Time is running out fast for Maine lawmakers who must adjourn the current legislative session by Wednesday but still have crucial work to do, including passage of the state’s supplemental budget. But lawmakers don’t appear poised to call for a special session to extend their work.

Other high-profile bills that have yet to receive full approval in the Legislature include a suite of gun safety bills – though some progress was made in the House on Monday afternoon.

The Senate did give final passage Monday to legislation authorizing up to $30 million to pay for repairs to wharves and piers of commercial fisheries, aquaculture businesses and public projects that need to be strengthened to face increasingly frequent and damaging storms.

And several other already approved bills are still waiting for their chance at funding. Any approved bill that requires extra state funding still needs the all-important stamp of approval from the Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee. Without it, a bill that appeared to enjoy political support in both chambers could end up dying for lack of funding.

The Senate passed a joint order Monday, by a 19-13 vote, to keep any unfinished business alive so that it could be taken up at a special session. It is a standard operating procedure at the end of every legislative session, according to Christine Kirby, a spokesperson for Senate President Troy Jackson, D-Allagash.

But House Majority Leader Mo Terry, D-Gorham, effectively killed any hope of a special session when she moved to indefinitely postpone the Senate’s carryover order Monday afternoon. The motion was approved without any debate.


The presiding officers can propose a special session but they need the support of at least two-thirds of the members of both political parties to call one. Many members oppose special sessions because they have jobs to which they must return, planned vacations or family commitments.

Gov. Janet Mills could order lawmakers back to work, but a spokesman said that wasn’t going to happen.

“The Governor has no intention of calling a special session to extend the legislative session,” spokesman Scott Ogden wrote in an email Monday. “The Legislature needs to find a way to complete its work, including passing a supplemental budget, by statutory adjournment.”

Calling a special session to finish work is more common than not in Maine – it’s happened in all but one of the last five legislative sessions. Last year, Mills convened a special session that added a month to the legislative calendar to adopt a complete state budget.

Missing the statutory deadline also takes a toll on taxpayers. Last year, legislative staff calculated that each day of a special session costs taxpayers about $44,000 to pay staff and keep the State House itself operating.

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