As the 127th Maine legislative session draws to a close, it is worthwhile to look at some of the winners and losers in this session. With a reported 200 bills vetoed by Gov. LePage so far, the legislature is expected to convene July 16 for a final vote and disposition of about 80 bills that have been submitted to Gov. LePage for consideration.

On June 30, the legislature overrode Gov.LePage’s veto of LD 1379: An Act to Establish Transportation Network Company Insurance, which will impose insurance standards on ride-sharing companies, such as Uber, which recently announced that it will be expanding service to coastal cities in Southern Maine. On June 11, Amendment C-A (H-397) added an emergency preamble and emergency clause to this bill, which goes into effect immediately due to the concerns about public safety.

LD 1380: An Act to Legalize, Tax, and Regulate Marijuana failed in the Legislature on June 22. A citizen’s petition to legalize recreational marijuana use in Maine is currently being circulated by the group Legalize Maine to put this initiative on the ballet in November 2016. Another group, the Washington, D.C.-based Marijuana Policy Project, is also gathering signatures to get legalization on the ballot in November 2016. This group led a successful drive to pass a legalization ordinance in South Portland last November, but lost a similar vote in Lewiston. Critics continue to voice concerns about the use of recreational marijuana if either ballot initiative is approved.

LD 36: An Act to Increase the Minimum Wage failed in the legislature on May 12. However, the People’s Alliance of Maine is circulating a citizen’s petition to raise the minimum wage to $9 an hour in 2017, and then by $1 a year until it reaches $12 by 2020. A similar effort was approved by the Portland City Council on July 6 to create a minimum wage of $10.10 per hour. This new law will go into effect on Jan. 1, after which time, the minimum wage will increase to $10.68 in 2017, and then be tied to the rate of inflation beginning on July 1, 2018. Under the new minimum wage law, the base pay for tipped employees will increase from $3.75 to $6.35 an hour.

LD 33: An Act to Strengthen the Maine Clean Election Act, Improve Disclosure, and Make Other Changes to the Campaign Finance Laws failed in the legislature on Jan. 14. However, Maine Citizens for Clean Elections has launched a citizen’s petition slated to be on the ballot this November to strengthen the Maine Clean Elections Act of 1996, and require the disclosure of outside big-money donors and disclaimers of funding sources in political ads so people will know who is trying to influence their vote.

Evidence of outside influence can be seen in the gun control bill, LD 652, as the National Rifle Association spent money in this state to secure the passage of this bill. On June 30, the legislature approved LD 652: An Act to Authorize the Carrying of Concealed Handguns without a Permit, which authorizes a person who is not prohibited from possessing a firearm because of a criminal background to carry a concealed handgun without a permit. This bill also authorizes a person to possess a loaded pistol or revolver while in a motor vehicle or trailer or other vehicle being hauled by a motor vehicle. On July 8, Gov. LePage signed LD 652 into law over the objections of local police and sheriff organizations and gun control advocates.

LD 868: An Act to Remove Limitations on Reciprocity for Concealed Handguns Permits was signed into law by Gov. LePage on June 5. LD 868 removes the authority of the chief of the State Police to enter into reciprocity agreements with other states and eliminates the required equivalency provisions and simply recognizes a concealed handgun permit issued to a person by that person’s state of residence if that person’s state of residence honors a permit to carry a concealed handgun issued under Maine law.

LD 424: An Act to Allow the Use of Suppressors for Hunting Nuisance Wildlife failed in the legislature on May 20. However, LD 942: An Act to Permit the Use of Firearm Noise Suppression Devices in Hunting and to Provide for a Chief Law Enforcement Officer’s Certification for Certain Firearms prevailed. LD 942 became law on June 25, despite concerns expressed by Maine Inland Fisheries & Wildlife and private landowners regarding hunters discharging a weapon too close to a dwelling, increased difficulty in detecting poachers and safety concerns about being in the area of hunters.

LD 335: An Act to Restrict the Sale of Dogs and Cats in Pet Shops was passed by the Legislature on June 11. The legislature did not muster enough votes to override Gov. LePage’s veto of June 23, with the governor and some legislators reportedly calling LD 335 bad for business. Not passing this bill is bad for the adult dogs and cats who will continue to suffer in overcrowded breeding facilities, which have been cited multiple times for cruelty to animals by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

LD 1378: An Act to Amend the Laws Governing the Issuance of Bonds and to Effectuate the Issuance of Bonds to Support Maine’s Natural Resource-based Economy would require the Governor to release previously voter-approved bonds for land conservation projects that he is withholding until the Legislature approves some of his priorities. This measure was vetoed by Gov. LePage on June 30. The Legislature will reconsider this important bi-partisan bill and other vetoed legislation on July 16.

— Val Philbrick works in the production department of the Journal Tribune as a pre-press person. She is a member of PETA and the National Humane Society.