Maine Tissue Repair and Regeneration Laboratory Bond Issue, Question 5 (2014)

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Question 5
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Type:Bond issue
Referred by:Maine Legislature
Topic:Bonds
Status:Approved Approveda
2014 measures
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November 4
Question 1 Defeatedd
Question 2 Approveda
Question 3 Approveda
Question 4 Approveda
Question 5 Approveda
Question 6 Approveda
Question 7 Approveda
Polls
Expenditures
Local measures
The Maine Tissue Repair and Regeneration Laboratory Bond Issue, Question 5 was on the November 4, 2014 ballot in Maine as a legislatively-referred bond question, where it was narrowly approved. The measure issued $3 million in bonds to modernize and expand laboratory specializing in tissue repair and regeneration.[1]

Election results

Below are the official, certified election results:

 Maine Question 5
ResultVotesPercentage
Approveda Yes 297,008 51.15%
No283,63248.85%

Election results via: Maine Bureau of Corporations, Elections and Commissions

Text of measure

Ballot title

The language appeared on the ballot as:[1]

Question 5: Bond Issue

Do you favor a $3,000,000 bond issue, to be awarded through a competitive process and to be matched by $5,700,000 in private and public funds, to modernize and expand infrastructure in a biological laboratory specializing in tissue repair and regeneration located in the State in order to increase biotechnology workforce training, retain and recruit to the State multiple biomedical research and development groups and create a drug discovery and development facility that will improve human health and stimulate biotechnology job growth and economic activity?[2]

Text of legislation

The full text of the legislation that referred this measure to the ballot was as follows:[3]

An Act To Authorize a General Fund Bond Issue To Support Human Health Research in Maine

Preamble. Two thirds of both Houses of the Legislature deeming it necessary in accordance with the Constitution of Maine, Article IX, Section 14 to authorize the issuance of bonds on behalf of the State of Maine to provide funds as described in this Act,

Be it enacted by the People of the State of Maine as follows:

Sec. 1. Authorization of bonds. The Treasurer of State is authorized, under the direction of the Governor, to issue bonds in the name and on behalf of the State in an amount not exceeding $3,000,000 for the purposes described in section 5 of this Act. The bonds are a pledge of the full faith and credit of the State. The bonds may not run for a period longer than 10 years from the date of the original issue of the bonds.

Sec. 2. Records of bonds issued; Treasurer of State. The Treasurer of State shall ensure that an account of each bond is kept showing the number of the bond, the name of the successful bidder to whom sold, the amount received for the bond, the date of sale and the date when payable.

Sec. 3. Sale; how negotiated; proceeds appropriated. The Treasurer of State may negotiate the sale of the bonds by direction of the Governor, but no bond may be loaned, pledged or hypothecated on behalf of the State. The proceeds of the sale of the bonds, which must be held by the Treasurer of State and paid by the Treasurer of State upon warrants drawn by the State Controller, are appropriated solely for the purposes set forth in this Act. Any unencumbered balances remaining at the completion of the project in this Act lapse to the Office of the Treasurer of State to be used for the retirement of general obligation bonds.

Sec. 4. Interest and debt retirement. The Treasurer of State shall pay interest due or accruing on any bonds issued under this Act and all sums coming due for payment of bonds at maturity.

Sec. 5. Disbursement of bond proceeds from General Fund bond issue. The proceeds of the sale of the bonds authorized under this Act must be expended as designated in the following schedule under the direction and supervision of the agencies and entities set forth in this section.

ECONOMIC AND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT, DEPARTMENT OF

Maine Technology Institute

Provides funds, to be awarded through a competitive process to institutions that, as of the effective date of this Act, have been designated as Centers of Biomedical Research Excellence by the United States Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, National Institute of General Medical Sciences and have also received IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence grants and to be matched by $5,700,000 in private and public funds, to modernize and expand infrastructure in a biological laboratory specializing in tissue repair and regeneration located in the State, in order to increase biotechnology workforce training, retain and recruit to the State multiple biomedical research and development groups and create a drug discovery and development facility that will improve human health and stimulate biotechnology job growth and economic activity.

Total . . . . . . $3,000,000

Sec. 6. Contingent upon ratification of bond issue. Sections 1 to 5 do not become effective unless the people of the State ratify the issuance of the bonds as set forth in this Act.

Sec. 7. Appropriation balances at year-end. At the end of each fiscal year, all unencumbered appropriation balances representing state money carry forward. Bond proceeds that have not been expended within 10 years after the date of the sale of the bonds lapse to the Office of the Treasurer of State to be used for the retirement of general obligation bonds.

Sec. 8. Bonds authorized but not issued. Any bonds authorized but not issued within 5 years of ratification of this Act are deauthorized and may not be issued, except that the Legislature may, within 2 years after the expiration of that 5-year period, extend the period for issuing any remaining unissued bonds for an additional amount of time not to exceed 5 years.

Sec. 9. Report. The Department of Economic and Community Development shall report by January 15th annually, until the bond proceeds authorized by this Act have been fully expended, to the joint standing committees of the Legislature having jurisdiction over appropriations and financial affairs and research and economic development matters.

