Maine House wraps up work for the year

New laws will help working families, small businesses, students, and veterans

AUGUSTA — Measures to invest in education, support small business, increase consumer protections and strengthen environmental stewardship marked the first regular session of the 128th Legislature that wrapped up for the year on August 2. Lawmakers also dealt with a number of issues as a result of the referenda passed in the 2016 election.

Democratic and Republican lawmakers worked collaboratively to accomplish many of these key goals despite obstruction by Gov. Paul LePage and his allies in the House.

“We made great strides to help improve the lives of Maine families,” said Speaker of the House Sara Gideon. “Lawmakers came together to do right by our citizens, even in a time of divided government. We made smart, targeted investments to grow our economy and increase prosperity for Maine families. And most importantly, we capitalized on our most important resource – Maine people, investing in lifting children out of poverty and ensuring that they have access to the excellent education, from early childhood through higher ed, that will position them and all of us for a successful future.”

Lawmakers considered approximately 1,650 bills this session, with 350 bills becoming law. Democrats, Republicans and unenrolled members came together to override 55 of 128 Gov. LePage vetoes.

“My constituents in Waldo County and voters across our state expect us to work with everyone, regardless of their political party, to make life better for all of our families, “ said Rep. Erin Herbig, D-Belfast, House Majority Leader. “This session Democrats, Republicans and Independents came together to empower rural Maine turnaround, strengthen our economy and support working families. I’m proud of the work we accomplished together.”

Democrats rejected measures to roll back women’s rights, worker’s rights, and voting rights, while fighting to harness clean, renewable energy and safeguard our environment.

“While politics as usual in DC might mean gridlock, this session we proved that Maine knows how to get things done, “ said Assistant Majority Leader Jared Golden. “From strengthening health care services for first responders and veterans to investing in our kids and communities through better education funding statewide, we worked hard this session and achieved real progress for all Mainers. “

The Legislature will reconvene for the Second Regular Session of the 128th Legislature in January 2018.

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Key New Laws from the First Regular Session of the 128th Legislature

Measures sponsored by House Democratic members and unenrolled members who caucus with Democrats:

Public Safety
An Act To Allow Hunters Whose Religion Prohibits Wearing Hunter Orange Clothing To Instead Wear Red
An Act To Require State Compliance with Federal REAL ID Guidelines
An Act To Delay the Implementation of Certain Portions of the Marijuana Legalization Act
An Act to Combat Human Trafficking by Requiring Prevention Training for Commercial Drivers

Education
An Act To Improve Safety and Traffic Efficiency near School Grounds
An Act To Revise Certification Statutes for Educational Personnel
An Act To Protect Students from Identity Theft
An Act To Provide Youth Mental Health First Aid Training to Secondary School Health Educators
Resolve, To Establish the Task Force To Identify Special Education Cost Drivers and Innovative Approaches to Services

Economy and Small Business
An Act To Provide Support for Sustainable Economic Development in Rural Maine
An Act To Extend the Legal Hours for Harvesting Lobster
An Act To Support Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Maine’s Economic Future
An Act Regarding Transfers of Liquor between Licensed Manufacturers’ Facilities
An Act To Provide Support for Sustainable Economic Development in Rural Maine
An Act To Ensure Continued Availability of High-speed Broadband Internet at Maine’s Schools and Libraries
An Act To Improve Vocational Rehabilitation under the Maine Workers’ Compensation Act of 1992

Energy / Environment
An Act To Protect Maine’s Clean Water and Taxpayers from Mining Pollution
An Act To Include 50 Milliliter and Smaller Liquor Bottles in the Laws Governing Returnable Containers
An Act To Create a Penalty for the Discharge of Septic Waste from Watercraft into the Inland Waters
An Act To Establish Energy Policy in Maine
An Act To Revise Certification Statutes for Educational Personnel

Health Care and Public Health
An Act To Require Insurance Coverage for Contraceptive Supplies
An Act To Incorporate Protections for Living Donors into Maine Law
An Act To Amend the Laws Governing Forensic Examination Kits
An Act To Increase Access to Hearing Aids
An Act To Prohibit Certain Gifts to Health Care Practitioners
An Act To Provide Youth Mental Health First Aid Training to Secondary School Health Educators

Consumer Protection
An Act To Promote Fiscal Responsibility in the Purchasing of Debt
An Act To Protect Maine Consumers from Unexpected Medical Bills
An Act To Protect Students from Identity Theft
An Act To Increase Reporting on Wage and Hour Violations

Transportation
An Act To Authorize the Construction of a Maine Turnpike Connector to Gorham
An Act To Improve Safety and Traffic Efficiency near School Grounds

Veterans
An Act Regarding Mental Health Care for Maine Veterans

Opioid
An Act To Allow Corrections Officers To Administer Naloxone