Senator Claxton, Representative Martin and members of the Committee on State and Local Government, I’m Beth White, Lead Member Political Coordinator for the Maine Service Employees Association, Local 1989 of the Service Employees International Union. We are a labor union representing over 12,000 Maine workers, including State of Maine employees as well as many of the other employers covered under the proposed language of LD 2018, An Act To Require That Parking Lots for State Agencies Meet the Standards Set Forth in the Federal Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, sponsored by State Representative Tina Riley.
We’re here today in support LD 2018. The main purpose of many of the buildings covered by this legislation is to be accessible to the public. This has been an ongoing issue for our members. A quick survey last week at a staff meeting of our legal and field teams about this issue led to conversations of several incidents recently of State of Maine employees being unable to get necessary accommodations from their employers for appropriate parking. We also are aware the parking shortage for employees and the public are an issue across the state. One recent situation we know of included the State suggesting to an employee they take a cab to work because the State could not ensure accessible parking. The bill as drafted also would cover leased space, which covers most state office buildings and should remain a focus of the efforts of this bill. Many of the offices covered by this bill share parking with other state offices, the general public and businesses. Parking may be designed for normal usage but not peak usage, or, in many cases, the locations are simply inadequate for the demand. Courthouses, community colleges and University of Maine System immediately come to mind.
We look forward to working to find solutions. We are happy to answer any questions you may have and look forward to being available for the work session.