May 24, 2019

A visit at the State House: Shadowing Rep. Patrick Corey

By Lorraine Glowczak

I began this series of visiting the statehouse to capture a glimpse of a day in the life of our local delegates. I have had the pleasure to visit and report on: Rep. Sue Austin, Rep. Jessica Fay and Rep. Mark Bryant, all of whom have been accommodating and welcoming. Last week, I spent the day with Rep. Corey.

The intention of this series is to share with our readers the work and focus of our state officials while
Rep. Corey with John and Linda Gregoire (and Sen Diamond).
Corey is working on bill LD 84 to to allow spouses
to Provide home and community-based services
to Eligible MaineCare Members 
they represent us in Augusta. I do hope that the past articles have contributed to some informed insight of the process. But I must admit, I think it is I who is learning the most from the experience.

My day with Rep. Corey began at 8:30 a.m. where we sat for ½ hour in the State House cafĂ© and spoke over coffee. It was a “slow day”, Corey told me (Slow is a relative term. It seemed busy to me.) This gave us time to talk for a while, providing an opportunity for him to discuss with me his committee work and the bills he has introduced.

He is a member of the Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee. “We focus on issues facing and bills that affect the Department of Corrections, county jails, State Police, the opioid problem and human trafficking,” Corey began. “This includes issues surrounding domestic violence and rape.”

He is also a member of the Maine Marijuana Commission which focuses on medicinal and adult use of cannabis and on the development and administration of a regulated marketplace in the State for adult use marijuana and the regulation of the personal use of marijuana and the home cultivation of marijuana for personal adult use.

Corey stated that his major interests include bringing Maine citizen voices to the initiative process, working on constituent related issues, and protecting law-abiding, mentally stable residents from gun control measures. In fact, Corey introduced LD-85. “It’s a law that would encourage gunowners to lock up their guns by providing a sales tax exemption with a purchase of a locked storage unit for guns,” stated Corey. “The bill passed the House and the Senate, but it sits on the appropriations table.”

As I learned from Rep. Bryant, and Corey reiterated, bills that go to the appropriations table, “go there to die” and have to be revived again during the next legislative session. The bills that affect the state budget are the only bills that go to the appropriations table – and in this case – it is the reduction of sales tax for a lock cabinet/gun safety.

Corey also sponsored a bill that has passed and is now law, LD 79, An Act To Protect Shooting Ranges. “There is a hunting safety law that states you cannot shoot a firearm within 300 feet of a building” explained Corey. “There was an incident in which a shooting range which has been in existence for many years but faced a challenge. A neighbor had purposefully built a structure on his land and within the distance that would require the range to shut down. The landowner had admitted that he purposefully built the structure to shut the range down. The law passed unanimously by both the House and Senate and was signed into law by Governor Mills.”

But Corey’s interests do not end there. He is still working on LD 84, “Resolve, Directing the Department of Health and Human Services To Allow Spouses To Provide Home and Community-based Services to Eligible MaineCare Members.” He specifically works on this bill as a result of Windham residents, John and Linda Gregoire. John has had ALS for 10 years and his wife, Linda, has been providing home care assistance without pay.

Other bills that Corey has worked diligently on and have recently passed and are now law include: LD 648, An Act To Improve Reporting of Operating Under the Influence Offenses and  LD 858, Resolve, Directing the Department of Education To Study and Make Recommendations for the Establishment of a Maine School Safety Center.

After our coffee and conversation, Corey went to his Caucus meeting (in which the public is not allowed) and then on to the House floor where I got to observe in detail, the various laws being considered and/or passed. During the session, Corey would vote, and then come back to the galley to explain in detail “what just happened.”

Visiting our legislators is an experience and, an amazing one at that. I would highly encourage all individuals to visit Augusta just once – to witness the process of a bill becoming a law and the difficult and complex work in which our delegates participate on our behalf.

Next week, look for my article as I shadow Sen. Bill Diamond.

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