June 23, 2018
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The island of misfit Maine bills

Troy R. Bennett | BDN
Troy R. Bennett | BDN
The State House in Augusta.

We’ve recently taken state lawmakers to task for dawdling on key issues that require their attention before the first session of the 126th Legislature adjourns. It’s only fair to praise them for knowing when not to take action.

Here’s a handful of bills and resolves that legislators rightfully dispatched this year:

* LD 174, An Act to Prohibit the Placement of Political Signs within 25 Feet of a Cemetery or Burial Site: Maine can’t pass laws to prohibit every act of crass political behavior, and voters should question seriously the character of any candidate whose campaign places signs on or near gravesites.

* LD 220, An Act to Ban the United Nations Agenda 21 in Maine. We believe it’s a good idea for Maine to recognize international law and don’t perceive that the United Nations or groups with which it does business pose such a threat to property rights that a state law is required.

* LD 571, A Resolve to Require Signs Recognizing the 45th Parallel North in Maine: As lawmakers have pointed out repeatedly during committee hearings and work sessions this year, Maine roadsides are dotted with enough signs already. Perhaps the state could encourage drivers to program their GPS gadgets to ping majestically when they cross the 45th Parallel.

* LD 395, An Act to Allow a Pet Owner to Collect Noneconomic Damages for the Death of a Pet: Dogs, cats and other pets are beloved and invaluable companions, but this bill would create new liability, insurance and litigation headaches. Currently, pets are considered as valuable as their retail worth; this bill would have set the limit for the collection of damages at an arbitrary $5,000. We know pet owners love their animals, but that sum seems exorbitant for a cat.

* LD 858, An Act to Partially Fund Tax Breaks for the Wealthy by Eliminating Certain Gubernatorial Benefits: Given that the process for eliminating one of those “gubernatorial benefits” involved selling the historic Blaine House, in which the governor resides, this mean-spirited piece of legislation deserved its swift demise.

We don’t question that these pieces of legislation were submitted with earnest intent or as a service to constituents. But their fate fortifies the premise that good lawmaking often means not passing unnecessary laws.

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