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1999 Press Releases

To see the full text, click on the underlined words. Also available are 1998 and 1997 press releases.

Secretary Gwadosky Lauds Agencies' Cooperation to Preserve Maine's Heritage
December 29, 1999

Highway Safety for Holidays Stressed by Safety Advocates
50,000 Reminder Cards Distributed on Turnpike
December 22, 1999

U.S. District Court Rules on Petition Process Court Upholds Residency and Registration Requirements and Invalidates Law Prohibiting Payment Per Signature
December 10, 1999

Secretary Gwadosky to Join Ranks of Organ Donors and Encourage Maine Citizens to Consider Organ Donation at License Renewal
December 2, 1999

Secretary of State Dan A. Gwadosky to Honor State Mutual Insurance Company for 100 years of Incorporation
November 30, 1999

Secretary Gwadosky Approves Death with Dignity
Petition Second Initiative Possible for November 2000 Ballot
November 23, 1999

Secretary Gwadosky Approves Video Lottery Terminal Petition
Initiative may appear on November 2000 Ballot
November 16, 1999

Secretary of State Dan A. Gwadosky to Honor Calais Advertiser for 100 Years of Incorporation
November 8, 1999

Secretary Gwadosky to Visit Polling Sites Election Day
November 1, 1999

Kickoff Marks Beginning of Census 2000 Planning in Maine
October 29, 1999

Federal Immigration Law Repealed
Social Security Number not to be encoded on Driver's License
October 22, 1999

Secretary of State Dan A. Gwadosky to Honor
Bates College Athletic Association for 100 Years of Incorporation
October 1, 1999

Media Advisory - Secretary of State to Kick-Off Mall Display,  Bangor Mall, Bangor
September 23, 1999

Media Advisory - CITIZENSHIP DAY, Portland City Hall, Congress Street, Portland
September 15, 1999

Return North Yarmouth Declaration to Town, State Says
September 3, 1999

New Driver's License Design Unveiled by Secretary Gwadosky
Transition to Digital License will Begin in October
September 2, 1999

Advisory - Secretary of State to Unveil Design for New Digital Driver’s License
August 31, 1999

Maine State Archives to Renovate Records Storage Area
August 13, 1999

Secretary Gwadosky Suspends Benton Woman’s License, Pending Evaluation
July 27, 1999

Secretary Gwadosky sets order of ballot questions
Drawing held this morning to determine question placement
July 7, 1999

Chickadee License Plate Distribution Begins Today
July 1, 1999

MEDIA ADVISORY - Lobster License Plate to be “Retired”
June 30, 1999

New License Plate to Identify Firefighters
June 24, 1999

Winners of Maine Constitution Essay and Poster Contest
to View Original Maine Constitution
May 11, 1999

Bureau of Motor Vehicles to Implement New Telephone System
New Phone Number Part of Change
April 9, 1999

Secretary Gwadosky Rules Petitioners Obtained Sufficient Signatures to Place Referendum on November 1999 Ballot
February 22, 1999

Secretary Gwadosky to Rule on Validity of Petition
February 19, 1999

Secretary Gwadosky Expands Conservation License Plate Program
February 2, 1999

License Plate Reservation Process Continues - Vehicle owners reminded to advise Bureau of change of address
January 26, 1999




December 29, 1999
For Immediate Release 
Contact: Dan A. Gwadosky
207-626-8400

Secretary Gwadosky Lauds Agencies' Cooperation
to Preserve Maine's Heritage

AUGUSTA—Nearly forty communities from Abbot to Yarmouth have received grants from state and federal sources to protect their historical materials in the year 2000, Secretary of State Dan A. Gwadosky announced today.

With state funds provided by the Legislature's "Communities in the New Century" program, the Maine State Archives and the Maine State Museum have developed a unique opportunity for historical societies, museums, and archives.  The jointly administered program provides technical assistance to evaluate the condition of historical materials, and the financial assistance necessary to preserve and provide access to them.  Though funded by two separate agencies, applicants need contact only one person and complete one simplified application.

"Not only are we proud of these efforts to preserve Maine's historical records and museum objects," Secretary Gwadosky declared, "I am particularly gratified to see the close cooperation among government agencies that benefits Maine citizens through simplified procedures and lower costs of administration."

A closely allied grant program of the Maine Historical Records Advisory Board is also administered through the State Archives, a bureau within the Department of the Secretary of State.  Supported by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission, this federally funded historical records program was the model for the state's Archives-Museum program.

Gwadosky has spearheaded efforts within his Department to improve performance through reorganization and innovation.  Calling attention to a preliminary report on these programs, which accompanies this release, he noted that "This is one example of how thoughtful collaboration pays great dividends for the people of Maine.”

-more-







FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact:  Anne Ball, Project Consultant
December 29, 1999
New Century Grant Program
287-7591 or 846-1132

GRANTS AID COMMUNITIES TO SAVE HISTORIC
DOCUMENTS AND OBJECTS

Thirty-eight communities will enter the new century with projects preserving memories of earlier centuries of Maine's heritage.  The New Century Community Program, which was generously funded by the legislature this past spring, in conjunction with the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC), enabled the Maine State Archives and the Maine State Museum to award nearly $50,000 in community grants for projects to be completed in 2000.
This is the first time the Maine State Archives, the Maine State Museum, and the federal government (through the NHPRC) have collaborated to protect historical materials.  According to James Henderson, Maine State Archivist, "It has been very exciting to see the types of projects that have come out of this collaboration and it is wonderful to have resources to help communities preserve their valuable collections."  Communities around Maine received notification of their grants recently.
Both the jointly administered Archives-Museum project and the NHPRC-funded project used similar application forms and review standards.  The federal project, now winding down, served as a model for the more recently developed state project.  Applicants for NHPRC funds who were not ready for funding this year were referred to the new state program to provide continuity and to insure that critical needs are met.
Grant projects ranged from the microfilming of a local newspaper for the Acadian Archives at the University of Maine in Fort Kent; to conserving the 1,000-specimen Kate Starbird Collection of Oxford County flora collected from 1890-1917 in South Paris; and conserving the LaRue Spiker Photograph Collection of 2,000 black and white photographs taken on Mount Desert between 1954-1975; to preserving the Lewiston-based Franco-American Heritage Collection of document, artifacts, photographs, and scrapbooks dating from 1850; and preserving an audio collection of 200 recordings of oral histories and hymns for the Shaker Library-United Society of Shakers.
Two more opportunities for communities to apply for grants under the New Century Program occur on February 15th and June 1st.  Contact Anne Ball for more information and application material.

Grant Recipients
(alphabetical by town name)

Abbot, Abbot Historical Society, preservation of archival collection
Augusta, Old Fort Western, cataloging of archaeological artifacts 
Bar Harbor, Abbe Museum, preservation of Ann Molloy Howell Basket Collection
Belfast, Belfast Free Library, consultant to assist with special collections
Brunswick, Pejepscot Historical Society and Curtis Memorial Library, indexing, cataloging and increasing accessibility of archival collection
Brunswick, Pejepscot Historical Society, preservation of town records
Calais, Calais Free Library, microfiliming of “Calais Advertiser”
Cumberland, Cumberland Historical Society, consultant visit
Farmington, Mantor Library, University of Maine, Farmington, preservation of graduate photographs 1880-1921
Fort Kent, Acadian Archives, University of Maine Fort Kent, microfilming of “St. John Valley Times”
Grand Lake Stream, Grand Lake Stream Historical Society, preservation of Shaw Brothers Tannery Collection, c. 1890
Hinckley, LC Bates Museum, preservation of Maine Bird Mounts, Peary Eggs and Native American Baskets
Jay, Jay Historical Society, consultant visit
Kennebunkport, Seashore Trolley Museum, consultant visit
Lewiston, Franco-American Heritage Collection- preservation of archival collection
Lisbon, Town of Lisbon, cleaning and preservation of town records
Livermore, Norlands Living History Center, preservation of woman’s photograph collection
Mechanic Falls, Mechanic Falls Library, preservation of photograph collection (1862-1970)
Monhegan Island, Monhegan Historical & Cultural Museum, consultant visit
Mount Desert, Mount Desert Island Historical Society, preservation of La Rue Spiker Photograph Collection (1954-1975)
New Gloucester, Shaker Library- United Society of Shakers, preservation of audio collection
New Harbor, Colonial Pemaquid, conservation of 17th century cannonball collection
North Yarmouth, North Yarmouth Historical Society, preservation of town records
Northeast Harbor, Great Harbor Maritime Museum, conservation of logbook and Fred Savage Architectural Drawings
Peaks Island, Fifth Maine Regiment Center, Preservation of Shute Scrapbook Collection
Portland, Greater Portland Landmarks, preservation of slide and photograph collection
Portland, Maine Historical Society, conservation survey of the Fogg Collection
Rangeley, Rangeley Lakes Region Logging Museum, preservation of archival collection
Saco, Dyer Library, preservation of glass plate negative collection
Solon, Solon Historical Society, consultant visit
South Paris, McLaughlin Foundation and Garden, conservation of Kate Starbird Flora Collection
Stockholm, Stockholm Historical Society, increased access to genealogical collection
Sumner, Town of Sumner, consultant visit
Thomaston, Montpelier, General Henry Knox Museum, conservation of 18th century silver collection travel chest
Waterville, Maine Children’s Home, preservation of archival records
Weld, Weld Historical Society, preservation of town records
Yarmouth, Town of Yarmouth, survey of town records
Yarmouth, Yarmouth Historical Society, development of finding aid for archival collection




