|July 17, 2017
Monday afternoon, July 17th, the Appropriations Committee finished what it started last Wednesday as it voted on bills that have been awaiting action on the Special Appropriations Table. Some of those bills are significant to health care, among them LD 1170, which will raise the age for tobacco sales to 21. The bill was voted "ought to pass" after an amendment reduced the amount of the fiscal note, an estimate of the bill's cost. LD 456, which would have expanded the scope of practice for pharmacists by allowing them to prescribe vaccines, was voted "ought not to pass" on a party line vote. LD 1108, amended to remove any additional public health nursing positions but retaining the 48 which are already in place, was also voted "ought to pass."
It should be noted that LD 327 is still pending as "unfinished business" in the Senate. That bill would create a cause of action for wrongful death for fetal demise in cases where gestation has surpassed 24 weeks. In plainer terms, the bill would allow a suit for medical malpractice or other torts to be brought by the estate of the fetus. That would treat a post-24-week gestation fetus as a legal person for purposes of a legal suit if fetal demise is claimed to have resulted from another person's negligent acts. Legal abortion is excluded, but the parties lobbying strenuously to pass this bill are primarily the Maine Christian Civic League, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland, and Maine Right to Life.
The bill passed in the Senate but failed to pass in the House by 3 votes. An amendment has been prepared for proposal in the Senate, and if it passes there the bill and amendment would be returned to the House for another vote.
The last task of the Legislature will be reconvening for a "veto day," at which time they will vote on whether to override any recent vetoes by the Governor. The date for this event has not yet been announced, and it will depend on the date of the last regular legislative action on bills and the date of the Governor's last vetoes.< Previous Article | Next Article >
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