AUGUSTA, Maine — Gov. Paul LePage faced a Tuesday deadline to act on six bills that received unanimous approval in the state Legislature earlier this month but hadn’t taken action on any of them late in the day.
LePage’s choices were to sign the measures into law, veto them or let them become law without his signature. He hadn’t signed or vetoed the measures by 5 p.m. Tuesday, according to spokeswoman Adrienne Bennett, who said the governor was still discussing the bills with staff members.
LePage promised at the start of the month to veto any legislation that came across his desk, including his own bills, before lawmakers in the House and Senate signed off on his plan to pay back the state’s $484 million hospital debt by tapping into proceeds from a renegotiated state wholesale liquor contract.
Bennett softened the governor’s stance following the second veto threat, saying the governor would sign legislation that has widespread support or helps the state’s economy.
The bills are:
• LD 2: Resolve, Regarding Legislative Review of Portions of Chapter 252: Rules Governing Certification of Seed Potatoes in the State of Maine, a Major Substantive Rule of the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry.
• LD 26: An Act to Authorize the Commissioner of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife to Change a Fishing Season Opening Date Statewide.
• LD 32: An Act to Expand the Types of Vaccines That May Be Administered by Pharmacists.
• LD 103: An Act to Correct an Inconsistency in Maine’s Apprenticeship Laws.
• LD 112: An Act to Make Changes to the Educators for Maine Program.
• LD 113: An Act to Make Changes to the Maine College Savings Program.
Legislators took final, unanimous votes on the measures March 7. Under the Maine Constitution, LePage is allowed 10 days, not including Sundays, to sign them into law or veto them. If he takes no action, the bills become law without his signature and take effect 90 days after the Legislature adjourns at the end of its session in the spring.
LePage made an exception to his veto threat late last week, signing into law a bill that allowed the state’s bars and restaurants to start serving alcohol at 6 a.m. on St. Patrick’s Day when the holiday falls on a Sunday, as it did this year.
Lawmakers on Thursday unanimously signed off on two additional bills that now await action by LePage: An Act to Allow the Maine Potato Board to Have Access to Information Regarding the Potato Tax and An Act to Abolish the Trustees of Public Cemeteries for the City of Waterville.
LePage’s deadline to act on those two bills is March 26.