December 22, 1999 
For Immediate Release
Contact: Dan A. Gwadosky
(207) 626-8400

Highway Safety for Holidays Stressed by Safety Advocates
50,000 Reminder Cards Distributed on Turnpike

Secretary of State Dan A. Gwadosky and members of several transportation safety organizations gathered today to promote safe driving habits over the holiday season and throughout the New Year.  The main message was don’t drink and drive, and motorists on the Maine Turnpike will be receiving reminder cards outlining the dangers of driving after drinking. The Maine Turnpike Authority has agreed to distribute the enclosed reminder cards to motorists beginning on December 22, 1999.  Over 50,000 reminder cards will be distributed prior to the holidays.

“This is an important message throughout the year, but it requires special emphasis during the holiday season when people are celebrating and not necessarily focusing on the dangers of drinking and driving,” said Secretary Gwadosky.  “We want everyone to be safe on Maine’s roadways this holiday season.”

Joining Secretary Gwadosky at the Kickoff were members from the following organizations:

 Maine Turnpike Authority
 Maine State Police
 Maine Chiefs of Police
 Maine Sheriff’s Association
 Mothers Against Drunk Driving
 Maine Highway Safety Commission
 Maine Transportation Safety Coalition

Secretary Gwadosky also touched upon another serious highway safety issue--drowsy driving.   He encouraged everyone to be well rested before starting a trip and to stop when necessary during the journey to rest. 

“Many people will be visiting friends and relatives during the next two weekends and it is important for drivers to stay alert and be well rested,” Secretary Gwadosky continued, “Twenty-five percent of all motor vehicle crashes are the result of driver fatigue.” 

The Maine Turnpike Authority, Host Marriot Corp. and CN Brown have provided for an additional benefit to motorist.   The reminder card may be redeemed for one cup of coffee at any Maine Turnpike rest area on December 24, 25, or 31, 1999 or January 1, 2000 compliments of Host Marriot Corp., CN Brown and the Maine Turnpike Authority.  In addition, the Maine Turnpike Authority will be using its message boards along the turnpike to provide similar safety information. 

Secretary of State Gwadosky is the chief Driver Licensing official in the state and oversees driver licensing and education, as well as vehicle registrations.  Gwadosky’s remarks were delivered at the kickoff of the fourth annual Holiday OUI Awareness Event.  Gwadosky gathered with other safety advocates at Exit 14 A of the Maine Turnpike as turnpike workers began passing out the holiday reminders.




December 10, 1999
For Immediate release
Contact: Dan A. Gwadosky
207-626-8400

U.S. District Court Rules on Petition Processes
Court Upholds Residency and Registration Requirements and
Invalidates Law Prohibiting Payment Per Signature

U.S. Magistrate David M. Cohen has issued an order that has invalidated a Maine law prohibiting the payment of petition circulators on a per signature basis.  This ruling is part of a lawsuit filed in the United States District Court, District of Maine by On Our Terms ’97 PAC and U.S. Term Limits, who sought to invalidate a number of laws involving the petition circulation process.  Magistrate Cohen has previously ruled in favor of the Secretary of State on two other key issues—the requirements that circulators be residents of the State of Maine and registered voters in Maine.

“We are disappointed and concerned with the most recent order of the court,” said Secretary of State Dan A. Gwadosky.   “The citizen initiative process is an important part of our democratic process and it is our responsibility to ensure the integrity of this process for the citizens of Maine.  We strive to keep the focus on ‘citizens’ in the citizen initiative process.”

Magistrate Cohen acknowledged “the Secretary has expressed a laudable determination to carry out its mission of protecting the integrity of the initiative and referendum process in Maine.”

In 1994, the Maine Legislature passed a law that prohibited paying petition circulators on a per signature basis.  The rationale of this law was to discourage petition circulators from soliciting fraudulent signatures or “bounty hunting” for signatures in order to increase their paychecks.  Groups circulating petitions were not prohibited from paying circulators a salary or on an hourly basis.

In a decision issued on April 23, 1999, Magistrate Cohen denied the request made by On Our Terms ’97 PAC and U.S. Term Limits to eliminate the requirements that circulators be residents of Maine and registered to vote in this state.  The only issue that remained to be decided was the issue of payments per signature.  After hearing testimony on this issue, an order was issued on December 9, 1999 invalidating the payment per signature law, thereby issuing a final judgment on the case.  Either side may appeal this decision.




December 2, 1999
For Immediate Release
Contact: Dan A. Gwadosky
207-626-8400

Press Conference
Friday, December 3, 1999 at 11:00 a.m.
Motor Vehicle Branch Office
49 Topsham Fair Mall Road, Topsham

Secretary Gwadosky to Join Ranks of Organ Donors and Encourage Maine Citizens to Consider Organ Donation at License Renewal

Secretary of State Dan A. Gwadosky will be at the Motor Vehicle Branch Office in Topsham on Friday, December 3, 1999 at 11:00 a.m. to place an organ donor sticker on his license.  This will serve as an indication to his family of his desire to be an organ donor.  Secretary Gwadosky will be joined by Bruce White from the New England Organ Bank who will speak on the organ donation process and Peter James will give a personal account of the importance of organ donation.  Mr. James’ daughter, Kate James, was on a waiting list for a lung transplant, however a donor did not become available in time to help Kate.

While organ donation has increased, in recent years, those in need of organ and tissue transplants surpass the current available pool of organ donors.   Nationally each year approximately 4,000 people die waiting for a transplant and at the end of 1998 over 64,000 people were on a waiting list.

Secretary Gwadosky, Mr. White and Mr. James will be available for interviews following the press conference.




November 30, 1999
For Immediate Release
Contact: Dan A. Gwadosky
207-626-8400

Secretary of State Dan A. Gwadosky to Honor
State Mutual Insurance Company for 100 Years of Incorporation

Secretary of State Dan A. Gwadosky will present a certificate of achievement to State Mutual Fire Insurance Company for attaining 100 years of incorporation.  The presentation will take place on Wednesday, December 1, 1999 at approximately 11:30 a.m. during the Board of Director’s Meeting at the Ramada Inn in Lewiston (off Exit 13).  State Mutual Fire Insurance Company was incorporated in the State of Maine on May 15, 1899.

Eleven corporations are celebrating their centennial anniversary this year.  They include Portland Wharf and Land Company, Hebron Water Company, The Bates College Athletic Association, Cumberland County YMCA f/n/a Young Men’s Christian Association, Bangor Fuel Society, Newport Public Library Association, The Advertiser Publishing Company, W.A. Wilde Company, Deering Co. and Scarboro Public Library Corporation.

“This is an excellent opportunity to recognize Maine businesses and nonprofit organizations for their longevity,” said Secretary Gwadosky.  “It takes the efforts of many individuals to keep an organization or corporation active for 100 years.”

State Mutual Insurance Company was originally incorporated as Dirigo Mutual Fire Insurance Company.  In 1934, the name was changed to State Mutual Fire Insurance Company.   State Mutual Fire Insurance Company became affiliated with the Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Company (Concord Group) in 1964, and in 1965, moved its offices to the current location on Center Street in Auburn.




November 23, 1999
For Immediate Release
Contact: Dan A. Gwadosky
207-626-8400

Secretary Gwadosky Approves Death with Dignity Petition
Second Initiative Possible for November 2000 Ballot

AUGUSTA--Secretary of State Dan A. Gwadosky ruled today that sufficient valid signatures have been filed by Mainers for Death with Dignity, a petition group seeking to legalize physician assisted suicide.  The petition had been filed for certification with the Secretary of State’s Office in late September.

“The direct initiative process is an important part of our democratic system,” said Secretary Gwadosky.  “It allows the citizens of Maine to place before the Maine Legislature, and ultimately Maine voters, legislation that if adopted will become law.”

The direct initiative process is set forth in the Maine Constitution and allows citizens to propose bills for consideration by the Legislature through the petition process.  Petitioners seeking to utilize this democratic process must collect signatures of Maine voters that represent 10% of the total number of votes cast in the last gubernatorial election.  Currently, this figure is 42,101.  If the Legislature does not adopt the initiative as presented, then it will be automatically placed on the November 2000 ballot.

