Freedom Studies - Testimony

BY JONATHAN REISMAN

I have been offering legislative testimony for more than 30 years. Live appearances in Augusta are certainly the most effective, but in recent years I have favored written or zoom testimony over 6 hours of round trip driving. If testimony can be synchronized with op-ed columns in the daily newspapers, that is even better. Unfortunately, since I began to refer to the BDN and PPH as Pravdas on the Penobscot and Presumpscot, they do not seem to want much to do with me. Go figure! 

Written testimony can be submitted at https://www.mainelegislature.org/testimony/ once a public hearing is scheduled. You need to know the committee and date of the hearing.

My standard opening addresses the Chairs of the Committee, introduces myself, and identifies the legislation and my support or opposition. Then I go into the reasons for that support or opposition in greater but brief detail (oral testimony is often limited to three minutes, and written testimony should also be concise).

Here is my testimony for several bills before Health and Human Services seeking to ban the sale of flavored tobacco products, including vaping:

Senator Baldacci, Representative Meyer, honorable members of the Health and Human Services Committee:

Thank you for accepting this testimony in opposition to LD 1174, An Act to Prohibit the Sale of Flavored Tobacco Products and LD 1215, An Act to End the Sale of Flavored Tobacco Products. My name is Jon Reisman. I have recently retired from the University of Maine at Machias after 38 years of teaching and service as a professor of economics and public policy. I am a Selectman for the Town of Cooper, a columnist (Freedom Studies) for two Washington County weeklies and a Statler and Waldorf intern.

My opposition to these attempts to end the sale of flavored tobacco products is that they are counterproductive in terms of harm reduction and inconsistent with policies that treat Maine citizens, whether adults or minors, as capable of making health decisions for themselves.

They are counterproductive in that they will remove a means of smoking cessation from the market.

They are inconsistent in that Maine and the United States have many policies that                                            allow adults and sometimes minors to make their own decisions without government prohibitions, including reproductive and gender affirming health care and dietary choices.

Advocates for the nanny state may indeed believe that they know best. In my experience, the nanny is not so much Mary Poppins as Nurse Ratched from One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, and I would prefer that the state not mandate lobotomies in order to obtain desired obeisant behavior.

I would be glad to answer any questions at [email protected].

 

Here is my testimony for the as yet unscheduled public hearing on the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact before Veterans and Legal Affairs.

Senator Hickman, Representative Supica, honorable members of the Veterans and Legal Affairs Committee: 

Thank you for accepting this testimony in opposition to LD 1578, an Act to adopt an Interstate Compact to Elect the President of the United States by National Popular Vote. My name is Jon Reisman. I have recently retired from the University of Maine at Machias after 38 years of teaching and service as a professor of economics and public policy. I am a Selectman for the Town of Cooper, a columnist (Freedom Studies) for two Washington County weeklies and a Statler and Waldorf intern.

 

My opposition to LD 1578 stems from the following:

• The National Popular Vote Interstate Compact is a too clever by half effort to do an end run around the constitutional amendment process;

• The Electoral College is an expression of federalism, a key element of our Constitution which parses power between the states and the national government and encourages and allows for a diversity of cultures and policy approaches amongst the various states;

• The Compact is an attack on our Constitutional Republic, seeking to both weaken the Constitutional Amendment process and to replace representative democracy with direct democracy;

• The Compact would have the practical effect of disenfranchising every right of center voter in the 2nd Congressional District. While I can understand why left of center voters in the 1st and 2nd Districts think that would be great, I can assure you it will not be happily accepted;

• Finally, there is the small matter of Article 1, Section 10, Clause 3 in that cursed barrier to progress, the Constitution: “No State shall, without the Consent of Congress, lay any Duty of Tonnage, keep Troops, or Ships of War in time of Peace, enter into any Agreement or Compact with another State, or with a foreign Power, or engage in War, unless actually invaded, or in such imminent Danger as will not admit of delay.” The title of LD1578 admits that the NPV is an interstate compact. Unless you are planning a second end run around the Constitution, it requires Congressional approval. Although Maine somehow avoided that approval for the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, I am hopeful that our Congressional delegation will not so passively allow the NPV to bend the Constitution for progressive hopes and dreams. 

I would be glad to answer any questions at [email protected]. Thank you.

Jon Reisman is an economist and policy analyst who retired from the University of Maine at Machias after 38 years. He resides on Cathance Lake in Cooper, where he is a Selectman and a Statler and Waldorf intern. Mr. Reisman’s views are his own and he welcomes comments as letters to the editor here, or to him directly via email at [email protected].

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