CARRY OVER BILLS
(from Maine Townsman, July 1999) By MMA State & Federal Relations Staff

Thousands of bills were introduced to the 119th Legislature in its first session, an all-time record. As a consequence, hundreds of bills were carried over to the Legislature’s second session, which begins in January. The high percentage of carry-over bills this year represents another all-time record.

What follows is a listing of all the bills of municipal interest that MMA was tracking which have been carried over to the next legislative session. These carry-over bills have been organized according to the various legislative committees of jurisdiction.

What is important for municipal officials to keep in mind with respect to any of these carry-over bills is that work tends to continue on the initiative during the period of time between legislative sessions. Far too often, supporters or opponents of a carry-over initiative will act as though the proposal has gone dormant from the time it is carried over until the Legislature reconvenes. It is more often the case that interest groups on all sides of a carried-over bill will continue to lobby the bill, develop alternative language, and otherwise prepare to deal with the bill in the second legislative session long before the Legislature reconvenes.

For this reason, municipal officials interested in any of the carry-over legislation listed below should stick with those bills through the summer and fall and into next session. Talk with the bill’s sponsor, send a letter expressing your point of view to the members of the legislative committee of jurisdiction, communicate with your own legislators, and work with MMA to get your point across.

Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry

LD 449 – An Act Requiring Disclosures to be Made to Purchasers of Land Abutting Agricultural Land (Sponsored by Rep. Savage of Union)

This bill would require a written notice to be provided to a person buying property adjacent to farmland that would put the buyer on notice with regard to the general nature of agricultural activity and inform the buyer about the community’s policy to protect farmland.

Appropriations and Financial Affairs

LD 35 – An Act to Authorize a General Fund Bond Issue to Create Affordable Housing (Sponsored by Rep. Brennan of Portland).

This bill proposes a $10 million bond issue to provide affordable and accessible housing for persons who are homeless, mentally retarded or mentally ill.

LD 1590 – An Act to Authorize a General Fund Bond Issue in the Amount of $10,000,000 to Support the Construction of the Gulf of Maine Aquarium (Sponsored by Rep. Rowe of Portland)

This bill would send out to the voters a bond proposal for $10 million to support the construction of the Gulf of Maine Aquarium.

LD 1662 – An Act to Protect the Public’s Health Through State-funded Rabies Testing (Sponsored by Sen. Kilkelly of Lincoln County)

This bill would require all rabies testing to be funded through a yearly appropriation from the State’s General Fund to the Health and Environmental Testing Laboratory within the Department of Human Services, Bureau of Health.

Business and Economic Development

LD 526 – Resolve, Creating the Commission to Study Economic Development Opportunities for Lewiston and Auburn (Sponsored by Rep. Mendros of Lewiston)

This bill would create a 13-member legislative commission to study and make recommendations with regard to the economic development opportunities for Lewiston and Auburn.

LD 678 – An Act to Require Completion of an Ambulance Operator Course (Sponsored by Rep. Bull of Freeport)

This bill would require a person who routinely operates an ambulance to complete an ambulance operator course beginning January 1, 2002.

LD 1414 – Resolve, to Support Downtown Revitalization through the Location of State Facilities and Targeting Economic Development Funding (Sponsored by Sen. Treat of Kennebec County)

This resolve would direct the Department of Economic and Community Development to develop a state policy that gives preference to locating state facilities in downtown areas to avoid urban sprawl.

LD 1910 – An Act to Promote Economic Development in Central Maine (Sponsored by Rep. Campbell of Holden)

This bill is in the form of a "concept draft" that would accomplish a number of economic development goals targeted to central Maine. Of direct municipal interest is the concept of "modifying the current local administrative contracting program for road building to provide for the construction of local roads quicker and less expensively."

LD 2060 – An Act to License Home Building Contractors (Sponsored by Rep. Norbert of Portland)

This bill would establish a licensing requirement for home building contractors. Pertinent to municipalities, the bill would require municipal building inspectors to include in their inspections of building projects a review of the contractor’s construction practices with respect to eight possible contractor violations established in the bill, including lack of ability, lack of diligence, negligence, misconduct, abandoning a contract, or willfully violating state or local codes. If the code official observes any of these violations, the bill directs the code officer to report that finding to the Board of House Building Construction.

LD 2142 – An Act to Change Laws Pertaining to the Loring Development Authority of Maine (Sponsored by Rep. O’Neal of Limestone)

This bill reconfigures the composition of the board of trustees for the Loring Development Authority of Maine so that the City of Caribou, the Town of Caswell and the Town of Limestone each nominate one member to the board, three members of the board may be nominated by any other municipality in Aroostook County, and one member is nominated by the county commissioners of Aroostook County. This bill also allows the current members of the board of trustees to finish their terms and the reconfigured board to be phased-in as the current members’ terms expire.

