The Maine Senate voted unanimously Monday to pass a bill that changes the way political action committees make payments to legislators who are connected to PACs in leadership roles or as primary fundraisers.

The bill sponsored by Sen. Chloe Maxmin, D-Nobleboro, goes to Gov. Janet Mills for her signature. The governor will have 10 days to sign the bill into law, to veto it, or to allow it to become law without her signature. The House of Representatives approved the bill,  L.D. 1621, last week.

“This is a necessary step in making our politics more honest and transparent,” Maxmin said. “Running for office shouldn’t be seen as an opportunity to enrich oneself, and Maine people should have the confidence that safeguards are in place to make sure that doesn’t happen. I’m grateful to my colleagues for supporting these common-sense reforms.”

The bill would change laws governing payments to a legislator by a PAC if the legislator is a principal officer or treasurer of the PAC or is one of the people primarily responsible for raising contributions or making decisions for the PAC.

The changes include bans on compensating a family member of a legislator or a business owned by a legislator for services provided to the PAC, reimbursing a legislator for expenses that will be reimbursed by the Legislature and paying a legislator for unnecessary vehicle repairs.

A PAC or legislator violating these laws may be subject to a penalty of up to $500 or the amount of the unlawful payment or reimbursement, whichever is greater.

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