The following question will be put before the voters, unless the Legislature adopts the initiated legislation during its next legislative session:

Should a terminally ill adult who is of sound mind be allowed to ask for and receive a doctor’s help to die?

Summary of Signatures Determined Valid/Invalid

Initially submitted    56,285
Excluded by local officials     6,437
Excluded by the Secretary of State    1,282
Total valid signatures   48,566

Total needed for approval   42,101

A copy of the Determination of Validity for this petition is attached and provides a breakdown on the signatures that were deemed invalid.

This is the second petition to be validated for the November 2000 ballot.  Last week Secretary Gwadosky determined that sufficient signatures had been filed by a group seeking to allow video lottery terminals at racetracks.

~

STATE OF MAINE
OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY OF STATE

DETERMINATION OF THE VALIDITY
OF A PETITION FOR INITIATED LEGISLATION ENTITLED:

“Maine Death with Dignity Act”

1.   On September 24, 1999, petitions containing 56,285 signatures were submitted to the Secretary of State pursuant to the Constitution of Maine, Article IV, Part Third, Section 18 on behalf of the initiated legislation entitled, “Maine Death with Dignity Act.”

2.   Following a review of the petitions I find the following signatures to be invalid for the following reasons:

A.  5,552 are invalid because they were not certified by the registrar as belonging to a registered voter in that municipality.
B.  885 signatures are invalid because they are duplicate signatures already counted.
C.  875 signatures are invalid because the circulators were not registered to vote in the State of Maine.
D.  198 signatures are invalid because the circulator's verification was incomplete.
E.  100 signatures are invalid because the petition was not on the approved form.
F.  86 signatures are invalid because the petitioner dated his or her signature after the date of the circulator's oath before the notary.
G. 16 signatures have been determined invalid due to a counting error by the registrar.
H.  6 signatures are invalid because the registered voter’s signature was made by another.
I.   1 signature is invalid because the petitioner failed to provide a signature.
3.       For the reasons set forth above, I find that 7,719 signatures are invalid.  Petitioners have therefore submitted 48,566 valid signatures.  The number of signatures required to determine the petition to be valid is 42,101.  Because the number of valid signatures exceeds the required number by 6,465 signatures, I find the petition to be valid.

Dated:  November 23, 1999

_______________________________
Dan A.Gwadosky
Secretary of State



November 16, 1999
For Immediate Release
Contact: Dan A. Gwadosky
207-626-8400

Secretary Gwadosky Approves Video Lottery Terminal Petition
Initiative may appear on November 2000 Ballot

AUGUSTA--Secretary of State Dan A. Gwadosky today ruled that sufficient valid signatures have been filed by a group of individuals seeking to pass a law allowing video lottery machines at racetracks. The petition had been filed for certification with the Secretary of State’s Office in early September.

"The direct initiative process is an important part of our democratic system," said Secretary Gwadosky. "It allows the citizens of Maine to place before the Maine Legislature, and ultimately Maine voters, legislation that if adopted will become law."

The direct initiative process is set forth in the Maine Constitution and allows citizens to propose bills for consideration by the Legislature through the petition process. Petitioners seeking to utilize this democratic process must collect signatures of Maine voters that represent 10% of the total number of votes cast in the last gubernatorial election. Currently, this figure is 42,101. If the Legislature does not adopt the initiative as presented, then it will be automatically placed on the November 2000 ballot.

The following question will be put before the voters, unless the Legislature adopts the initiative during its next legislative session:

Do you want to allow video lottery machines at certain horse racing tracks if 40% of the profits are used for property tax relief?

Summary of Signatures Determined Valid/Invalid

Initially submitted 58,983

Excluded by local officials 12,436

Excluded by the Secretary of State 2,390

Total valid signatures 44,157

Total needed for approval 42,101

A copy of the Determination of Validity for this petition is attached and provides a breakdown on the signatures that were deemed invalid.

STATE OF MAINE
OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY OF STATE
DETERMINATION OF THE VALIDITY
OF A PETITION FOR INITIATED LEGISLATION ENTITLED:

"An Act to Allow Video Lottery Terminals"

1.     On September 10, 1999, petitions containing 58,983 signatures were submitted to the Secretary of State pursuant to the Constitution of Maine, Article IV, Part Third, Section 18 on behalf of the initiated legislation entitled, "An Act to Allow Video Lottery Terminals."

2.     Following a review of the petitions I find the following signatures to be invalid for the following reasons:

A. 11,206 are invalid because they were not certified by the registrar as belonging to a registered voter in that municipality.
B. 1,437 signatures are invalid because the notary was not qualified as a notary at the time the oath was made.
C. 1,230 signatures are invalid because they are duplicate signatures already counted.
D. 380 signatures are invalid because the circulators were not registered to vote   in the State of Maine.
E. 214 signatures are invalid because the certification of the registrar was not completed.
F. 172 signatures are invalid because the petitioner dated his or her signature after the date of the circulator's
    oath before the notary.
G. 108 signatures are invalid because the circulator’s verification was incomplete.
H. 31 signatures are invalid because the petition was not in the approved form.
I . 21 signatures are invalid because the registered voter’s signature was made by another.
J. 12 signatures have been determined invalid due to a counting error by the registrar.
 K. 9 signatures are invalid because the notary and circulator were related.
 L.  4 signatures are invalid because of material alterations to the petition.
 M. 2 names are invalid because the petitioners failed to provide a signature.
 3.     For the reasons set forth above, I find that 14,826 signatures are invalid. Petitioners have therefore submitted 44,157 valid signatures. The number of signatures required to determine the petition to be valid is 42,101. Because the number of valid signatures exceeds the required number by 2,056 signatures, I find the petition to be valid.
 
 

Dated: November 16, 1999

______________________________
Dan A. Gwadosky
Secretary of State




November 8, 1999
For Immediate Release
Contact: Dan A. Gwadosky
207-626-8400

Secretary of State Dan A. Gwadosky to Honor
Calais Advertiser for 100 Years of Incorporation

Secretary of State Dan A. Gwadosky will present a certificate of achievement to The Advertiser Publishing Company for attaining 100 years of incorporation. The presentation will take place on Tuesday, November 9, 1999 at approximately 9:00 a.m. at the offices of the Calais Advertiser located at 19 Church Street in Calais. The Advertiser Publishing Company was incorporated in the State of Maine on March 3, 1899.

Eleven corporations are celebrating their centennial anniversary this year. They include Portland Wharf and Land Company, Hebron Water Company, The Bates College Athletic Association, Cumberland County YMCA f/n/a Young Men’s Christian Association, Bangor Fuel Society, Newport Public Library Association, State Mutual Insurance Company, W.A. Wilde Company, Deering Co. and Scarboro Public Library Corporation.

"This is an excellent opportunity to recognize Maine businesses and nonprofit organizations for their longevity," said Secretary Gwadosky. "It takes the efforts of many individuals to keep an organization or corporation active for 100 years."

The Advertiser Publishing Company was established in 1836 and incorporated in 1899. Now know as the Calais Advertiser, the newspaper was purchased by Ferguson Calder in 1985. It is the largest weekly paper in Washington County, serving the Calais, Woodland and Eastport area and with a readership covering as far as Vanceboro, Waite, Talmadge and Eastport.




November 1, 1999
For Immediate Release
Contact: Dan A. Gwadosky
207-626-8400

Secretary Gwadosky to Visit Polling Sites Election Day

Augusta--Secretary of State Dan A. Gwadosky will be visiting a number of polling places on election day, November 2, to greet voters and thank election workers for their dedication in conducting Maine’s elections.

“Each election I challenge the people of Maine to go to the polls and continue Maine’s longstanding tradition of leading the nation in voter turnout,” stated Secretary Gwadosky.  “The issues and decisions facing Maine citizens in referendum elections have far reaching effects.  Decisions will be made on Tuesday that will determine whether or not the state will expend funds in particular areas, amend the state constitution, and adopt new legislation.”

“I also look forward to having the opportunity to meet with some of the many people who work tirelessly at the polls on election day and thanking them for their efforts,” said Secretary Gwadosky.

Secretary Gwadosky is scheduled to visit the following municipalities:
 

 Municipality    Poll Location        Approximate Time
Cape Elizabeth, Cape Elizabeth High School - 9:45 a.m.
Portland,  Ward 4, Precinct 5 - 10:15 a.m.   (Washington Gardens, Veranda Street)
Brunswick,  Wards 2 and 3 - 11:00 a.m.    Brunswick High School
Lewiston,  Ward 6 (Elks Lodge, Lisbon Street) - 1:00 p.m.

Auburn,  Ward 1  (Washburn School, Mt. Auburn Ave.) -  1:30 p.m.

Winthrop,   St. Francis Parish Hall -  2:30 p.m.

