Under The Dome: Inside The Maine State House 5-2-14

by Pierce Atwood LLP

Augusta, ME

Under the Dome: Inside the Maine State House provides a high-level overview of recent activity at the Maine State House.

Legislature Returns for “Veto Day”

On May 1st, the Legislature met to consider some last-minute business and to vote on vetoes issued by Governor LePage. The day was dominated by votes on vetoes, as the Governor vetoed 48 bills since the Legislature last met on April 17. The sheer number of vetoes on the calendar has prompted considerable debate in the Maine press and in political circles regarding partisanship and the way Augusta has functioned under divided control.

Of the 48 vetoes on the calendar, 33 were sustained, killing those bills and 15 were overridden, enacting these new laws over the Governor’s objection. Among the number of vetoes of controversial bills that were sustained, were a veto of a proposal to arm Forest Rangers, vetoes of two separate bills proposing to expand Medicaid (meaning five separate Medicaid expansion bills have been vetoed over the past two years), and two separate bills designed to stall progress on implementing a recent revision of metallic mineral mining laws. Vetoes that were overridden included a veto of the fiscal year 2015 supplemental budget and a veto of one bond bill regarding small business loans.

Included in the Legislature’s other business were a number of gubernatorial nominations, which proceeded quickly through the relevant committees and the Senate. The Legislature also proved, once again, that it is never too late to submit a bill when it considered three new bills that were printed on May 1st.

The Legislature was not able to complete all of its work on May 1st and actually adjourned sine die at 12:35 a.m. on May 2nd. This date is significant, as non-emergency legislation typically becomes effective 90 days after this date. This year, non-emergency legislation will become effective on August 1, unless a specific effective clause applies. Adjournment sine die also traditionally signals the beginning of the political fundraising season.

With the Legislature adjourning for the year, legislators will now turn to campaigning for November’s elections. The 127th Legislature will feature a number of new faces, as 41 of the 151 House members and 8 of the 35 Senate members currently are not seeking re-election, many due to term limits. This number could potentially grow over the coming months. In recent years, a turnover of about one-third of each chamber has been the norm.

Summary of New Maine Laws to be Published Soon

Each year, Pierce Atwood produces a summary of newly enacted Maine laws that are of interest to our clients. With final adjournment, we are working on producing this year’s summary and expect to publish this summary shortly. Please watch your e-mail inbox for this resourceful document.

Under the Dome Schedule

Now that the 126th Legislature has adjourned and the pace of legislative developments is expected to slow, we intend to provide Under the Dome: Inside the Maine State House updates on an every other week basis, until the next legislative session convenes.


DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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