AUGUSTA – The Maine Senate on Wednesday killed three bills that would have added conditions for women who seek to have abortions in Maine.

Senators also rejected a measure that would have eliminated the ability of transgender people to sue based on discrimination if they are denied use of their preferred restrooms.

And the lawmakers supported two bills and killed a third regarding where weapons may be carried.

Without debate, the Senate killed three bills that would have required women who seek abortions to wait 24 hours, read state-issued information about the procedure and, if they are younger than 18, get parental consent.

The House had voted against all three bills Tuesday. Some opponents of the measures argued that Maine already has an effective law that requires doctors to provide certain information to patients before performing abortions. Others said government would be overstepping its role by mandating a waiting period.

The Senate briefly debated the bill that would have prevented transgender people from suing if they are prohibited from using their preferred restrooms. Senators then voted 23-11 against the proposal, in agreement with the House, killing the measure.

The gun-related bills elicited the most vigorous debate, particularly one that would allow municipal officials to decide whether to ban concealed weapons from their chambers, and another that would allow concealed-weapons permit holders to carry guns in state parks.

The bill regarding municipalities, L.D. 578, sponsored by Sen. Roger Katz, R-Augusta, was approved on a 21-13 vote and will be sent to the House for consideration.

“(It would) allow local towns to make their own decision whether to regulate the carrying of firearms within their own capitol areas,” Katz said.

Opponents argued that restricting gun rights of law-abiding citizens increases danger.

“I believe strongly that anywhere we restrict the use of firearms we create a place where law-abiding citizens are at a disadvantage when it comes to protecting themselves,” said Rep. Garrett Mason, R-Lisbon Falls.

Assistant Senate Majority Leader Debra Plowman, R-Hampden, said criminals will break laws regardless of whether signs are posted to ban concealed weapons.

“Unless the sign is bulletproof and you give one to each council member, I’m pretty sure there’s no protection in a sign,” she said.

Sen. Stan Gerzofsky, D-Brunswick, countered that it would be hypocritical of lawmakers to prevent local officials from making the same decision that state lawmakers have made.

Just minutes earlier, senators had agreed to kill a measure that would have allowed concealed weapons in the State House.

“To allow another legislative body to make the same decision we have done here at the State House is not wrong,” Gerzofsky said.

The Senate also voted 27-7 in support of L.D. 1347, which would allow concealed carry for permit holders in state parks and at state historic sites. That bill also was passed by the House. 

MaineToday Media State House Writer Rebekah Metzler can be contacted at 620-7016 or at:

[email protected]