Augusta,   Augusta Civic Center  -  3:15 p.m.


Additional polling sites may be added as time permits.




October 29, 1999
For Immediate Release
Contact: Dan A. Gwadosky
207-626-8400

Kickoff Marks Beginning of Census 2000 Planning in Maine

Augusta--Secretary of State Dan A. Gwadosky, Joyce Benson, Senior Planner, and Richard A. Sherwood, Policy Development Specialist from the Maine State Planning Office were joined by Arthur G. Dukakis, Boston Regional Director, U.S. Census Bureau at the Augusta Comfort Inn to kickoff Census 2000 planning for the State of Maine.  Secretary Gwadosky and the State Planning Officials pledged Maine’s support in conducting the Constitutionally mandated head count next spring.  Mr. Dukakis, who oversees all Census 2000 operations in the six New England states, upstate New York and Puerto Rico, announced upcoming plans for Census 2000.

Governor Angus S. King, Jr. declared October 29, 1999 Census Day and Secretary Gwadosky officially presented this proclamation during the kick off activities.  The Census 2000 kickoff coincides with a working meeting of the Maine Census Data Center Program, a network of 37 libraries, planning organizations, university departments, and state government agencies.  The workshop will focus on acquainting network organizations with upcoming Census 2000 data products and enhancing the Program’s service to the public.

Local Census offices have recently opened in Bangor and Portland to implement all Census 2000 operations in Maine.

An accurate and complete Census is important for the nation, the State of Maine and local communities.  On the national and state level population counts from the census are used to reapportion Congressional seats, to determine Congressional districts, and to distribute nearly $100 billion of Federal funds annually.  Locally, census counts are instrumental in providing valuable information for a number of initiatives including forecasting future transportation needs, assessing rural development and planning  and designing public safety strategies.




October 22, 1999
For Immediate Release
Contact: Dan A. Gwadosky
207-626-8400

Federal Immigration Law Repealed
Social Security Number not to be encoded on Driver’s License

Augusta--Recent action taken by the United State’s Congress has eliminated the need to display social security numbers on driver’s licenses.  Specifically, Congress has repealed a portion of the 1996 Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act that required the collection and display of social security numbers on driver’s licenses and state identification cards.

Maine has been complying with this federal law since September 1997 by collecting and verifying social security numbers when anyone applied for or renewed a driver’s license.  The Bureau of Motor Vehicles has been preparing to comply with the additional requirement to display the social security number on the license with the anticipated implementation of the new digital license.  The social security number was to have been encrypted in the 2D bar code on the reverse side of the new license.

“Given the recent, and somewhat unexpected, repeal of the federal law, we believe leaving the social security number off the driver’s license is a prudent step,” said Secretary of State Dan A. Gwadosky.  “We will look to the Legislature for further guidance on this issue.”

With this recent development, the need to display the social security number on the driver’s license in any format is no longer necessary and will no longer be part of the new digital license implementation.  State law, however, continues to require the Bureau to continue to collect and verify the social security number. This verification is intended to ensure the person applying for or renewing a driver’s license is properly identified and reduces the likelihood that anyone will fraudulently obtain this credential.

The recent federal action merely removes the mandate to display the social security number on the license; it does not prohibit states from individually collecting social security numbers and displaying them on the license.  As of 1997, 15 states use the social security number as the driver license number.  Some additional states collect and verify the social security number, but assign a separate driver’s license number.

Current state law also continues to require that the social security number be collected, verified and displayed on state identification cards.  Secretary Gwadosky indicated that he would bring the issue before the Legislature in the next session for guidance on this issue.

Secretary Gwadosky will be available for further comment or interviews on this issue on Saturday, October 23, 1999 from 1:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. at his office in Augusta.




October 1, 1999
For Immediate Release
Contact: Dan A. Gwadosky
207-626-8400

Secretary of State Dan A. Gwadosky to Honor
Bates College Athletic Association for 100 Years of Incorporation

Secretary of State Dan A. Gwadosky will be honoring the Bates College Athletic Association for 100 years of incorporation on Saturday, October 2, 1999 at approximately 1:45 p.m. during the half-time activities of the Bates-Tufts football game.  The Bates College Athletic Association is a nonprofit organization that was incorporated in the State of Maine on June 13, 1899.

Eleven corporations are celebrating their centennial anniversary this year.  They include Portland Wharf and Land Company, Hebron Water Company, The Advertiser Publishing Company, Cumberland County YMCA f/n/a Young Men’s Christian Association, Bangor Fuel Society, Newport Public Library Association, State Mutual Insurance Company, W.A. Wilde Company, Deering Co. and Scarboro Public Library Corporation.

“This is an excellent opportunity to recognize Maine businesses and nonprofit organizations for their longevity,” said Secretary Gwadosky.  “It takes the efforts of many individuals to keep an organization or corporation active for 100 years.”

The Bates College Athletic Association was formally organized in 1880 and incorporated in 1899.  In its early years, the Association sponsored field days and organized competitions with other schools.




September 15, 1999
For Immediate Release
Contact: Dan A. Gwadosky
207-626-8400
 
 

CITIZENSHIP DAY
Friday, September 17, 1999  12:00 p.m.
on the steps of Portland City Hall
Congress Street, Portland
 

Secretary Gwadosky to Encourage Voter Registration at Citizenship Day Celebration

Portland--The second annual "Citizenship Day" will be held on September 17, 1999 to launch a statewide drive to register voters and to educate citizens on the importance of voting.  Organized by the Portland Area League of Women Voters, the ceremony will feature the Portland Sheriff's Department Color Guard, addresses by U.S. District Court Judge D. Brock Hornby and Secretary of State Dan A.  Gwadosky, as well as remarks by Portland Mayor, Nick Mavodones, Portland City Clerk, Laurie Savona and League of Women Voters State President, Sarah Walton.

Secretary Gwadosky will be encouraging the citizens of Maine to make the Citizenship Day celebration an opportunity to visit their local municipal office and register to vote.  Additionally, individuals who have recently moved or had an address or name change may take this opportunity to register in their current municipality or update their records with their municipal clerk or registrar.

“We hope the Citizenship Day celebration will be a reminder to everyone that it is important to register to vote,” said Secretary Gwadosky.  “We also want to remind everyone that there is no better way to have a voice in government than by casting a ballot on November 2.”

League members will be available to register voters. The video "It's Time to Vote" will be shown and the State Street Traditional Jazz Band will perform jazz music.  Residents of all ages are invited to participate, to honor the day and help launch the voter registration drive.




September 23, 1999
Media Advisory
Contact: Dan A. Gwadosky
207-626-8400
 
 

MEDIA ADVISORY
Friday, September 24, 1999 at 12:00 p.m.
Secretary of State to Kick-Off Mall Display
Bangor Mall, Bangor

Secretary of State Dan A. Gwadosky will be at the Bangor Mall on September 24, 1999 at 12:00 p.m. as his department begins a two day visit at that location with a display featuring the new chickadee license plates.  Members of the Maine Legislature from the Greater Bangor area have been invited to attend the opening day activities.

The events at the Bangor Mall will include a spectacular display of all license plates issued by the Bureau of Motor Vehicles since 1905, when car registrations were first implemented; chickadee license plate stickers for young people; and other nostalgic displays of motor vehicle memorabilia.

In addition to the displays, the Secretary of State’s Office will have an information booth at the Bangor Mall on September 24 and 25.  The booth will provide information on how the new plates are being distributed and how individuals may reserve their current license plate number.

Distribution of the chickadee license plates began on July 1, 1999 and will continue for the next year.  The new plates will be available to Maine citizens at the usual time they register their vehicles.