LD 2217 – An Act to Promote Economic Development in Androscoggin County (Sponsored by Rep. Mendros of Lewiston)

This bill is a concept draft that would implement legislation to improve Androscoggin County by: (1) implementing some recommendations of the "Downtown Initiative" as developed by DECD; (2) assisting in the development of a prefabrication industrial park; (3) promoting the region as a tourist and special event location through advertising; and (4) reviewing rules, regulations and taxes for the purpose of "promoting a stable economic environment."

Criminal Justice

LD 353 – An Act Regarding the Administration of Polygraph Tests to Prospective Law Enforcement Personnel (Sponsored by Rep. Muse of South Portland)

Current law allows an employer to require an applicant for the position of law enforcement officer and any of that applicant’s employees to submit to a polygraph examination. This bill would restrict the authority to require a pre-employment polygraph to the law enforcement applicant only and not that applicant’s employees.

LD 546 – An Act to Exempt Certain Law Enforcement Officers from the Full Course of Training at the Maine Criminal Justice Academy (Sponsored by Rep. Pieh of Bremen)

This bill would exempt harbor masters and municipal shellfish conservation wardens from the full course of study at the Maine Criminal Justice Academy. This bill would not exempt those officials from ongoing training requirements.

LD 637 – An Act to Amend the Law Enforcement Officer Certification Standards (Sponsored by Sen. Murray of Penobscot County)

This bill would delete statutory references to separate training standards for part-time and full-time law enforcement officers. After obtaining a pre-service training certification, a law enforcement officer would be re-certified based on the officer’s demonstration of knowledge and skills directly related to job performance instead of his or her part-time or full-time employment.

LD 903 – An Act to Amend the Concealed Weapons Permit Laws (Sponsored by Rep. Wheeler of Bridgewater)

This bill would remove selectmen as an authority that can issue concealed weapons permits. Under this bill, a municipal police chief could be an issuing authority for residents in municipalities with a police chief. Otherwise, the State Police would be the issuing authority. This bill would also make a number of changes to the permitting procedure, including increasing the fee from $35 to $45 (with $35 retained by the municipality where applicable), requiring photographs on all permits, etc.

LD 2069 – An Act to Establish a Critical Incident Review Panel Regarding Physical Force Used by Officers Causing Serious Bodily Injury or Death to Another Person (Sponsored by Rep. LaVerdiere of Wilton)

This bill would require law enforcement agencies to conduct reviews of incidents with law enforcement personnel that result in serious injury or death to be completed within 30 days. The bill would also establish a 5-member "critical incident review panel" which would also conduct an investigation of the incident and release a report to the public of its findings.

LD 2196 – An Act Concerning the Formation of the Central Maine Regional Public Safety Communication Center (Sponsored by Rep. Colwell of Gardiner)

This bill would create a regional public safety communication center with the participation of the Maine State Police, the Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office, and the municipalities of Gardiner, Augusta, Waterville, Winslow and Oakland.

Education and Cultural Affairs

LD 269 – An Act to Authorize a General Fund Bond Issue for the Repair and Renovation of Schools (Sponsored by Rep. Brennan of Portland)

This bill would send out to the voters a proposed bond issue of $35 million for the renovation and repair of Maine’s schools. The bill would also appropriate $10 million from the General Fund for that purpose.

LD 870 – An Act to Improve School Safety and Learning Environments (Sponsored by Sen. Lawrence of York County)

This bill would increase the school construction debt limit within the General Purpose Aid to Education account from $70 million to $80 million over the next four years. This bill would also appropriate $20 million to retire state-only school construction debt which would have the effect of freeing the State Board of Education to approve additional school construction within the debt service ceiling. Finally, this bill would appropriate an additional $20 million to further capitalize the School Revolving Renovation Fund.

LD 933 – An Act to Permit the Submission of Citizens’ Initiatives and Citizens’ Vetoes to School Districts (Sponsored by Rep. Glynn of South Portland)

This bill would allow the registered voters of any school administrative unit to petition their school board with proposed rules or school policy and, if not adopted by the school board, put the petitioned policy or rule up to a referendum vote. This bill would also create a "people’s veto" process for school policy adopted by the school boards.

LD 1346 – An Act to Amend the Laws Regarding the School Administrative District Budget Approval Process (Sponsored by Rep. Brooks of Winterport)

This bill would amend the law governing the SAD referendum process by not allowing the SAD to revert to an open budget meeting when a budget is not approved by the voters at referendum. In the case of a school budget that fails twice at referendum, the SAD directors would be prohibited from proposing a third or subsequent budget that demands more from the property tax base than the previous year’s budget, adjusted by the Cost of Living index. (See related discussion in a companion article in this issue of the Townsman covering Task Forces and Study Commissions.)

