Senator Snowe believes strongly in the concepts of limited government and personal freedom evinced in our Constitution – principles which restrain the interference of the federal government in the lives of citizens making free and socially responsible choices.
- Introduced, a bill of rights for adults who become wards of the courts, because of physical or mental incapacity, the Guardianship Rights and Responsibilities Act:“Wards are individuals whose legal rights, decision-making authority and possessions have been transferred to the control of a guardian or conservator based on a judgment that the person is no longer capable of handling these affairs. This legal system severely limits an individual’s personal autonomy and has considered problems and widespread abuses. Horror stories abound about guardians who force unnecessary nursing home care, embezzle assets, or otherwise abuse their wards.
The Guardianship Rights and Responsibilities Act of 1995 would require States to adopt and enforce laws to provide basic protection and rights to wards as a condition of receiving Federal Medicaid funds. It would assure due process protections such as counsel, the right to be present at their proceedings and to appeal decisions. Also required would be: clear and convincing evidence to determine the need for a guardianship; adequate court monitoring; and standards, training and oversight for guardians.
This legislation will help to protect the most vulnerable elderly and disabled from exploitation, and will help to assure them the highest possible autonomy.“ (Congressional Record, 2/16/1995, p.S2825)
- Fought for years to institute bans on discrimination based on genetic information; a bill finally passed the Senate in 2003, only to be rejected by the House, and was reconsidered in 2005 as S. 306.“Since April of 1996 when I first introduced the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Health Insurance Act, along with my colleague, Senator Jeffords, science has continued to hurtle forward, further opening the door to early detection and medical intervention through the discovery and identification of specific genes linked to diseases such as breast cancer, Huntington’s disease, glaucoma, colon cancer,
and cystic fibrosis.
We recognized in 1996 with progress in the field of genetics accelerating at a breathtaking pace that we must ensure the fast arriving scientific advances in treatment and prevention of diseases do not advance a new basis for discrimination. As with countless scientific breakthroughs in history, the eventual completion of the genome project not only brought the prospe cts of medical advances such as improved detection and earlier intervention but also the potential for harm and abuse.
The threat of employment discrimination is not hypothetical, and therefore it is essential that we take this information off the table, so to speak, before such abuse becomes widespread.
This legislation is a shining example of what can be accomplish ed when we set aside partisan differences in order to address the challenges facing the American people.“ (Congressional Record, 2/16/2005, pp.S1479-S1479)
- Has long supported moves to prevent the desecration of the flag:“The goal of this legislation is both clear and one which enjoys strong support among my constituents and people across this country: to prevent the desecration of our Nation’s proud symbol, the American flag. The overriding objective is not solely to see a new amendment to the Constitution, but to see that the flag is duly and appropriately protected. If we can provide that protection by the least-intrusive statutory process, then I would view that as a wholly satisfactory solution.
“I am aware that there are Constitutional and legal experts who have declared that, effectively, no statute can meet the standard put forth by the Supreme Court. I am equally aware of two other points as well: first, that other Constitutional and legal experts have vouched that a statute can work; and, second, that this world is littered with experts of every stripe who have been wrong.“ (Congressional Record, 11/12/1989, p.E3036)
“Throughout the years we have brought our flag with us on journeys to places undreamed of by our founders, from the depths of Earth’s oceans to the Sea of Tranquility on the moon. In conflict and in peace, on missions of exploration and on missions of mercy, the flag has led us wherever we have been willing to venture, and whenever America’s freedom, security, and values have been threatened.
Almost 60 years ago, during one of World War II’s bloodiest battles, United States Marines climbed to the top of Mount Surabachi on Iwo Jima and raised the flag on its peak for all to see. No less than 6,855 men died to take that strategic Pacific outpost, and the sacrifices made by these and so many other brave American soldiers must never be forgotten. Their honor and dedication to country, as well as to freedom and justice, is enshrined in this symbol of our nation.
Whether the stars and stripes are flying over a ball park, a military base, a school or on Main Street, it has always represented the ideals and values that are the foundation this great nation was built on. Our flag has come not only to represent the glories of our nation’s past, but it has also come to stand as a symbol for hope for our nation’s future. As our flag turns 224, I hope that we all can pause to reflect on its proud history and profound meaning. And let us pledge to keep faith with those generations of patriots, both military and civilian, who gave their lives to keep the flag flying over a nation that is free, strong, and true to our highest ideals.“ (Weekly Update, 6/8/2001)
- Supported moves to increase penalties on the illegal transfer or use of firearms and supports the requirement of background checks on purchasers at gun shows, but does not favor legislation to restrict or license ownership of weapons.
- Opposed the proposed ban on gay marriage, viewing the matter as being primarily an issue for the states (a position also staked out by Sen. McCain, the latter describing Federal involvement in the matter as “antithetical in every way to the core philosophy of Republicans“), and an issue settled, as far as the Federal involvement is concerned, by the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act:”The next step would be for the issue to be considered by the federal courts” (AP story, 2/25/2004)
- Voted for the federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act