September 3, 1999
For Immediate Release
Contact: Jim Henderson
287-5793; james.henderson@state.me.us

RETURN NORTH YARMOUTH DECLARATION TO TOWN, STATE SAYS

AUGUSTA:  Declaring that the North Yarmouth Print of the Declaration of Independence is “a public historic treasure for the people of North Yarmouth and for all Maine citizens,” Maine State Archivist Jim Henderson today affirmed his intention to return it to public custody.
In a letter to Phillip Isaacson, attorney for the out-of-state collector who seeks to remove the Declaration to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Henderson noted that Isaacson had not made a convincing case that the once public record is now private property.  The letter requests either strong evidence of private ownership or the return of the Print to the Town of North Yarmouth by September 15th.  Both the North Yarmouth Historical Society and the Yarmouth Historical Society have urged the State to recover the Print for the town.
The State says that the Print began as a public record and remains so today, having been kept in North Yarmouth for over 200 years.  While it has no monetary value to the State, the Print is one very important record in a string of other town records retrieved recently, some from towns also formed before statehood.  Ten years ago, in strengthening the retrieval process, the State Legislature anticipated problems in recovering public records, and this year it again reaffirmed its commitment to saving historical records by funding the Communities in the New Century Program.
If the state loses its original public records, Henderson contends, people will lose connections to their rich heritage and students will be denied the opportunity to interpret history by making their own judgments based on reading the original documents.  He noted that the National Archives considers all records created prior to 1861 to be potentially “historical,” the date in England is 1750.
Why are old records valuable?  They are more likely to be rare and thus contain that scant bit of evidence about life in earlier times.  They tend to have “intrinsic value” as an artifact and may be valuable in local exhibits with their curious physical features, seals, types of paper, etc.  They may have artistic or aesthetic value as shown in handwriting, sketches, and other designs.
So, why should the North Yarmouth Print stay in Maine?  One obvious reason is its tangible connection to the past.  Removed from its context, it is a curiosity without meaning.  But when a school child or a local citizen views the Print that was read in his or her hometown one summer 223 year ago, and then marvels at the handwritten record of Town Clerk David Mitchell made that very summer, a whole new perspective emerges.  The American Revolution had come to North Yarmouth that summer!
Why else in Maine?  Because that context is critical to researchers and historians as well.  They can see the place where historical events, chronicled in these records, actually occurred.  They can easily review related records, not only in North Yarmouth, but also in Yarmouth, at the Maine Historical Society in Portland, and the Maine State Archives.
But there is an even more compelling reason: original records are just that - original.  They are the evidence that the copy is true.  With public cynicism at uncomfortable heights, suspect “copies” may be challenged as not representing the contents of the original.
According to the State Archivist, no one disputes that the North Yarmouth Print was created by a government, the Massachusetts Executive Council of 1776, delivered to the Sheriff of Suffolk County, a public official, then delivered to another government, the Town of North Yarmouth.  It obviously served the official public purpose of notifying the citizens that the colonies had declared their independence from England.  Nor is there any dispute that two town officials, the local minister and the town clerk, received this official communication and acted according to its direction: to read it at a public gathering and to record it in the town’s record book.
The minister, Rev. Mr. Tristram Gilman, was supported by local taxes and held services in the same building that was used for town meetings.  After Town Clerk David Mitchell recorded the contents of the communication in his record book, he maintained possession of it for several months before making another partial entry in his book.  At no time did the Town of North Yarmouth vote to give or sell this historic public record to anyone else.
“I firmly believe,” Henderson said, “that this Print has been in the possession of the Town of North Yarmouth, sometimes through the efforts of its trusted private citizens, ever since 1776.”  Public records have been maintained in homes in most Maine towns until very recently, especially since Clerks working without office space obviously kept their records nearby.  They did not, however, become private property for that reason.
“The very fabric of small town life relies on public-spirited people like Nellie Leighton, in whose home the Print was recently found, to care for community records,” he observed.  “As an active member of the North Yarmouth Historical Society, and brother of a former North Yarmouth town clerk, Mrs. Leighton was passionately committed to preserving her community's heritage.”
"While it may have been temporarily misplaced, I can’t imagine that she would not have delivered it to the Town Office or to the Historical Society as she had done before with other town records," he said.  "Let us be clear.  This is not an item that was sold or given away hundreds of years ago, nor was it hundreds of miles away carefully concealed by an investor with an eye to making a profit.  It was held in the community, for the community, by the community residents, including Nellie Leighton."
The State of Maine is not concerned about the monetary value put on the North Yarmouth Print.  In fact, the law does not allow the town or the State to sell it and thereby make a profit.  Nor, is this Print singled out for special treatment because of its notoriety.
The Legislature in 1989 strengthened the process by which Maine citizens could assert ownership of their own public records, anticipating the current controversy.  The bill's Statement of Fact stated
Recent losses of historical documents from the National Archives and the Library of Congress have underscored the need for security and legal protection for the records of the United States.  In this State, public documents have been found "on the auction block" after having been in private hands for many years.
In all of these cases, the State's right to maintain its public documents have been put at risk.  In addition to security, which is primarily an administrative responsibility, appropriate legal provisions must be in place to ensure the clear authority of the State over its records, to ease the recovery process, and to discourage those who would seek to profit by the unauthorized possession of these records.

In recent years the Archives has successfully negotiated the return of records separated from Maine communities: the Aroostook town of Littleton (1995); the former Milton Plantation in Oxford County (1996); the deorganized Somerset County plantation of Concord (1996); the towns of Vienna and Mount Vernon (1997); and Phippsburg in Sagadahoc County (1999).
In each case, modest 19th century records -- such as tax bills, clerk’s records, Justice of the Peace dockets, school assessments – were recovered in large part based on the good will of Maine citizens and the strength of the law protecting public records.  As was North Yarmouth, Mount Vernon (1792), Vienna (1802), and Phippsburg (1814) were all incorporated as Massachusetts towns before Maine statehood in 1820.
A dealer in rare manuscripts freely returned the Littleton records when they were identified as public property.  In a letter to Mr. Stuart Martin in 1996, Henderson wrote
 Please consider this a receipt for the Milton Plantation records I received from you on July 5th.  I appreciate your cooperation in returning these records to the public arena.
 You have done a great service to your area and to the state by rescuing these records from doom on the dump!  I realize you have cared for them for many years and had donated them to the Rumford Point Congregational Church for their auction.

"The hysterical reports from some observers to the contrary, the Archives asserts no legal claim to private historical records,” Henderson noted.  “A private copy of the Declaration of Independence was sold very recently for a handsome sum, as have other private materials at various auction and rare document dealers this summer.  We are very concerned that Maine’s history and heritage is weakened by some of these sales, but the preferred approach lies in increasing public awareness, and in strengthening historical societies and museums across the state to become even better stewards of our past."
To facilitate this approach, the Legislature, in a forward-looking initiative earlier this year, created the Maine Communities in the New Century Program to promote the preservation and interpretation of our culture and heritage.  The Archives, in close cooperation with the Maine State Museum, is actively participating in this initiative by offering technical assistance and grants to community organizations seeking to protect their historical records.  The New Century Program was co-sponsored by Speaker of the House Steve Rowe and President of the Senate Mark Lawrence, indicating the State’s concern about these issues.
Coincidentally, in two weeks a group of teachers and representatives of historical societies, museums and archives will meet at the Maine Historical Society in Portland to map plans for an expanded Maine History Day program.  The program is based on a national model created by history teachers to encourage students to think critically about the past by researching original records and not by relying solely on bland textbook accounts.
The attorney for the out-of-state bidder has until September 15th to reply to the State's request to return the North Yarmouth Print of the Declaration of Independence or provide new, convincing evidence why it should not be returned to the town.

In 1998, Henderson outlined the importance of original historical records in a letter to the Attorney General’s Office:

 This is in response to the question you posed regarding whether the Town of Phippsburg tax bills are “official government records,” and subject to replevin under Maine law.  My answer is, “Yes.”
 They are clearly records as defined in the statute as “all documentary material, regardless of media or characteristics, made or received and maintained by an agency in accordance with law or rule or in the transaction of its official business.”
 Undoubtedly some may say they are “only” old tax bills.  However, consider these points:

  • First, these records are approximately 150 years old and date from when Maine was a State for only thirty years.
  • Second, they may be the ONLY tax bills in existence for Phippsburg in that period.
  • Third, these records date from the first thirty years of Phippsburg’s incorporation as a town.
  • Fourth, they date from a period in which 200 of Maine’s cities and towns had yet to be incorporated and represent a small surviving example of early practices and forms.
  • Fifth, they refer to certain residents and, I assume, their property which will have value for those researching local history not only in Phippsburg, but in the local region.
  • Sixth, in concert with other records (contemporary, earlier, and later), researchers may be able to note patterns in taxation, land ownership, business development and other topics not easily anticipated.
 While not conceding for a moment that more recent government records may be held outside government authority, it is worth noting that several countries have designated all records created before a certain date to be of historic value.  While in olde England that date is 1750, in France it is 1830, and in Italy, 1861.  The U.S. National Archives has designated 1861, the beginning of the Civil War, as its rule of thumb.

 In Maine, new state mandated recordkeeping requirements for towns began in 1892 and the complete 1890 U.S. Census for the state was later destroyed, leaving a gap in our knowledge of that period.  For those and related reasons, all local government records prior to 1900 should be given a presumption of historical value.

 Why are old records likely to be valuable?  First, they are more likely to be rare and thus contain that scant bit of evidence about life in earlier times.  Second, they tend to have “intrinsic value” as an artifact.  They may be valuable in exhibits (of early Phippsburg history); they may have curious physical features, seals, types of paper, coloration, watermarks, etc.; they may have artistic or aesthetic value as shown in the handwriting, sketches, and other designs that may appear on them.




