A look at major bills enacted by Maine legislators

The Associated Press
Posted April 15, 2012, at 12:06 p.m.

A sampling of the major bills among the 197 enacted during the 2012 session, which wraps up the two-year term that got under way in 2011. Some of the bills await final finding decisions in May.

Transportation

• $300,000 feasibility study authorized into east-west toll highway connecting New Brunswick and Quebec via Maine

• Lengthened the period of restrictions for an intermediate license holders and increased fines for some violations by young drivers

Social services

• Income threshold for parents of children on MaineCare reduced to 133 percent of the poverty level, or $30,657 for a family of four, cutting their ranks by 14,000

• Optional services, such as chiropractic and dental care for MaineCare recipients, are eliminated

• Drug choices for MaineCare recipients further limited

• Enrollment of childless adults in MaineCare capped to lower participation through attrition

Labor

• Workers compensation law overhauled

• Workers’ rights to unionize at a Turner-based egg farm eliminated

• Penalties increased for unemployment fraud

• Collective bargaining rights eliminated for private child-care providers who receive state subsidies

Elections and voting

• Matching funds provision of Clean Elections law eliminated

• Proposed voter ID requirement weakened to study of the broader issue of voter participation

CRIME

• State employees convicted of crimes committed in connection with their jobs forfeit retirement benefits

• Software programs known as tax zappers, which falsify electronic sales records so businesses can cheat on taxes, outlawed

• Law outlawing bath salts broadened to include five more, similar designer drugs

• Bail to be denied in domestic violence cases for defendants alleged to have violated a protection from abuse order

• $25 fees paid by offenders in violent crimes can no longer be waived

• Law prohibiting the sale of stolen scrap metal bolstered

• Verbally soliciting a child to commit a prohibited sex act becomes a crime

• Law to prevent welfare cheating bolstered

Red tape

• Requirement for businesses to publicly display certain permits eliminated

• Paperwork required to qualify for sales tax exemptions for buses cut

• Towns prohibited from collecting fees for ice fishing shacks

Education

• Comprehensive performance evaluation systems for teachers and principals must be developed

• Students can move at their own pace to graduate under performance-based school standards

Gambling

• Charitable nonprofits, including veterans organizations, may operate up to five slot machines

• Impact of casinos to be studied; $5 million casino license fee imposed

 

http://bangordailynews.com/2012/04/15/news/state/a-look-at-major-bills-enacted-by-maine-legislators/ printed on July 30, 2014