businesses to spur investment and innovation and to provide $8,000,000 in funds to make flexible loans to small businesses to create jobs, revitalize downtowns and strengthen the rural economy?

Proceeds from the sale of these bonds would be administered by the Finance Authority of Maine, with $4 million used to insure portions of loans to eligible businesses made by a participating financial institution in order to spur investment and innovation through an existing Commercial Loan Insurance program that is established in statute and rule and is administered by FAME. $8 million wouldbe used to make flexible loans to eligible businesses to create jobs, revitalize downtowns and strengthen the rural economy. These loans would be issued by state, regional and local economic development agencies through an existing program known as the Regional Economic Development Revolving Loan Program, which is established in statute and administered by FAME. The program would be targeted to businesses with 100 or fewer employees or annual sales of $10 million or less. The maximum allowable loan for any business would be $350,000. A “yes” vote approves the bond.

Question 4: Bond Issue – Do you favor a $10 million bond issue, to be awarded through a competitive process and to be matched by $11 million in private and other funds, to build a research center and to discover genetic solutions for cancer and the diseases of aging, to promote job growth and private sector investment in this State, to attract and retain young professionals and make the State a global leader in genomic medicine?

Proceeds from the sale of these bonds would be administered by the Maine Technology Institute within the Department of Economic and Community Development. The funds are to be used to expand the State’s research capabilities in the areas of mammalian genetics and murine biometric analytics, make the state a global resource for precision medicine, improve the State’s capacity to attract and retain young professionals, and bring additional grant funding, private sector investment, job growth and economic activity to the State. “Murine” refers to mice and rats, and “murine biometric analytics” and “mammalian genetics” are areas in which the Jackson Laboratory on Mount Desert Island specializes. “Precision medicine” and “genomic medicine” are terms that relate to the use of advanced genetic research to analyze the cause of an individual patient’s disease at the molecular level in order to tailor medical treatment to the individual characteristics of each patient. A “yes” vote approves the bond.

Question 5: Bond Issue – Do you favor a $3,000,000 bond issue, to be awarded through a competitive process and to be matched by $5,700,000 in private and public funds, to modernize and expand infrastructure in a biological laboratory specializing in tissue repair and regeneration located in the State in order to increase biotechnology workforce training, retain and recruit to the State multiple biomedical research and development groups and create a drug discovery and development facility that will improve human health and stimulate biotechnology job growth and economic activity?

Proceeds from the sale of these bonds would be administered by the Maine Technology Institute within the Department of Economic and Community Development. The funds are to be awarded through a competitive process to institutions that have been designated as Centers of Biomedical Research Excellence by the United States Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health and the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, and have also received IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence grants. This describes a collaborative network of 13 private and public colleges, universities and research institutions in Maine led by the Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory.

The purposes of the modernization and expansion of infrastructure are to increase biotechnology workforce training, retain and recruit multiple biomedical research and development groups to Maine, and create a drug discovery and development facility to improve human health and stimulate biotechnology job growth and economic activity. The bond proceeds awarded through the competitive process are to be matched by $5,700,000 in private and public funds. A “yes” vote approves the bond.

Question 6: Bond Issue – Do you favor a $10,000,000 bond issue to ensure clean water and safe communities across Maine; to protect drinking water sources; to restore wetlands; to create jobs and vital public infrastructure; and to strengthen the State’s long-term economic base and competitive advantage?

Proceeds from the sale of these bonds would be administered as follows: Department of Environmental Protection – $5.4 million would be used forvital public improvement projects including stream crossing or culvert upgrades; $400,000 would be used to restore state wetlands; $2.4 million would go into an existing state revolving loan fund administered by the Maine Bond Bank and the Department of Environmental Protection and would be distributed in the form of loans to municipalities to construct and upgrade wastewater treatment facilities. These funds are expected to make the state eligible to secure federal grants of $12 million. Department of Health and Human Services – $1.8 million would go into the state’s safe drinking water revolving loan fund, administered by the Maine Bond Bank and the Department of Health and Human Services. Loans from this fund may be issued to eligible public water systems to design, construct or improve drinking water supplies or treatment and distribution systems, or for any actions authorized or required under the federal Safe Drinking Water Act of 1996. This funding is expected to make the state eligible to secure federal grants of $9 million. A “yes” vote approves the bond.

Question 7: Bond Issue – Do you favor a $7,000,000 bond issue to facilitate the growth of marine businesses and commercial enterprises that create jobs and improve the sustainability of the State’s marine economy and related industries through capital investments, to be matched by at least $7,000,000 in private and other funds?

Proceeds from the sale of these bonds would be administered by the Department of Economic and Community Development in consultation with the Department of Marine Resources and the Maine Technology Institute. The legislation specifies that the funds are to be awarded through a competitive process, following a request for proposals, and resulting in a single award to be matched by at least $7 million in private and other funds.

The legislation specifies that to be awarded these funds, the applicant must include: a marine-based research program at a private or public university or nonprofit research institution, commercial fishing or aquaculture interests, community-based organizations committed to the growth of the local economy, and private sector businesses. In addition, the application must include proposals for growth in each of the following areas: traditional commercial fishing, aquaculture, value-added seafood processing, and market development for Maine-based products. A “yes” vote approves the bond.


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