For Immediate Release
AUGUSTA - Today the House passed a bill, LD 332, in the second reading under the hammer to put DOT signs on I-95 and I-395 and in Brewer pointing out the Underground Railroad memorial at Chamberlain Freedom Park. It will next go to the Senate and come back to the House for enactment.
The measure received a divided report in its committee, with the majority opposing it because of concerns of over-signage on roads. Many other sign bills have faced heavy opposition this session and were ultimately killed, and this one was expected to suffer a similar fate.
Yesterday saw a roll call on the bill, with 95 in favor and 47 opposed. Almost every House Republican voted for it, while the House Democratic caucus was divided in half. House Republicans understand the need to minimize signage on our highways, but a modest sign pointing to this solemn memorial of the highest historical significance seemed worthy.
"The Underground Railroad in Maine was operated by the whispers and coded signs of local abolitionists," said Rep. Richard Campbell (R-Orrington). "It's fitting that we conspicuously proclaim our memory of it so that travelers understand the role Maine played in freeing the slaves."
There are already signs at Exit 182A on I-95 and Exit 2 on I-395 that direct motorists to memorials for World War II, the Vietnam War, and Purple Heart recipients.
"It would be a sin of silence not to make travelers aware of the profound struggle for freedom that occurred right here in Maine," said House Republican Leader Ken Fredette (R-Newport). "This historical treasure reminds us of the tragedy of slavery and of the immeasurable contributions Mainers made to its abolition and to the cause of liberty for all."
David Sorensen, Communications Director
Maine House Republicans
Tel: (207) 205-7793