Legislative leaders met October 30 to vote on which bills to approve for consideration in the 2014 session of the nearly 400 proposals submitted by legislators.
The session, which convenes January 8, is expected to be politically contentious as lawmakers and Gov. Paul LePage prepare the stage for the November 2014 election. (Governor LePage this week announced he is running for re-election.)
Here are some of the 99 new proposals that will be considered in 2014. A more complete list will be provided later.
* Require lenders to provide student loan applicants with information regarding career lifetime earnings (based on Labor department data), the probability of finding a job in Maine in the students’ field of study, and other information that is intended to make students more aware of their opportunities.
* Undo a 2011 regulatory streamlining reform and restore power to the Board of Environmental Protection to review routine technical rules and enforcement actions.
Energy & Utilities
* Amend the Maine Wind Energy Act to establish a decision-making basis, clarify energy and emission related benefits, and confirm the Act’s policy objectives.
Health & Human Services
* Expand federally-funded healthcare to low-income Maine people (the Medicaid expansion issue that was vetoed last session).
Insurance & Financial Services
* Restrict the ability of health plans such as Anthem from establishing narrow networks of providers. Also adopt stronger standards for state review of requests from health insurers to discontinue existing plans and establish new plans.
Labor & Commerce
* Protect Maine consumers from abusive and deceptive debt collection by incorporating into Maine law certain rules adopted by the state of New York.
* Protect the employment and re-employment rights of military service members returning to the civilian workforce in Maine.
* Establish an income tax credit up to $2,400 for veterans who pursue education and training.
* Clarify the sales tax on newspapers and periodicals and establish a sunset on the tax.
Additional information may be found on the Office of Legislative Information website. www.maine.gov/legis/lio/publications.htm
The 2014 legislative session will include bills held over from the 2013 session, the new bills approved by legislative leaders, study committee proposals, as well as proposals from state agencies and the Governor.