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Maine Legislature wraps up work session on 'Veto Day'

All fell short of a two-thirds majority in the House, so there was no need for further votes in the Senate.

AUGUSTA, Maine — The 130th Maine Legislature finished its work for the year and adjourned.  

Lawmakers in the Senate and House passed one final package of corrections to earlier bills and went home around 6:30 p.m. on Monday.

It has been a challenging two years for lawmakers, with the COVID pandemic forcing committees to meet remotely, and the House and Senate to hold fewer full sessions earlier in the year than they normally would.

The House had to pass the “correction” package with a two-thirds majority vote, but a number of lawmakers had gone home early. So, legislative leaders sent out messages to summon members back to the State House to muster the 101 votes needed for final passage.

The major focus of the day, however, was on dealing with the five vetoes of earlier bills from Gov. Janet Mills.

Original reporting from the Associated Press:

The Maine Legislature sustained five vetoes by Gov. Janet Mills on Monday as lawmakers wrapped up their work.

Bills that were vetoed focused on the governance of the University of Maine System; electric transmission lines; probation and conditions of release; retaliation against workers utilizing earned paid leave; and tax incentives for the forest products sector.

All fell short of a two-thirds majority in the House, so there was no need for further votes in the Senate.

The day started with the ceremonial signing of a bill that strengthened the state's so-called Good Samaritan law at a time of record drug overdoses. It builds on a 2019 law that exempts from criminal liability the person who calls 911 for help, along with the person who overdosed.

New changes signed by the governor exempt from prosecution anyone assisting at the scene. The goal of the law is to encourage people to help instead of declining to report an overdose for fear of being arrested.

On Monday, lawmakers mainly were mopping up.

All told, 969 bills have become law, and 27 bills have been vetoed during the two-year legislative cycle. No vetoes were overturned.

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