AUGUSTA — The Legislature will reconvene Wednesday to take up about 20 bills that have been vetoed by Gov. Paul LePage, including a measure that would set up the regulatory framework for the sale of adult-use recreational marijuana.

Lawmakers may also try to complete work on a number of unfinished bills, including passing a law that provides over $1 billion in state funding for public education in the next fiscal year, which starts on July 1. However, there are partisan disputes over whether to resume legislative work or simply take up LePage’s vetoes.

To overturn a veto by the governor, a bill needs to receive at least two-thirds support from all those present and voting in both the House and in the Senate.

By law, the Legislature was supposed to adjourn April 17, but with unfinished business the Republican-controlled Senate and Democratic-majority House sought to extend the session by five days. However, the 70-member House Republican caucus, led by Minority Leader Ken Fredette of Newport, derailed that effort. Fredette and other House Republicans have said Democrats were bundling bills together, including the start of a funding mechanism for a ballot-box law that would expand Medicaid to an estimated 70,000 more Mainers.

While Democrats have pushed to move ahead with the process, House Republicans and LePage have said they want a sustainable, long-term funding mechanism in place first but have also ruled out increasing taxes or raiding the state’s savings account as a way to fund the expansion.

House Republicans have also attempted to slow down increases in the minimum wage, which voters passed at the ballot box in 2016, arguing the increases are too much for Maine small businesses to sustain. Democrats, who hold the majority in the House, have been unwilling to roll back the voter-approved minimum wage law.

House Republicans on Tuesday released a list of 15 “good governance” bills, offered by both Democrats and Republicans, that both sides seem to be in agreement on. The bills include an $11.1 million measure to increase reimbursement rates for direct care workers and another aimed at increasing access to services for those with intellectual disabilities or autism.

Also on the list is a bill that would provide a cost-of-living adjustment to nursing homes, and another $9 million to reduce the waiting lists for services for those with intellectual disabilities.

But it remained unclear Tuesday how lawmakers would press ahead with work beyond voting on the vetoes. The Legislature could call itself into special session, if it can gain support for doing that from a majority of all five of the official party caucuses, including Republicans and Democrats in the House and the Senate, as well as the one Green Party caucus member, Rep. Ralph Chapman of Brooksville.

LePage could also call the Legislature back for a special session, but he cannot limit lawmakers’ actions once they return. With all 151 seats of the Legislature up for election this year, and with several lawmakers running for the governor’s office, many are anxious to get on the campaign trail, especially those facing primary challenges in June.

LePage vetoed the marijuana bill last Friday, after a special legislative committee worked for nearly a year to craft the details of the law. While the bill passed the Legislature by veto-proof margins, it is unclear whether House Republicans will flip votes to sustain LePage’s position, which they have done previously.

LePage also vetoed a bill last week that would have provided $2.2 million to child abuse prevention programs, which was also overwhelmingly approved by lawmakers.

Other bills LePage has vetoed include one that would have allowed easier over-the-counter access to the overdose antidote naloxone regardless of a person’s age, as well as a bill meant to protect college students from predatory lending practices by those who offer student loans.

In addition, LePage also vetoed a bill that would have allowed the city of Portland to increase by one the total number of state-licensed liquor stores allowed in the city. Current law caps the total to 10 for Portland, the state’s largest city.

Lawmakers are expected to start their work at 10 a.m.

Scott Thistle can be contacted at 713-6720 or at:

[email protected]

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