Pesticides registry repeal now heads for Senate

The Maine House voted 81-68 Thursday to repeal a pesticides registry that was established two years ago.

Rep. Peter Edgecomb, R-Caribou, sponsored L.D. 228, which would repeal laws that govern the development and maintenance of a registry for people who want to be notified in advance of outdoor applications of pesticides. So far, 1,800 people have registered to be notified of spraying.

Supporters of the bill say the current system isn’t working, and that farmers need a break from regulations.

“You need to support the farmers of the state of Maine,” said Rep. Jeff Timberlake, R-Turner, who owns an apple orchard.

Rep. Andy O’Brien, D-Lincolnville, said he worked hard to broker a compromise on the issue in 2009. He urged the House to send the bill back to the Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Committee for more work.

“If we pass this bill today, they will not get the notifications they signed up for,” he said.

The bill is now headed to the Senate.

House approves new rules for all-terrain vehicle users

Acting on a perennial issue before the Legislature, the House has voted to bolster landowners’ protection from all-terrain vehicle users.

By a 90-56 vote Thursday, representatives gave preliminary approval to the bill, which faces further House and Senate votes.

Under current law, a game warden may stop an ATV if the warden has a “reasonable and articulable” suspicion to believe that a law has been violated. The bill approved Thursday would allow a warden to stop an ATV on private land without that suspicion, which was the standard in the law before 2009.

Supporters say passage would improve relations between ATV riders and landowners, and encourage owners to allow access to their properties.

Opponents say the bill could violate the Constitution’s protection against unreasonable searches.

House votes to prohibit texting while driving

The House voted 129-13 Thursday to prohibit texting while driving.

With no debate, the House took the roll call vote on the bill sponsored by Sen. Bill Diamond, D-Windham.

The bill would prohibit driving while “engaging in text messaging” and establish a fine of no less than $100.

The measure, L.D. 736, already had initial approval from the Senate. It is headed back there for final consideration.