AUGUSTA, Maine — A bill that would require natural gas and propane leak detectors in certain buildings following last month’s fatal explosion in Farmington will be on the Legislature’s agenda when it reconvenes this winter.
Lawmakers will also have a bill before them that would allow retired police officers to serve as school resource officers.
Legislative leaders on Wednesday convened in Augusta to decide which of the 400 bills lawmakers have proposed will be considered by the full Legislature when its next session starts. They had little interest in considering new bills on gun restrictions and marijuana regulations, although they let through some health care-related bills.
The decisions the 10-member Legislative Council made Wednesday will help shape what’s on tap for the Legislature’s winter session. Bills proposed for that session are only supposed to be emergency measures under the Maine Constitution. Lawmakers whose bills did not make it past the council Wednesday will have the chance to appeal the group’s decisions next month.
Bills that would provide greater coverage under MaineCare made it through, including efforts to increase rates based on inflation, and pay for postpartum care and donated breast milk.
A bill that would create a state-run health insurance exchange under the Affordable Care Act, something Gov. Janet Mills favors, was also let in.
Bills addressing vaping and electronic cigarettes met a mixed fate.
A bill proposing a ban on smoking and vaping at public transportation stops failed, as did bills proposing to ban the sale of vaping devices outright and the addition of THC and cannabidiol to vaping liquids.
However, a bill that would only allow electronic smoking devices to be dispensed with a doctor’s prescription as part of a smoking cessation treatment passed muster with legislative leaders, so the full Legislature will consider that measure.
A number of gun-related measures did not make it past legislative leaders, including a bill to require gun owners to have liability insurance, a ban on assault weapons and legislation to make it an offense under Maine’s child endangerment law to allow children access to loaded firearms.
The Legislative Council will decide next month whether to let the full Legislature consider a bill to prohibit guns on nursery school and child care facility grounds.
The council allowed through some marijuana-related measures, including legislation addressing possession limits, transportation, and residency requirements for medical marijuana dispensaries and adult use marijuana establishments.
Few criminal justice and public safety bills made the cut. Measures that failed included legislation to narrow the range of misdemeanors that are subject to arrest without a warrant, increase jail furloughs from three to 10 days and create a community-based sentencing alternative for nonviolent offenders who are the primary caretakers of children.