The governing body of the Maine Legislature voted today to accept 33 bills for consideration by lawmakers during the second session of the 127th Legislature, which begins in January.
The bipartisan Legislative Council, made up of five Democrats and five Republican leaders, must approve any new bill requests from lawmakers for the four-month session, which is by statute reserved for emergency or time-sensitive measures.
“With only four months to work next session, each and every bill must have bipartisan support and meet the emergency criteria to move forward,” said Speaker of the House Mark Eves, who chairs the council. “Our focus next session must be on bills that help improve the lives of Maine people and help boost our lagging economy.”
Lawmakers approved several key measures to help grow the economy, including Brunswick Senator Stan Gerzofsky’s measure to create and sustain high quality Maine jobs and Harpswell Rep. Jay McCreight’s bill to help ease student loan debts. Democrats and Republicans came together to also approve a measure to ensure Land For Maine’s Future bonds don’t expire.
“On issues such as economic development and honoring the will of Maine people by supporting voter-approved conservation project, we are laser-focused on the issues that matter for our state.” said Senate Democratic Leader Justin Alfond of Portland. “We have high expectations for this session. In divided government, we need to come together, not get bogged down in partisan games.”
Democratic lawmakers shot down several measures targeting Planned Parenthood, which aimed to roll back access to healthcare for women and families.
Lawmakers submitted nearly 400 new bill requests, in addition to the 176 bills carried over from last session and 20 bills submitted by state agencies.
A full list of the approved bills will be available on the Legislative web site soon.
The council will hear appeals on bills that were rejected on Nov. 19.