Sec. 10. Referendum for ratification; submission at election; form of question; effective date. This Act must be submitted to the legal voters of the State at a statewide election held in the month of November following passage of this Act. The municipal officers of this State shall notify the inhabitants of their respective cities, towns and plantations to meet, in the manner prescribed by law for holding a statewide election, to vote on the acceptance or rejection of this Act by voting on the following question:

"Do you favor a $3,000,000 bond issue, to be awarded through a competitive process and to be matched by $5,700,000 in private and public funds, to modernize and expand infrastructure in a biological laboratory specializing in tissue repair and regeneration located in the State in order to increase biotechnology workforce training, retain and recruit to the State multiple biomedical research and development groups and create a drug discovery and development facility that will improve human health and stimulate biotechnology job growth and economic activity?"

The legal voters of each city, town and plantation shall vote by ballot on this question and designate their choice by a cross or check mark placed within a corresponding square below the word "Yes" or "No." The ballots must be received, sorted, counted and declared in open ward, town and plantation meetings and returns made to the Secretary of State in the same manner as votes for members of the Legislature. The Governor shall review the returns. If a majority of the legal votes are cast in favor of this Act, the Governor shall proclaim the result without delay and this Act becomes effective 30 days after the date of the proclamation. The Secretary of State shall prepare and furnish to each city, town and plantation all ballots, returns and copies of this Act necessary to carry out the purposes of this referendum.[2]

Fiscal note

The fiscal note was as follows:[4]

MaineQ52014.png

Background

The election that took place in Maine on November 4, 2014, is known as a referendum election. According to the Maine Bureau of Corporations, Elections and Commissions, "Referendum Elections are held to provide Maine’s citizens an opportunity to vote on People’s Veto Referenda, Direct Initiatives of Legislation (i.e. Citizen Initiatives), Bond Issues, other referenda proposed by the Legislature, and Constitutional Amendments. Referendum elections are an important part of the heritage of public participation in Maine."[5]

Support

Supporters

SP 421 "Yes" votes

The following members of the Maine Legislature voted in favor of placing this measure on the ballot.[8][9]

Note: A yes vote on SP 421 merely referred the question to voters and did not necessarily mean these legislators approved of the stipulations laid out in Question 5.

Senate

House

Arguments

The Maine League of Women Voters listed the following as arguments in favor of Question 5 in their voters' guide:[10]

  • Money is needed from the State of Maine to get the rest of the private and public money needed to complete the project.
  • The $3 million bond will be matched by $5.7 million in other funds.
  • The improved facilities could increase biomedical workforce training. This could lead to more local jobs in the future.
  • Researchers may find new drug treatments to improve human health.
  • The improved facilities could attract more research groups to Maine.
  • The bond may specifically benefit the MDI Biological Laboratory and other private and public colleges and universities in Maine.

[2]

Opposition

SP 421 "No" votes

The following members of the Maine Legislature voted against placing this measure on the ballot.[8][9]

Note: A no vote on SP 421 meant that a legislator did not want to refer the question to voters and did not necessarily mean these legislators disapproved of the stipulations laid out in Question 5.

Senate

House

Arguments

The Maine League of Women Voters listed the following as arguments in opposition to Question 5 in their voters' guide:[10]

  • Maine would add $3 million to its total debt.
  • It will cost a total of $3.66 million in principal and interest over ten years to repay the money.
  • The bond may specifically benefit the MDI Biological Laboratory and other private colleges and universities in Maine.
  • Some people think private institutions should not get taxpayer money.
  • Other projects may be more worthy of the state’s money.

[2]

Media editorial positions

See also: Endorsements of Maine ballot measures, 2014

Support

  • The Bangor Daily News said,
In less than 15 years, the MDI Biological Laboratory has grown from a nine-employee, seasonal lab into a 63-employee, year-round operation performing cutting-edge research into tissue regeneration. A “yes” vote on Question 5 would allow the research lab in Salisbury Cove to expand by building a new, 3,000-square-foot research and training facility.

The $3 million bond allocation is a small investment with the potential for a major return, and it deserves voters’ support.[2]

Bangor Daily News, [11]

  • The Portland Press Herald said,
This lab, too, has a solid track record. It has grown from 10 employees to 65 in the last 14 years, and it has attracted $106 million in federal grant money, while doing groundbreaking research in tissue regeneration, helping to fight disease and the effects of aging.

Both labs already raise millions in private funds to support their research, but federal support for research grants is dwindling, and money for new facilities is all but nonexistent. Public funding is necessary to give these projects a jump start.[2]

Portland Press Herald, [12]

Opposition

  • The Maine Current said,
We don’t support Question 5, which would approve $3 million to modernize and expand a biotechnology lab somewhere in the state – the location of which is not disclosed – that would specialize in tissue repair and regeneration, as well as help train a biotech workforce. While this effort sounds noble, there is too little information included for residents to offer an educated vote.[2]

Maine Current, [13]

Path to the ballot

See also: Legislatively-referred state statute

According to Article IX, Section 14 of the Maine Constitution, a two-thirds vote in both chambers of the Maine Legislature was required to put bond issues before voters.

The Maine Senate and Maine House of Representatives passed SP 421 on April 17, 2014.[14]

Senate vote

April 17, 2014 Senate vote

Maine SP 421 Senate Vote
ResultVotesPercentage
Approveda Yes 26 81.25%
No618.75%

House vote

April 17, 2014 House vote

Maine SP 421 Assembly Vote
ResultVotesPercentage
Approveda Yes 113 77.93%
No3222.07%

See also

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References