|June 24, 2019
Maine Legislature Adjourns Sine Die; Major Bills Pass in the Waning Hours
The Maine Legislature adjourned for the year (unless the Governor vetoes any bills passed in the waning hours) at 6:30 a.m. last Thursday, after a 20 1/2 hour day in which several bills, including a major tobacco bill, were passed and sent to the Governor's desk. In the coming weeks we will publish a review of the new laws of interest to physicians, but for now the following summary addresses the most significant health bills dealt with in the last week.
Among the bills receiving legislative approval in the final days of the session were the following of interest to physicians:
LD 443, which requires prophylactic ophthalmic ointment and Vitamin K injections for newborns. (PL 2019 c. 426)
LD 37, which allows the sale of over-the-counter medications, like emergency contraception, in vending machines. The bill has been signed into law. (PL 2019 c. 454)
LD 1461, which supports early intervention in cases of emerging psychosis. The bill passed both chambers but ended up on the Special Appropriations Table, where it sat at the end of the session. It will now be carried over to next year's session for a determination of whether it will be funded. It carries a fiscal note (the estimated cost of implementation) of $2.1 million for the biennium.
LD 1028, which equalizes taxes on various tobacco products (including "vaping" fluids), which survived last minute efforts by the industry to weaken it by changing the tax calculation method. Intense lobbying efforts by health advocates, including the MMA, helped to get it through in the form approved by the Taxation Committee.The senate vote was 23-12 and the House vote was 86-49. As of this writing it has not yet been signed.
LD 1811, the "yellow paper" bill that involves health care practitioners in a law enforcement and judicial process whereby a person's firearms could be removed pending a hearing on concerns about a risk of harm to self or others. It passed unanimously in the Senate, and an attempt to kill it in the House failed by a vote of 45-99, after which it was passed. Governor Mills has signed it. (PL 2019 c. 411)
So far, the following statistics show the laws passed by the Legislature and signed into law:
For those of you who made it to the end of this article and are curious, the words "sine die" mean "without day." The term refers to the final adjournment of the legislature for the session, when all legislative business has been completed. They carry legal significance for such things as recess appointments and vetoes.Next Article >
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