Bills to protect working waterfronts, tribal women pass US House, sit at Senate

Some non-impeachment related Washington news.

I’ve recently reported on the passage of a couple of bills in the US House that are of particular importance in Maine. They’re broadly regarded as non-partisan and, theoretically, should be uncontroversial, but are among hundreds with an uncertain future in the Republican-controlled Senate.

The first is a measure to help protect and revitalize working waterfronts, which passed the House this week with 34 Republicans in favor. There’s no Senate companion bill as yet.

The second is the reauthorization for the Violence Against Women Act, which would extend jurisdiction to certain types of domestic violence and sexual assault cases occurring on tribal reservations to qualified tribal courts. The Senate surprised those following the issue when its majority Republican caucus unveiled a version that instead puts new restrictions in place for tribal courts.

There’s also a bill to assess and respond to ocean acidification, a byproduct of global warming that’s threatening shellfish growers and harvesters. The Senate version has bipartisan sponsorship, but no momentum.

I wrote about these three measures in particular because I help cover Maine’s delegation for the Portland Press Herald, and all were introduced by the state’s senior House member, Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-ME02, but they’re likely indicative of a wider situation on the Hill.