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maine house overwhelmingly backs ‘right to food’ measure that may go before voters

Posted: June 4 2021


by Caitlin Andrews

AUGUSTA, Maine — The Maine House of Representatives overwhelmingly voted on Tuesday for a proposed amendment to the state Constitution providing “a natural, inherent and unalienable right to food” in a move that could lead to a referendum on the question.

The bipartisan bill from Rep. Billy Bob Faulkingham, R-Winter Harbor, would protect Mainers’ rights to collect food as long as they do not trespass or steal from another or abuse public lands or natural resources. The exact effect of the bill is unclear. Maine’s agriculture department was neutral on the bill but noted it would be likely subject to court interpretation

The idea has been floated in prior bills before, most recently from Sen. Craig Hickman, D-Winthrop, and has a wide array of sponsors, including House Majority Leader Michelle Dunphy, D-Old Town. An amended version was backed in a 104-41 House vote, easily clearing the two-thirds threshold eventually needed in both chambers to send it to Maine voters. It goes to the Senate.