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Home | County, State and Federal Government | An additional 51 bills are now law because LePage did not act

An additional 51 bills are now law because LePage did not act

The governor's 10-day window to sign or veto the bills closed at the end of Saturday

AUGUSTA – Fifty-one bills passed by the Legislature will became law without Gov. Paul LePage's signature Sunday because he did not sign or veto them during the allotted 10-day window.

"Today another 51 bills passed by the Legislature are now law. Today we celebrate bipartisan committee work, good policy and the Legislature getting the people's work done despite the governor's antics. We made it clear all week what options the governor had, but instead he ignored the process, the Constitution and defied logic," said House Majority Leader Jeff McCabe, D-Skowhegan. "The governor has been twisting himself into knots trying to push an argument that doesn't pass the straight-face test. The Constitution is clear: these bills are law because the governor failed to act."

Fifty-one bills passed by the Legislature on June 30 have been on the governor's desk. The governor has 10 days, not including Sundays, to sign or veto a bill. If he does not take either of those actions, the bill becomes law if the Legislature has not finally adjourned. For these bills, the window closed at Saturday. The Office of the Revisor will chapter them Monday.

Typically, the governor's office delivers vetoes to the Legislature by the close of business Friday for bills that would become law over a weekend. The Clerk of the House and the Secretary of the Senate made themselves available to receive any vetoes Saturday, but the governor did not return any bills to them.

"Legislators can be proud of these new laws. They are the result of bipartisanship, hard work and concern for the constituents who sent us to Augusta to get things done," said Assistant House Majority Leader Sara Gideon, D-Freeport. "These measures were crafted to improve the lives of Maine people in terms of public safety, health, education, the economy and a host of other areas. They reflect our commitment to good governance."

The new laws address matters ranging from jail consolidation to domestic violence to health care access for women and "revenge porn." A number address Maine's aging population through a bond for affordable housing, a much-needed boost for direct-care workers, tax credits for adult day care, hospice are and respite care and protections from financial exploitation. One law provides Vietnam veterans the same property tax exemptions that veterans of other conflicts already receive. Another increases access to the overdose reversal medication naloxone. Public education, first responders, entrepreneurship, conservation and downtown revitalization are among the other topics addressed by some of the other measures.

The governor incorrectly asserted that the bills will not become law, despite the clarity provided by the Maine Constitution, precedent and an opinion issued by Attorney General Jane Mills on Friday. The governor's argument is based on an illogical claim that the Legislature is finally adjourned, which would mean that the clock for the 10-day window has stopped.

The Legislature's first regular session remains under way, as evidenced by its plans to return Thursday to take up the remainder of its work, including vetoes issued in accordance with the Maine Constitution.

Emergency bills go into effect when the Legislature overrides a veto, when it is signed by the governor or when the 10-day window closes without action from the governor. Non-emergency bills go into effect 90 days after the Legislature finally adjourns, or adjourns "sine die." 

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