September 2, 1999
For Immediate Release
Contact: Dan A. Gwadosky
207-626-8400

New Driver’s License Design Unveiled by Secretary Gwadosky
Transition to Digital License will Begin in October

Augusta--Secretary of State Dan A. Gwadosky unveiled Maine’s new digital license today with a state of the art Internet flash presentation.  Beginning in October, Maine drivers will be receiving a license with a new look and produced with advanced digital technology.  Secretary Gwadosky indicated that the new digital license and the flash presentation are representative of his Department’s commitment to utilizing new advances in technology that will improve the services available to Maine citizens.

“I am very excited about this new digital license and the benefits it will bring to the people of Maine,” said Secretary Gwadosky.  “The digital technology will provide a more attractive, higher quality driver’s license that has improved security features.”

“This Department is committed to implementing technological advances that will improve the services available to the public.  This is the first of many innovations we plan to introduce over the next year,” stated Secretary Gwadosky.

Digital license technology allows for a photographic image to be taken by video camera and computer.  The image is stored electronically, thereby allowing for a choice of two photographs.  The stored image will also make duplicate license requests more convenient by eliminating the need to appear at the branch office for a new photograph.  Duplicates may be requested and received by mail with this new technology.  Additionally, the digital technology allows for a number of security features to be included that help make the card virtually tamper-proof.

This same technology and process will be used for the state identification cards.  The fees for the ID card and the license will remain the same--$5.00 for an ID card and $30 for a six year license.  The new license will be phased in beginning in October.  Maine drivers will have their license replaced with the new digital license at their usual time of renewal.

While the new license will have the advantages of improved technology, it will also have a new look.  The plastic tamper-proof card will sport a new logo with a colorful sunrise scene at the top of the license that declares to all that Maine is the eastern most spot in the United States by proclaiming “Maine--Where America’s Day Begins.”  The scene represents Maine’s long-standing heritage with the forest and sea, and depicts the work ethic of Maine’s people with a lobster boat beginning its day as the first dawn breaks.

Information on the new digital license has been included in the renewal notices that are being mailed to those drivers whose licenses expire in October 1999.  The Internet presentation and information on the new digital license are available on the Secretary of State’s web site www.state.me.us/sos.  Anyone with questions may also contact the Bureau of Motor Vehicles, Driver License Services Division at 624-9000, Ext. 5-2114.




August 31, 1999
Contact: Dan A. Gwadosky
207-626-8400

MEDIA ADVISORY

Press Conference
Thursday, September 2, 1999 at 12:00 p.m.
Location:  Office of the Secretary of State
Nash School, Corner of Sewall and Capital Streets

Secretary of State to Unveil Design for New Digital Driver’s License

Secretary of State Dan A. Gwadosky will hold a press conference on Thursday, September 2, 1999 at 12:00 p.m. to unveil the new design for the digital license that Maine drivers will begin receiving this October.  This will be the public’s first glimpse of the new license design.  A state of the art Internet slide presentation during Monday’s program will introduce the new license and Secretary Gwadosky’s commitment to advancing new technology throughout his Department.

The digital license will have a new look and will open the door to new customer benefits.  A digital license is produced with computer technology that allows for your image to be captured digitally and displayed on the license.  This same process will be used to issue state identification cards.

This new technology will be phased into all motor vehicle branch offices and renewal agent locations throughout October.  Maine has over 800,000 licensed drivers and renews licenses through a staggered renewal cycle.  Therefore, it will take 6 years to completely replace all Maine driver’s licenses.




August 13, 1999
For Immediate Release
Contact: Jim Henderson
207-287-5793

Maine State Archives to Renovate Records Storage Area

The Maine State Archives will begin renovations in its records storage area in anticipation of new shelving to be installed in the coming weeks. The Archives will be removing standard shelving and replacing it with high-density mobile compact shelving.  The mobile shelving units will increase the storage space to the archives staff and state agencies for record retention.

While renovating this storage area, an asbestos management project will be conducted. The current shelving and lighting is attached to the ceiling, which, in the storage areas, contains asbestos.  The clean up is anticipated to take 3 to 4 weeks.

During the cleanup period, ninety million government records held by the Maine State Archives in Augusta will be temporarily inaccessible.  While the actual document may not be available, a substantial number of these records have been microfilmed and will be available in this format.  Additionally, the public will continue to have full access to hundreds of microfilms containing information on births, deaths, marriages and census records.  Databases indexing the Archives’ collection of maps, photographs, early legislation and court records will be available for use, though the actual records will not be available during this period.

A large number of marriage and death records are accessible via the Internet at www.state.me.us/sos/arc/general/admin/arcserv.htm.  Other general information about the Archives and related institutions may be found at www.state.me.us/sos/arc/general/admin/mawww001.htm.

The 120 million State agency records held at the State Records Center in Hallowell are not affected by this cleanup and will continue to be available to the State agencies that own them.

The Maine State Archives is a Bureau within the Department of the Secretary of State and is charged with managing the creation, use, maintenance, retention, preservation and disposal of State records.  The Archives also provides centralized storage and retrieval facilities for records that must be temporarily retained, but which do not need to be maintained in high cost office space.




July 27, 1999
For Immediate Release
Contact: Dan A. Gwadosky
207-626-8400

Secretary Gwadosky Suspends Benton Woman’s License, Pending Evaluation

Augusta—Secretary of State Dan A. Gwadosky has suspended Marie Wyman’s driver’s license effective immediately, pending an evaluation of her driving ability.  The evaluation will be based, in part, upon a driving test and medical report. This action is being taken based upon an adverse driving report filed by the Winslow Police Department with Secretary Gwadosky’s department.  Mrs. Wyman was involved in a motor vehicle crash at the Lobster Trap Restaurant in Winslow on Sunday.

“I spoke with Mrs. Wyman personally to explain our evaluation process,” said Secretary Gwadosky.  “Once this has been completed, we will make a final determination regarding her continued ability to drive.  We want to ensure her safety and the safety of others on Maine’s roadways.”

“Maine is a very rural state with few alternative means of transportation,” stated Secretary Gwadosky.  “The ability to drive is directly related to a person’s independence.  Therefore, it is important to deal with these situations on a case by case basis and to have options available based upon a person’s ability.”

Secretary Gwadosky indicated that there are several options available to his department depending upon the results of a particular evaluation.  These include revoking an individual’s license; placing restrictions on the person’s license, such as no night driving; requiring the individual to complete a defensive driving class.

The Department of the Secretary of State, through the Bureau of Motor Vehicles has the authority, by law, to evaluate the performance of all drivers in the following circumstances:

  • an individual is involved in 3 or more accidents in 3 years;
  • an accumulation of demerit points on a driver’s license;
  • an adverse driving report is filed by a law enforcement official;
  • any changes in an individual’s medical or physical condition, as noted by a physician;
  • the Secretary of State has good cause to believe that a person is not qualified to be licensed.
Secretary Gwadosky noted that many times family members have difficulty dealing with this issue and they contact his office to ask for assistance in evaluating a loved one’s ability to drive.  The Bureau of Motor Vehicles also reviews these requests.

The evaluation and a final determination regarding Mrs. Wyman’s license should be completed within the next few weeks.




July 7, 1999
For immediate release
Contact:   Dan Gwadosky
(207) 626-8400

Secretary Gwadosky sets order of ballot questions
Drawing held this morning to determine question placement

AUGUSTA--Secretary of State Dan A. Gwadosky conducted a public drawing this morning to determine the order of the nine questions scheduled to appear on the November 2, 1999 ballot.  Secretary Gwadosky held the lottery at 11:00 a.m. Wednesday, July 7, 1999 in his office in the Nash School Building in Augusta.  The drawing for ballot position is required by Maine law.

Maine law also requires the questions to be organized on the ballot by category as follows: people’s veto questions are first, then citizen initiatives, followed by bond questions, then constitutional amendments and finally referendum questions.  There are no people’s vetoes or referendum questions scheduled to appear on the ballot.

The questions will appear on the November 2, 1999 ballot in the following order:

CITIZEN INITIATIVES:

Question 1 Do you want to ban a specific abortion procedure to be defined in law, except in cases where the life of the mother is in danger?

Question 2 Do you want to allow patients with specific illnesses to grow and use small amounts of marijuana for treatment, as long as such use is approved by a doctor?

BOND ISSUES:

Question 3 (P&S 37)  Do you favor a $56,042,031 bond issue for improvements to highways and bridges, airports and state-owned ferry facilities; development of rail corridors and marine infrastructure; and replacement of public transportation fleets statewide that makes the State eligible for up to $112,000,000 in matching federal funds?

Question 4 (P&S 60)  Do you favor a $12,500,000 bond issue for the following purposes:
(1) $7,000,000 to construct water pollution control facilities, providing the state match for $12,500,000 in federal funds;
(2) $2,500,000 to protect the State’s drinking water resources by granting funds to cities and towns for the closure and cleanup of their solid waste landfills;
(3) $500,000 to protect the public health, safety and the environment by providing funds for the cleanup of tire stockpiles;
(4) $1,000,000 to abate, clean up and mitigate threats to the public health and environment from uncontrolled hazardous substance sites or other hazardous waste discharges; and
(5) $1,500,000 to construct drinking water system improvements that address public health threats, providing the state match for $7,500,000 in federal funds.

