Online Drivers Ed Bills Fails in Senate

While we won the vote in the House, 119 to 23, the vote was reversed in the Senate, 28-7.  So it’s all over for now.  Indications are that some of the opponents were persuaded to vote against in the Senate merely because they felt that the timing/implementation was too quick.  So there is some reasonable prospect that the bill will be re-introduced and even passed next year.  Check back for updates.

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LD 201 WILL SAVE STUDENTS AND PARENTS MONEY AND TIME

The Maine House voted in favor of LD 201 on March 23, by a vote of 119 to 23!!   So we’re over one hump.  Now it will, sometime soon, go to the Senate for a vote there. And we need parents, students and former students to send emails to all Senators, supporting LD 201’s Online  Option. (See instructions and email addresses of Senators in the column on the far right.)  Why support the bill?

Convenience:  Stop carting kids to 30 hours of classes. (My middle kid had 15 — three weeks– of classes to travel back and forth to.)  Online classes are at home, Study Hall – anywhere.

Save money:   The average Maine DE is $450.  (Some states have it FREE in high school.)

Online Learning is Widely Used in Maine:  Online courses are available throughout UMaine, at Community Colleges, and through every Maine high school.  But Drivers Ed is still stuck in the 1950’s.  The Me. Drivers Ed Association is committed to being “on the forefront of DE issues, legislation, and education”  — and LD 201 helps them keep up.  (Experience in Other States is that Online DE is as effective, or more effective, than Classroom– see the  California Dept. of Motor Vehicles study,http://www.cal-driver-ed.com/DMV/DMV-Home-Study-Report.pdf)

Based on what I’ve seen on Maine Drivers Ed, where many of the Instructors are just “dialing it in”, the online option may provide much higher quality instruction.

LD 201 just gives you a choice — if you want, you can still go to a classroom.

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WHY MAINE NEEDS THE ONLINE DRIVERS ED OPTION

MAINE DRIVERS ED IS STUCK IN THE 1950’s: I am a parent of three kids who’ve taken Drivers Ed in Maine over the last 7 years. My kids all told me this Classroom DE is perfect for Online training, and that’s why I’m acting to push for the option.

15,000 Maine students took Drivers Ed in 2010.  Each course must be 30 hours of “classroom” instruction  and 10 hours of “driving” instruction.  The current law gives no option to take the “Classroom” portion online.  In contrast, sixteen other states allow online DE.

LD 201, introduced by Maine Rep. Jon Hinck of Portland (RepJon.Hinck@legislature.maine.gov), will give students this online option.  (It doesn’t touch the 10-hour “behind-the-wheel” requirement.)
Here’s the Official Summary of LD 201: “This bill provides that classroom instruction provided by a driver education school licensed in this State may be taught interactively through the use of communications technology, including the Internet, so that persons taking the classroom portion of the driver education requirement need not be physically present in a classroom.
The effective date for this change in law is July 1, 2012. This bill does not alter current requirements in rule for
behind-the-wheel instruction.”
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HOW TO HELP GET THIS PASSED: EMAIL SENATORS TO SHOW SUPPORT FOR ONLINE DRIVERS ED OPTION

HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO DO:

1) SEND AN EMAIL OF SUPPORT to your State Senator, asking him or her to support LD 201. You can look up who your State Senator is at

maine.gov/legis/house/townlist.htm. Tell him something like “I support the Online Drivers Ed option in LD 201, because I want to be able to save time and money.”  If you have any special information, like what DE was like for you or your kid, and why we need an online option, put that in there.   Your own Senator will read the whole thing, and many of them respond to all emails or calls from their own constituents.

AND

2)  “Blind Copy” [i.e., “bcc”] that Email to  ALL THE SENATORS in the Maine Senate . Below is the combined “group list” of all Senators’ emails.   You can just copy and paste that whole thing into the “bcc” portion of your email addressee section.)

