Legislative Council admits 46 more bills into second session

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On November 18, the Legislative Council met to consider appeals to legislative requests that were rejected at its October 25 meeting.

In total, the council considered 105 requests that had been rejected and appealed by the November 1 deadline. The council accepted 46 bills, rejected 53, an additional five requests were withdrawn by their sponsors and one measure was tabled.

To be considered during the 130th Maine Legislature’s second session, which will be held in January, legislation must receive at least six affirmative votes from the 10-person Legislative Council.

During the legislature’s second session, the Maine Constitution limits legislation the body can consider to matters related to the budget, emergency legislation, bills from the governor’s call, legislation referred to committees for study during the first session, and legislation from citizen initiatives.

Both Rep. Joel Stetkis (R-Canaan) and Rep. Kathleen Dillingham (R-Oxford) were absent, giving Democrats on the council a 6-2 majority.

Among the rejected appeals were several Republican-sponsored bills aimed at Gov. Janet Mills’ administration’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for healthcare workers. LR 2215, sponsored by Sen. Richard Bennett (R-Oxford), would have provided for religious exemptions to the mandate. Sen. Jeff Timberlake (R-Androscoggin) also sponsored a bill to preserve “the freedom and rights” of Mainers regarding vaccinations. Both bills failed by a vote of 6-2.

A bill to create a legal defense fund for the lobster industry passed by a 6-2 vote. A bill that would allow college athletes to be paid passed by a vote of 7-1. 

Rep. Laurel Libby (R-Auburn) sponsored a school choice bill that would have guaranteed students had access to educational resources during prolonged states of emergency. The bill failed by a vote of 6-2. 

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