Question 5 (P&S 57)  Do you favor a $9,400,000 bond issue for the conversion to digital broadcasting by the Maine Public Broadcasting Corporation?

Question 6 (P&S 40)  Do you favor a $26,420,000 bond issue for infrastructure improvements at Maine’s 7 technical colleges that must be matched by at least $7,000,000 of private or in-kind donations?

Question 7 (P.L. 514)  Do you favor a $50,000,000 bond issue to purchase public lands and easements statewide from willing sellers for conservation, water access, outdoor recreation, including hunting and fishing, wildlife and fish habitat and farmland preservation, to be matched by $25,000,000 in private and public contributions?

CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENTS:

Question 8 Do you favor amending the Constitution of Maine to require that a petition for a people’s veto be voted on at the next statewide or general election, rather than at a special election?

Question 9 Do you favor amending the Constitution of Maine to allow for reduced property taxes on property that will be maintained for historic preservation or for scenic views of significant vistas?




July 1, 1999
For Immediate Release
Contact:  Dan A. Gwadosky
(207) 626-8400

Chickadee License Plate Distribution Begins Today

South Portland -- Secretary of State Dan A. Gwadosky announced that the chickadee license plates make their debut on Maine’s roadways today.  A celebration and brief ceremony was held today at the Maine Mall with several members of the Maine Legislature in attendance.  Secretary Gwadosky ceremoniously “retired” the lobster license plate into a lobster pot and then displayed the new chickadee license plate for all in attendance.

Secretary Gwadosky also unveiled an unprecedented display containing all Maine license plates issued by the Bureau of Motor Vehicles since 1905 when vehicle registrations were first implemented.

“We are very excited about this new license plate,” said Secretary Gwadosky.  “I think the people of Maine will also be pleased with its unique design.  The lobster has served us well over the last 12 years, however it is now time for our state bird to represent us as Maine vehicles travel across this state and the country.”

The new Maine license plate features a chickadee on the left-hand side of the plate perched on a white pinecone and tassel, the state flower.

Over the next year, chickadee license plates will be replacing the lobster license plates.  There is no additional charge for the license plate, unless an individual wishes to keep their current vanity plate or number designation.  The fee to reserve a current plate number is $15.00.  The annual registration fee and excise tax must be paid in all instances at the time of registration.

The chickadee plate will be phased in over the next year and will be available at the normal time of vehicle registration beginning with the July 1999 registrations.  Over 900,000 pairs of license plates will be replaced when this project is completed.

“Replacing this number of license plates is a tremendous undertaking, and it could not be completed without the dedication of the employees at the Bureau of Motor Vehicles,” continued Secretary Gwadosky.

The celebration at the Maine Mall will continue through Friday, July 2, 1999 and Maine citizens are invited to stop by the Bureau of Motor Vehicle booth located in the Garden Court of the Maine Mall to find out more about the new chickadee plate and the registration process.  Additionally, several nostalgic displays will be available for viewing, along with stickers and other items for young people.

The license plate replacement was approved by the Legislature during the 1997 session.  A task force was established by the Legislature to consider designs for the new general issue license plate.  This task force, which included legislators, Bureau of Motor Vehicle personnel, and law enforcement officials, considered possible designs and recommended the chickadee design that was approved by the Legislature.

The lobster license plate was issued in 1987.  Prior to that date, Maine had a white plate with black lettering from 1974 to 1987 and a yellow plate with black lettering from 1968 to 1974.

The following license plates will not be replaced by the chickadee design:  conservation (loon), University of Maine System (UMS), veteran, purple heart, trailer, prisoner of war, apportioned and motorcycle/moped.

For additional information contact the Bureau of Motor Vehicles a 624-9000, ext. 52164.




June 30, 1999
For Immediate Release
Contact:    Dan A. Gwadosky
(207) 626-8400

MEDIA ADVISORY
Press Conference
Thursday, July 1, 1999 at 12:00 p.m.
Location:  Garden Court
Maine Mall, South Portland

Lobster License Plate to be “Retired”

Augusta – Secretary of State Dan A. Gwadosky will be holding a press conference on July 1, 1999 at 12:00 noon in the Garden Court at the Maine Mall to announce that the chickadee license plates begin to make their debut and take flight on Maine’s roadways.  Over the next year, chickadee license plates will be replacing the lobster license plates and motorists will receive their new license plates when they register their vehicle.

Secretary Gwadosky will be joined by members of the Maine Legislature in celebrating the new chickadee plate and “retiring” the old lobster plate in a ceremonial “lobster pot.”  The events at the Maine Mall will include a spectacular display of all license plates issued by the Bureau of Motor Vehicles since 1905, when car registrations were first implemented; chickadee license plate stickers for young people; and other nostalgic displays of motor vehicle memorabilia.

The Bureau of Motor Vehicles will have a booth at the Mall on July 1 and 2 to provide information on the new license plate and the registration process.  The license plate display will also be available for view during this time period.




June 24, 1999
For Immediate Release
Contact: Dan A. Gwadosky
207-626-8400

New License Plate to Identify Firefighters

Augusta--Secretary of State Dan A. Gwadosky announced today that the Bureau of Motor Vehicles would begin issuing new license plates to qualifying firefighters.  The new license plate displays a red Maltese cross to the left of the registration number.   The Maltese cross is an internationally recognized symbol for firefighters.  Previously the license plates have indicated firefighter status with an “FF” designation after the registration number.

“We are pleased to have worked with the representatives of several fire departments to make this new license plate a reality,” said Secretary Gwadosky.  “It is our desire that the Maltese cross design will clearly identify firefighters.”

A number of firefighters, including the Vice President of the Maine Federation of Firefighters, Steve Boucouvalas, joined Secretary Gwadosky at the Firefighters Memorial located near the State House in Augusta to unveil the new license plates.  Several members of the Maine Legislature were in also in attendance, including State Senator William O’Gara (Cumberland), State Senator James Libby (York), State Senator Marge Kilkelly (Lincoln), and State Representative Kenneth Honey (Boothbay).

The new firefighter plates will be phased in beginning on July 1, 1999 and will be available to those qualifying individuals at the time of their vehicle’s normal registration date.  This process will continue through June 30, 2000.

Maine law allows for the special plate designation to be provided to active firefighters whose status is certified by their fire chief.  Over 3000 firefighter plates are currently issued to qualifying firefighters.

The new firefighter license plate distribution will coincide with the new general plate distribution.  Over the next year, the current lobster plate will be replaced with the chickadee plate when Maine citizens register their vehicles.  Additional information on the chickadee plates will be available July 1, 1999.




May 11, 1999
For Immediate Release
Contact: Dan A. Gwadosky
207-626-8400

Winners of Maine Constitution Essay and Poster Contest
to View Original Maine Constitution

Augusta--Secretary of State Dan A. Gwadosky announced the winning students of a Maine Constitution Poster and Essay Contest.  In an effort to promote an awareness of Maine history and the importance of democracy and voting, Secretary Gwadosky sponsored the contest this Spring.  Secretary Gwadosky received over 800 posters and over 150 essays in response to the contest.

The winners in each of the categories are as follows:

Posters
Grades K-3 Maine Symbols; Julia K. Schmidt, Kennebunkport Consolidated School
Grades 4-5 Maine History; Michael Burns, Windsor Elementary School

Essays
Grades 6-8 Maine Constitution; Emily VanDam,  Columbia Falls Elementary School
Grades 9-12 Voting and Democracy; Amanda Jane Keef,  Bonny Eagle High School

The winners of the contest receive a $100 savings bond and have been invited by Secretary Gwadosky to visit Augusta and the Capital Complex and to view the original Maine Constitution with the members of their class.

“The response to this program has been tremendous this year.  It was very difficult to select winners from the many fine essays and imaginative posters,” stated Secretary Gwadosky.

Invitations to participate were mailed to all Maine schools. Students could participate in one of four categories based upon grade level.  Students in Kindergarten to Grade 3 could draw a poster on the symbols of Maine (chickadee, pine tree, state seal, etc.).  Grades 4 and 5 were asked to draw a poster pertaining to Maine History.  Students in grades 6 to 8 could submit an essay on the Maine Constitution, while grades 9 to 12 were given the topic “the Importance of Voting and Democracy.”

“This program is a great way to get younger students to start thinking about their state and its history, while encouraging older students to examine the nature of self governance and the importance of having a voice in that governance” said Secretary Gwadosky.  “The trip to Augusta helps to reinforce these themes.”

