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The Maine Legislative Youth Advisory Council
Summary of the Council
The State of Maine values the ideas and opinions of its youth. In keeping with that fundamental principal, Maine established the Legislative Youth Advisory Council in 2002. Through the council, the youth of the State of Maine have a powerful voice. So far the council has dealt with issues including drug abuse, citizenship education, foster care, and several others. In the years to come, the potential of the Council is nearly limitless. The Legislative Youth Advisory Council is revolutionizing the way the State of Maine deals with youth issues.
Current work of the Council
In 2004, the Legislature directed the Legislative Youth Advisory Council to conduct a series of statewide public forums on issues important to Maine youth and invite Legislators from the various regions to participate in the public forums. Collaborating with the Maine Citizenship Education Task Force, the Council held two public hearings in 2005 and has two more planned for the fall of 2006.
For information about how to prepare testimony for these or any other public hearings, click here!
Creation of the Council
The Legislative Youth Advisory Council is a permanent advisory Council created in statute by Public Law of 2001, chapter 439, Part PPPP.1 This is the first Legislative Council in the nation. The purpose of the Council is to advise the Legislature and its Committees on issues related to youth. The legislation creating the Council took effect on July 1, 2002.
Purposes of the Council
The purposes of the Council, as set forth in the law, are to advise the Legislature on proposed and pending legislation, state budget expenditures and policy matters related to youth, advise the legislative joint standing committees and study commissions, committees and task forces on issues related to youth, conduct periodic seminars on leadership, government and the Legislature, and to report annually to the Legislature.
The law also directs the Council to examine issues of importance to youth, including, but not limited to, education, employment, strategies to increase youth participation in municipal government and State Government, safe environments for youth, substance abuse, emotional and physical health, foster care, poverty, homelessness and youth access to services on a municipal and statewide basis.
Structure of the Council
As of August 2006, the Council consists of two Maine Senators, two Maine House Representatives, and 16 youth members. The President of the Senate appoints the two Senators and half of the youth members. The Speaker of the House of Representatives appoints the two House members and the other half of the youth members. The Council has two co-chairs. One is a member of the Legislature and one is a youth member. The legislative chair position alternates every two years between the House and the Senate. Representative Michael Quint was the first legislative co-chair. Past youth co-chairs include Molly Feeney, Nathanael Yellis, David Heidrich and Jennifer Thompson. Members of the Council are appointed for the legislative biennium.
If you have any questions or comments, feel free to e-mail them to email@example.com
Ms. Jennifer Thompson (Left), Ms. Lindsey Kaley (Center) and Mr. Keith Rollins (Right) are engaged by the August Seminar conversation
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