COMBINED LIST: SenDawn.Hill@legislature.Maine.gov, rcollins7@maine.rr.com, joncourtney@metrocast.net, SenNancy.Sullivan@legislature.Maine.gov, , SenBarry.Hobbins@legislature.Maine.gov, SenPhil.Bartlett@legislature.Maine.gov, SenLawrence.Bliss@legislature.Maine.gov,

SenJustin.Alfond@legislature.Maine.gov, SenJoe.Brannigan@legislature.Maine.gov, SenStanley.Gerzovsky@legislature.Maine.gov,

SenBill.Diamond@legislature.Maine.gov, dhastings@hastings-law.com, senlois@roadrunner.com, SenMargaret.Craven@legislature.Maine.gov, garrettpaulmason@gmail.com,

drtom16@hotmail.com, SenSeth.Goodall@legislature.Maine.gov, dptrahan@roadrunner.com, demccormick@tds.net,

cwrector@hotmail.com, mthibmyrep@aol.com, RKatz@lipmankatzmckee.com, nitram@roadrunner.com, rodwhittemore@gmail.com

firewood@tds.net, langley4legislature@myfairpoint.net, wwilson2829@yahoo.com, schneidersenate@msn.com, rrosen113@aol.com, nichi@aol.com,

SenDebra.Plowman@legislature.maine.gov, rsherm_2000@yahoo.com, SenTroy.Jackson@legislature.Maine.gov, Senator@KevinRaye.com

ALSO, FOR YOUR REFERENCE< BELOW IS A ” BROKEN OUT” LIST OF ALL SENATORS AND THEIR INDIVIDUAL EMAILS AND PHONE NUMBERS/

Dawn Hill (D), York County — SenDawn.Hill@legislature.Maine.gov – 287 1585
Ronald Collins (R) York –rcollins7@maine.rr.com — 985-2485
Jonathan Courtney (R) York — joncourtney@metrocast.net — 324-5467
Nancy Sullivan (D) York — SenNancy.Sullivan@legislature.Maine.gov- 287 1515
Barry Hobbins (D) York — SenBarry.Hobbins@legislature.Maine.gov — 287-1515
Phil Bartlett (D) Cumberland — SenPhil.Bartlett@legislature.Maine.gov – — 287 1515
Lawrence Bliss (D)  Cumberland — SenLawrence.Bliss@legislature.Maine.gov — 287 1585
Justin Alfond (D) Cumberland — SenJustin.Alfond@legislature.Maine.gov – 287 1585
Joseph Brannigan (D) Cumberland – SenJoe.Brannigan@legislature.Maine.gov – 287 1515
Stan Gerzovsky (D) Cumberland —   SenStanley.Gerzovsky@legislature.Maine.gov– 373-1328
Richard Woodbury (U) Cumberland —  846-3056
Bill Diamond (D) Cumberland and York (Hollis) —
— 892-8941

David Hastings(R) Cumberland, Oxford — dhastings@hastings-law.com –935-3175
John Patrick (D) Oxford — 364-7666

Lois Snowe-Mello (R) Androscoggin, Cumberland (New Gloucester) — senlois@roadrunner.com — 784-9136
Margaret Craven (D) Androscoggin —  SenMargaret.Craven@legislature.Maine.gov — 287 1585
Garrett Mason (R) Androscoggin — garrettpaulmason@gmail.com –577-1521
Tom Saviello (R) Franklin – drtom16@hotmail.com — 645-3420
Seth Goodall (D) Sagadahoc — SenSeth.Goodall@legislature.Maine.gov – 287 1585
David Trahan (R) Lincoln,  dptrahan@roadrunner.com –832-4135
Earle McCormick (R) Kennebec — demccormick@tds.net — 724-3228
Chris Rector (R) Knox — cwrector@hotmail.com — 354 6571
Mike Thibodeau (R) Waldo — mthibmyrep@aol.com — 223-5177
Roger Katz  (R) Kennebec — RKatz@lipmankatzmckee.com –485-2394
Thomas Martin (R) Kennebec —  nitram@roadrunner.com–  453-2484
Rodney Whittemore (R) Somerset  — rodwhittemore@gmail.com — 474-6703
Doug Thomas (R) Somerset —  firewood@tds.net — 277-3017
Brian Langley (R) Hancock — langley4legislature@myfairpoint.net — 667-0625
Elizabeth Schneider (D) Penobscot — schneidersenate@msn.com — 287 1585
Richard Rosen (R) Penobscot & Hancock — rrosen113@aol.com — 469-3779
Nichi Farnham (R) Penobscot  — nichi@aol.com — 990-2011
Deborah Plowman (R) Penobscot — SenDebra.Plowman@legislature.maine.gov –862-4506
Roger Sherman (R) Aroostook — rsherm_2000@yahoo.com — 532-7073
Troy Jackson (D) Aroostook — SenTroy.Jackson@legislature.Maine.gov — 287 1585
Kevin Raye (R) Washington,  Senator@KevinRaye.com — 853-9406
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