The winners and their classmates have visits to Augusta scheduled for the following dates:

  May   3, 1999  Columbia Falls Elementary School
  May 11, 1999  Windsor Elementary School
  May 19, 1999  Bonny Eagle High School
  June  2, 1999  Kennebunkport Consolidated School

The contest judges included Secretary Gwadosky, State Senator Beverly Daggett (Kennebec County), State Senator Carol Kontos (Cumberland County), Representative Randall Bumps (China), Representative Julie O’Brien (Augusta), Representative Arthur Mayo (Bath), Representative Joseph Brooks (Winterport), Julie Flynn, Deputy Secretary of State for the Bureau of Corporations, Elections and Commissions and Sylvia Sherman, Director of Archive Services, Maine State Archives.

The winning posters and essays may be viewed at the Maine State Archives in Augusta, or over the Internet on the Secretary of State’s home page (www.state.me.us/sos/sos.htm).  Additionally, the poster entries from the various schools have been distributed to the local Bureau of Motor Vehicles branch offices and will be on display through the month of May.




April 9, 1999
For Immediate Release
Contact: Dan A. Gwadosky
207-626-8400

Bureau of Motor Vehicles to Implement New Telephone System
New Phone Number Part of Change

AUGUSTA--Secretary of State Dan A. Gwadosky announced today that beginning April 12, 1999, the Bureau of Motor Vehicles will be implementing a new telephone system.  With this new telephone system the main office in Augusta will obtain new telephone numbers. This new system is intended to provide improved customer service by more effectively routing telephone calls.  The Bureau of Motor Vehicles will have one main number (624-9000) from which specific divisions and sections may be reached through an assigned extension number. These changes will not affect the telephone numbers for the 13 branch offices located throughout the state.

Anyone dialing the old main number, or any other Bureau number, will receive a recorded message providing them with the new number to call.




February 22, 1999
For Immediate Release
Contact: Dan A. Gwadosky
207-626-8400

Secretary Gwadosky Rules Petitioners Obtained Sufficient Signatures to
Place Referendum on November 1999 Ballot

AUGUSTA--Today, Secretary of State Dan Gwadosky announced that an effort to ban a certain abortion procedure has
submitted sufficient signatures to qualify for the November 1999 ballot. A total of 82,372 signatures were found valid by the
Secretary of State.

"Our portion of this process is completed," said Secretary Gwadosky. "The result will now be referred to the Maine Legislature
which has the option of enacting the legislation as written or submitting it to a vote by the citizens of Maine."

This is the second and final citizen’s initiative that has been validated by the Secretary of State’s Office for the November 1999
ballot and submitted to the Legislature for consideration. On December 23, 1998, Secretary Gwadosky ruled that sufficient
signatures had been filed by Mainer's for Medical Rights, a group seeking to legalize marijuana for medical purposes.

If the question is placed on the November ballot, it will read as follows:

"Do you want to ban a specific abortion procedure to be defined in law, except in cases where the life of the mother
is in danger?"
 

Summary of Signatures Determined Valid/Invalid
 
Initially submitted 91,113

Excluded by local officials 4,428

Excluded by the Secretary of State 4,313

Total valid signatures 82,372

Total needed for approval 42,101


The direct initiative process is set forth in the Maine Constitution and allows citizens to propose bills for consideration by the
Legislature through the petition process. Petitioners seeking to utilize this democratic process must collect signatures of Maine
voters that represent 10% of the total number of votes cast in the last gubernatorial election. Currently, this figure is 42,101.




February 19, 1999
For Immediate Release
Contact: Dan A. Gwadosky
207-626-8400

MEDIA ADVISORY

Secretary Gwadosky to Rule on Validity of Petition

PRESS CONFERENCE
Scheduled for Monday, February 22, 1999 at 10:30 a.m.
Office of the Secretary of State
Nash School Building
Corner of Sewall and Capital Streets

Secretary of State Dan A. Gwadosky will hold a press conference on Monday, February 22, 1999 at 10:30 a.m. to announce the result of the petition drive conducted by a group seeking to ban certain abortion procedures.  The press conference will be held at the Office of the Secretary of State located in the Nash School Building on the corner of Sewall and Capitol Streets.

If successful, the petition results will be referred to the Maine Legislature which may enact the proposed legislation without change, or submit the issue to Maine voters.  If it is submitted for a vote, the following question will appear on the November 1999 ballot:

"Do you want to ban a specific abortion procedure to be defined in law, except in cases where the life of the mother is in danger?”

For the petition to be successful in placing the issue on the ballot, 42,101 signatures of registered Maine voters needed to be collected.  This represents 10% of the total number of votes cast in the last gubernatorial election, as required by the Maine Constitution.  Secretary Gwadosky will issue his ruling on the petition drive at 10:30 a.m.




February 2, 1999
For Immediate Release
Contact: Dan A. Gwadosky
207-626-8400

Secretary Gwadosky Expands Conservation License Plate Program

AUGUSTA--Secretary of State Dan A. Gwadosky announced today that the Conservation license plate design, commonly referred to as the "Loon Plate," will be expanded to allow classifications for commercial, disability, motor home and trailer license plates.  Previously, Loon plates were only available for passenger vehicles.

"We have received many requests from individuals wanting to display the Loon plate on their trailer, commercial vehicle or motor home.  Additionally, many people have expressed a desire to have a choice of the Loon design for the disability plate," Secretary Gwadosky said.  "I'm happy to announce today that these plates are now available."

As of today, the specialty Loon plate will be available for those vehicles that qualify as commercial, motor home, and trailer.  A disability plate will also be available with the Loon design.  In order to obtain these license plates, all other qualifications for the specific license plate classification must be met by the applicant.

These plates are currently available at Bureau of Motor Vehicle branch offices across the state.  Vanity plates (up to four characters for disability plates and five characters for all others) may be requested for any of the classifications.  The initial $20.00 fee for the Loon specialty plate in these classifications is the same as for a passenger vehicle.  The renewal fee for these plates is $15.00, thereafter.  Vanity plates require an additional $15.00 annual fee.  Some municipalities will also have these plates available.  For more specific information regarding availability at municipalities contact the Bureau of Motor Vehicle at 287-9002.

As with the passenger Loon plate series, $14.00 of the initial and renewal fees associated with these license plates goes directed to the Department of Conservation and the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.  As required by statute, the Department of Conservation's Bureau of Parks and Lands receives 60% (or $8.40) and the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife receives 40% (or $5.60) from each initial registration and renewal.




January 26, 1999
For Immediate Release
Contact: Dan A. Gwadosky
207-626-8400

License Plate Reservation Process Continues
Vehicle owners reminded to advise Bureau of change of address

Augusta--Efforts to prepare for the new chickadee license plate continue at the Bureau of  Motor Vehicles (BMV).  Vehicle owners wanting to keep their current license plate number when the new chickadee plates are distributed still have time to reserve their number.  Distribution begins July 1, 1999. The reservation process has highlighted, however, the fact that many people have not been notifying the BMV of their change of address when moving or being assigned a new address because of E-911 efforts.

"The reservation process has been moving very smoothly and over 62,000 people have reserved their current plate number thus far," stated Secretary Gwadosky.  "However, through the reservation process, we have determined that many people have not updated their addresses at BMV after moving," continued Gwadosky.  "I realize it is most difficult to remember this requirement when assigned a new address for E-911 purposes.  We are taking this opportunity to remind Maine motorist of the requirement to update their address with our office when it changes for any reason."

A reservation system has been established by BMV to allow Maine motorists who want to retain their current plate number when the new license plate design is distributed.  Anyone who wants to reserve their current plate number may pick up a form at any motor vehicle branch office and municipal offices that process motor vehicle registrations.  A $15.00 fee is required and a copy of your current registration  must be included with the reservation form.  The statutory fee is intended to cover the cost of producing and  handling the plate out of sequence.  In the case of vanity plate holders, the $15.00 reservation fee will be credited towards the next renewal of their plates.

Anyone who does not wish to reserve their current plate number will be issued a chickadee plate bearing the next available number at no additional charge.  It is estimated that over 90% of motor vehicle registrants will opt to receive a chickadee plate with the next available number and will incur no additional charge for the new plates.  When the new general plate issue is completed, over 900,000 pairs of license plates will have been replaced with the chickadee design.

The license plate replacement was approved by the Legislature during the 1997 session.  A task force was established by the Legislature to consider designs for the new general issue license plate.  This task force, which included legislators, BMVrepresentatives and law enforcement officials, considered a number of designs and recommended the chickadee design, that was approved by the Legislature.

The following license plates will not be replaced by the chickadee design:  conservation plates (loon), University of Maine System (UMS), veteran, purple heart, trailer, prisoner of war, apportioned, and motorcycle/moped.

Anyone with questions regarding the reservation program or the new chickadee design plate should contact the Bureau of Motor Vehicles at 287-9002 or visit our home page at www.state.me.us/sos/sos.htm
 

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