By Robert E. Macdonald
Mayor of Lewiston
It’s time for a major overhaul of the many laws and policies dealing with confidentiality, laws that dictate how federal, state and local government are run.
A person’s medical records, financial statements and other personal information should be blocked from busybodies who seek it out of curiosity. This type of information should remain protected.
Recently, a friend asked if it would be possible to locate a gentleman he had known for many years and was now terminally ill. He sought to contact the man with the hope of providing him help and comfort in his final days. I called an organization I felt could locate the man.
I was told, correctly, that they could not give out that information. I asked if I left my friend’s name and number, could it be passed along to the person if, in fact, they knew him. I was told, again correctly, this would not be possible.
I bring this to the reader’s attention in an attempt not only to show the foolishness of these laws, but the fear they strike into the average law-abiding citizen.
In Maine there is a website that lists the pension amounts received by everyone who is issued a monthly check by the State of Maine. No privacy here because this is being paid out by the State; accordingly, taxpayers have a right to know.
Yet other recipients of state revenues are shielded. Yes, I am referring to those known as welfare recipients. Why are they treated differently than pensioners? (A rhetorical question).
The answer: our liberal, progressive legislators and their social-service allies have made them a victimized, protected class. It’s none of your business how much of your money they get and spend. Who are you to question it? Just shut up and pay!
Well, the days of being quiet are gone. We will be submitting a bill to the next legislative session asking that a website be created containing the names, addresses, length of time on assistance and the benefits being collected by every individual on the dole. After all, the public has a right to know how its money is being spent.
Along with this bill, we will be resubmitting HR 368, which will bring local General Assistance into compliance with federal laws that limit General Assistance to a 60-month total lifetime benefit.
Additionally, we will be submitting a bill similar to one in Massachusetts, prohibiting the state from paying benefits for any additional child born after the recipient has been accepted into General Assistance.
Following up on last week’s column, these bills will be submitted to the Legislature for consideration and passage:
A bill that would make it a Class E Crime for a tenant to remove or disable a fire or CO2 detector in an apartment under the tenant’s control. This would result in a fine. If a removal results in injury or death, the tenant would be charged with a Class C Crime (a felony).
A city ordinance making the tenant responsible for keeping the hallway outside their apartment free of personal property and trash. We will further seek a state law that would make a tenant criminally liable if their property or trash is blocking an exit preventing passage in the hallway that results in injury or death.
Lastly, we will also be seeking language to be added to the current criminal mischief statue, clearly stating that tenants who intentionally damage an apartment under their control will be held criminally liable for the damage.
Next week, we will talk about our progressive liberal friends’ war on the elderly.