October 25, 2023 marked 90 days since the first session of the 131st Maine Legislature adjourned. Since the adjournment, many new laws have come into effect in Maine. Democratic majorities in both chambers of the legislature passed hundreds of bills. Governor Janet Mills, also a Democrat, signed nearly all of them. Some bills took effect immediately, while others specified later dates to take effect. The majority of the newly passed laws became effective on October 25th. Below, we have highlighted a few of the new laws that Mainers may be particularly interested in.
Expanding Access to Naloxone
Efforts to curb the opioid crisis have been central to recent legislative sessions in Maine. 2023 was no different. Maine lawmakers passed seven bills expanding access to the overdose-reversal drug, naloxone. This includes the following measures:
- LD 600 – Allows municipalities to provide public access to naloxone on municipal property and in municipal buildings.
- LD 1036 – Requires more law enforcement officers to be trained and equipped to administer naloxone.
- LD 1315 – Requires secondary schools to offer annual training in the administration of naloxone.
Expanding Access to Abortion
Democrats passed several bills expanding or protecting access to abortion. While each was contentious, LD 1619 was the subject of particularly heated debates. The bill, signed in July, allows physicians to provide post-viability abortions when deemed necessary. Previously, post-viability procedures could only be performed if the mother’s life was in danger.
Incentivizing Workforce Development
Workforce growth is another perennial priority for Maine lawmakers. In particular, lawmakers seek to incentivize growth in sectors experiencing shortages. Workforce incentivization bills passed this year include:
- LD 937 – Resolve, To Establish The Commission Regarding Foreign-Trained Physicians Living In Maine
- LD 1366 – An Act To Address Educational Technician Shortages In Public Schools By Establishing An Alternative Certification Pathway
- LD 1539 – An Act To Promote A Diverse, More Experienced Construction Workforce And Ensure High-Quality Careers By Increasing Registered Apprenticeship Programs
Other Notable Changes
- LD 769 makes it easier for some small political parties to secure and maintain official party status.
- LD 1002 requires that all school lunch periods be at least 30 minutes long.
- LD 1029 will establish a commission to begin planning a celebration of the 250th anniversary of the founding of the United States.
- LD 1155 will increase Maine legislative salaries beginning with the next state legislature.
Looking Ahead to 2024
While the 2023 legislative session was productive, over 1,000 bills will carry over to the 2024 legislative session. Lawmakers are expected to return in January to take up these bills, and offer new proposals as well. As ever, Plural will have all of the details and updates you will need to follow this activity.
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