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The Latest from Augusta + D.C.

by Jennifer Gray

Updated:  July 17

Yes, it’s summertime but that doesn’t mean life’s a beach in Augusta or D.C.

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Zukiman Mohamad

State House

The Appropriations Committee met this week to take up what’s called “the table.” That’s the Special Appropriations Table where bills that cost money (have a fiscal note) go and often die.

Fortunately, LD 648 had a good day and received a favorable 8-3 vote. LD 648, An Act to Expand the Types of Nonprofit Organizations to Which Surplus Property May be Sold by the State (sponsored by Rep. Gay Grant) (MANP supports) broadly expands the types of nonprofits that can purchase state surplus property. Thanks to Sen. Paul Davis’s help, the administration agreed to absorb the minor fiscal cost. The Senate will vote on the bill Thursday, July 20, also known as Veto Day. It then goes to the Governor’s desk. It’s unclear what he’ll do with it. If he vetoes it, we’ll let you know, as we’ll need to make sure we have 2/3 support in the House for a veto override. Stay tuned.

LD 967 was carried over by a vote of 11-0. LD 967, An Act to Ensure Access to Community Services for Persons with Intellectual Disabilities or Autism (sponsored by Rep. Erin Herbig)(MANP supports) received funding in the budget for the first year of the biennium. Funding for the second year will need to discussed as part of next year’s supplemental budget.

Washington, D.C.

The House Appropriations Committee voted last night on an amendment to strip out a rider, Section 116, to the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act of 2018 that would significantly weaken the Johnson Amendment. The Johnson Amendment is the part of federal nonprofit tax law that bars nonprofits and  religious organizations from endorsing political candidates and making campaign contributions. Unfortunately, we lost the vote 28-24. Thanks to Congresswoman Chellie Pingree for supporting the amendment stripping the rider. We hope to have more opportunities to kill this rider. See the National Council of Nonprofit’s press release here. The good news is that it wasn’t a party line vote.

According to our friends at the Council, the speakers in support of the amendment were Wasserman Schultz, Lee, Katherine Clark (D-MA), Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), Nita Lowey (D-NY), Betty McCullum (D-MN), David Price (D-NC), and Mike Quigley (D-IL). Each talked about the integrity of houses of worship and nonprofits, and their ability to speak to the issues of the day without restriction. Rep. Wasserman Schultz said the Johnson Amendment “protects integrity of nonprofits.” Several speakers laid out the significant constitutional challenges in Section 116, in that the provision would provide a special benefit to churches in violation of the Establishment Clause. Each referenced the views of the vast majority of religious institutions, charitable nonprofits, and the public, citing letters and polling data.

ACTION: Thank Congresswoman Pingree for voting in support of the amendment stripping the rider: 774-5019 (Portland) or 873-5173 (Waterville)

Here’s the vote:

REPUBLICANS

  • Rodney P. Frelinghuysen, New Jersey, Chairman   NO
  • Harold Rogers, Kentucky: NO
  • Robert B. Aderholt, Alabama: NO
  • Kay Granger, Texas: NO
  • Michael K. Simpson, Idaho: NO
  • John Abney Culberson, Texas: NO
  • John R. Carter, Texas: NO
  • Ken Calvert, California: NO
  • Tom Cole, Oklahoma: NO
  • Mario Diaz-Balart, Florida: NO
  • Charles W. Dent, Pennsylvania: YES
  • Tom Graves, Georgia: NO
  • Kevin Yoder, Kansas: NO
  • Steve Womack, Arkansas: NO
  • Jeff Fortenberry, Nebraska: NO
  • Thomas J. Rooney, Florida: NO
  • Charles J. Fleischmann, Tennessee: NO
  • Jaime Herrera Beutler, Washington: NO
  • David P. Joyce, Ohio: NO
  • David G. Valadao, California: NO
  • Andy Harris, MD, Maryland: NO
  • Martha Roby, Alabama: NO
  • Mark E. Amodei, Nevada: NO
  • Chris Stewart, Utah: NO
  • David Young, Iowa: NO
  • Evan H. Jenkins, West Virginia: NO
  • Steven Palazzo, Mississippi: NO
  • Dan Newhouse, Washington: NO
  • John R. Moolenaar, Michigan: NO
  • Scott Taylor, Virginia: YES

DEMOCRATS

  • Nita M. Lowey, New York: YES
  • Marcy Kaptur, Ohio: YES
  • Peter J. Visclosky, Indiana: YES
  • José E. Serrano, New York: YES
  • Rosa L. DeLauro, Connecticut: YES
  • David E. Price, North Carolina: YES
  • Lucille Roybal-Allard, California: YES
  • Sanford D. Bishop, Jr., Georgia: YES
  • Barbara Lee, California: YES
  • Betty McCollum, Minnesota: YES
  • Tim Ryan, Ohio: YES
  • C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger, Maryland: YES
  • Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Florida: YES
  • Henry Cuellar, Texas: YES
  • Chellie Pingree, Maine: YES
  • Mike Quigley, Illinois: YES
  • Derek Kilmer, Washington: YES
  • Matt Cartwright, Pennsylvania: YES
  • Grace Meng, New York: YES
  • Mark Pocan, Wisconsin: YES
  • Katherine M. Clark, Massachusetts: YES
  • Pete Aguilar, California: YES

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