AUGUSTA – Maine’s senior citizens will be in less danger of losing their homes because of its tax burden, consumers will have more protection from scams, and motorists will have to be more careful when they approach emergency vehicles.

On July 12, those and other laws enacted by the Legislature during this year’s session will take effect. Unless otherwise specified, state laws are effective 90 days after the session ends.

Among this year’s new laws is a health insurance reform that got the attention of President Obama when he visited Maine in April. The law bars annual and lifetime caps on health insurance payments, protecting policyholders from having to go into debt because they have been denied payments for medical treatment.

While the law will take effect July 12, it will apply only to policies that take effect on or after Jan. 1.

That’s the case with two other health-related laws. One will remove restrictions on when a child can be eligible for dental coverage, and the other will require individual and group health insurance policies to provide early intervention services for children as old as 36 months who have developmental disabilities.

Some laws that kick in next week will help senior citizens. One will authorize property tax payment deferrals for eligible homeowners.

“If your goal in life is to stay in your home until you die and be happy there, it’s hard to pay taxes on a limited income,” said Rep. Kathleen Chase, R-Wells, a former tax assessor who saw such a strong need for the law that she ran for state representative on the issue.

The law she sponsored will authorize towns and cities to allow property tax deferrals for homeowners who are at least 70, have lived in their homes for at least 10 years and have household income of less than 300 percent of the federal poverty level.

After the homeowner dies or the home is sold, the taxes will have to be repaid, with interest.

Another new law benefiting seniors is a “silver alert” measure — a public notification system for when a person with dementia is missing. It will establish a mandatory orientation and training for police in such cases so there is a consistent response across all law enforcement agencies.

“It’s particularly helpful for people with Alzheimer’s who have access to a vehicle and can travel great distances,” said Kathryn Pears of the Alzheimer’s Association Maine Chapter.

In consumer matters, a law to prevent deceptive free-trial offers, called the first law of its kind in the nation, will require companies that offer free trial periods of goods or services to confirm billing information directly from the consumer, so the consumer doesn’t get stuck with unwanted credit card charges.

Another new law will prohibit merchants from putting surcharges on purchases with debit cards, which the Federal Reserve Board says are now used more often than credit cards.

Maine’s century-old ballot initiative process will become more secure because of a law making petition circulators more accountable. Prompted by a case of petition fraud that came to light last fall in the town of Greene, the law requires paid petition circulators to register with the state, and to initial and number each petition.

On the highways, motorists will have to drive at prudent speeds on sections of roads where there’s an emergency vehicle with emergency lights showing. The law will set the minimum fine for a violation at $250.

Safeguards are to be added for the deployment of automated license plate recognition systems. The law will restrict use of the recognition systems to police, the state Department of Transportation and the Maine Turnpike Authority.

Data about law-abiding citizens will be purged every 21 days and databases will be confidential.

Another new law will start a gradual process of lowering the sulfur content in fuel oil to reduce haze in Maine’s air. It will phase in cleaner fuels in cooperation with other states in the region through 2018.

Applicants for wind energy developments built under streamlined regulations will be required to establish a benefits package, such as payments that reduce energy costs in host communities, amounting to at least $4,000 per year per wind turbine.

Mainers who have lost their jobs stand to benefit from a new law for laid-off workers who are owed vacation pay.

Current state law requires workers who are laid off to wait the number of weeks for which they are owed vacation pay before they can collect unemployment. The new law will remove that restriction so they can collect benefits without delay.