LD114 / HP98, a bill in the Maine State Legislature, is being pushed through the legislative process. This bill will make it a civil offense to park an RV overnight on any public parking lot in the state. You can view the bill text and status at http://www.mainelegislature.
Here is some of the text of the bill:
“§ 2502. Camping in parking facilities prohibited.
A person may not park or occupy a recreational vehicle, as defined in Title 10, section 1432, subsection 18, in a commercial parking facility overnight. For purposes of this section, "commercial parking facility" means a parking structure or area open to members of the public for the purposes of parking their vehicles while patronizing one or more commercial establishments, but does not include a mobile home park or recreational vehicle park allowed by a municipality or a camping area licensed by the department. A person who violates the provisions of this section commits a civil violation subject to a fine of no more than $100, which must be suspended for the first violation and may be suspended for subsequent violations.”
Due to the way this is worded, these restrictions will apply to any publicly accessible parking lot. This will include casinos, truck stops, and even dirt or gravel boondock parking areas throughout the state.
This is not the first time that RVers have been faced with such a challenge on a state level. Several years ago, similar legislation was introduced in both Montana and Nevada. Due to the protests from RVers all over the country, those attempts to ban RV parking failed. We now face a similar challenge in Maine.
If this legislation passes, it may well set a precedent for the rest of the country, and we could see our freedom to choose where we park permanently revoked! All RVers and concerned individuals need to take immediate steps to contact the Governor of Maine, the State Chamber of Commerce, and Maine tourism offices as soon as possible to voice their opinions.
Great haste is needed as the House bill has already been reported out of committee with a “Pass as Amended” recommendation. Please make use of the contact list included below and write, call, or email right away! Maine residents: Please contact your senator and representative ASAP! Your input as a constituent carries far more weight than that of individuals from out of state.
Please remember that a calm, logical approach will make your letter or email much more likely to be read and considered. Here are a couple of sample paragraphs to aid you in writing your letter or email.
While RV parks are the best accommodations for RVers, sometimes commercial parks are full, or perhaps the RVer simply cannot find a local park, especially if it is late in the evening. Other issues come into play as well. For instance, how tired is the RV driver? Were it not for easily accessible public parking lots and other similar locations that offer a resting place to RVers, you would see an increased accident rate. Far too often, RVers will drive too long, too late, or continue searching for an RV park way past their safety and comfort zone. Knowing that they are welcome to pull into a parking lot and get a few hours of rest anytime of the day or night is an enormous safety net for the traveler.
Typically, RVers make significant contributions financially to places that welcome them and, many times, will return to an area for an extended stay if they have been received in a friendly manner. Unfortunately, signs banning RVs from parking areas do not appear very friendly to the tired traveler who is just looking for a spot to rest. Please do not implement legislation that will send the RVing public away from your state, but rather welcome them with open arms and show them you care about their safety and respect their lifestyle.
Please take a moment to contact these offices in Maine and let them know how you feel!
Governor John E. Baldacci
Office of the Governor
#1 State House Station
Augusta, ME 04333-0001
Maine State Chamber of Commerce
7 University Drive,
Augusta, Maine 04330
Maine office of tourism:
Maine Tourism Association
Phone: (207) 623-0363
Fax: (207) 623-0388
Convention & Visitors Bureau of Greater Portland
The Maine Legislature website is at http://janus.state.me.us/legis