LD 1725 – An Act to Allow the Towns of Wells and Ogunquit to Withdraw from Their Community School District (Sponsored by Sen. Lawrence of York County)

This bill would allow the Town of Wells and the Town of Ogunquit to withdraw from the Wells-Ogunquit Community School District.

LD 1799 – An Act Regarding the School Funding Formula (Sponsored by Rep. Brennan of Portland).

This bill amends the distribution calculation of state educational subsidy (GPA) by: (1) adjusting the income and cost-of-living factors that influence subsidy distribution in a manner that makes them less subject to annual variations; (2) segregating the debt service appropriation from the other appropriated components of GPA; and (3) appropriating $29.5 million for FY 2000 to fully fund actual local program costs.

Health and Human Services

LD 1952 – An Act to Simplify the Process of Determining the Eligibility of Homeless Persons for General Assistance (Sponsored by Rep. Kane of Saco)

This bill would amend the determination of the municipality of responsibility with respect to providing general assistance to homeless persons in shelters. Under current law, the determination is based upon the recipient’s place of residence immediately before entering the shelter. Under this bill, the municipality that is the host to the shelter would administer the recipient’s application for general assistance, but the state would reimburse the host municipality for 100% of the general assistance provided on behalf of the recipient for the first 45 consecutive days of the recipient’s stay at the shelter.

LD 2046 – An Act to Amend the Powers of Hospital Administrative District No. 1 (Sponsored by Sen. Cathcart of Penobscot County)

This bill would create a hospital administrative district for the purpose of creating and administering a regional hospital for a dozen towns around the town of Lincoln in Penobscot County.

LD 2150 – An Act to Ensure Community-based Services for Persons With Mental Retardation or Autism (Sponsored by Rep. Quint of Portland)

This bill would incorporate into statute portions of the 1994 Community Consent Decree for the protection of services to persons with mental retardation or autism. Consistent with the decree, the bill would establish a policy of providing education, training and support services and programs to persons with mental retardation or autism, with a focus on community-based services. While the thrust of the bill articulates the various responsibilities of the Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation, the bill would also establish express authority for municipalities and other local governmental units to adopt and carry out a program of services, or to collaboratively develop a program of services, for persons of mental retardation or autism.

LD 2187 – Resolve, to Implement the Study and Report on the Problems of Homeless Youth (Sponsored by Rep. Quint of Portland)

This resolve would implement four recommendations of the Interagency Task Force on Homelessness and Housing Opportunities. Among other studies required by this bill, a 9-member task force would be created to study the impact of legislative changes to the General Assistance program in the early 1990’s on homelessness in Maine. The bill would also call for a doubling of the state’s annual appropriation to the Temporary Housing Assistance program, from $250,000 to $500,000.

LD 2212 – An Act to Revise Laws Regarding Persons with Mental Retardation (Sponsored by Rep. Kane of Saco)

This bill would revise and update the laws regarding state agency responsibility to assist persons with mental retardation or autism in order to more accurately reflect current practices and to bring the law into compliance with judicial mandates. Several elements of the bill would articulate the relationship between the Department of Mental Health & Retardation and the municipalities where services to persons with mental retardation or autism would be provided.

Inland Fisheries and Wildlife

LD 1313 – An Act to Give the Commissioner of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife the Sole Discretion to Determine the Need for and Location of Boat Launches (Sponsored by Rep. Clark of Millinocket)

This bill would prohibit a municipality or any other "person" from locating or constructing a boat launch without express permission from the Commissioner of the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

Judiciary

LD 470 – An Act Requiring Compensation for Loss of Property Value Due to State or Local Regulation (Sponsored by Rep. Glynn of South Portland)

This bill would require the state and any municipality to pay property owners when state or local regulations lower the owner’s property value by more than 50%.

LD 1251 – An Act to Change the Reimbursement Rate for Law Enforcement Personnel Who Testify in Court (Sponsored by Rep. Lemont of Kittery)

This bill would increase the reimbursement paid to a municipality for the time a municipal law enforcement officer spends in District Court to testify in the prosecution of offenses. The current "witness fee" for law enforcement officers is $25 per day. Under this bill, the reimbursement would increase to $50 per day.

LD 1971 – An Act Regarding Property Tax Liens (Sponsored by Sen. Cathcart of Penobscot County)

This bill would require the seller of property to formally notify the state tax assessor and the municipal assessor of the transfer of ownership of that person’s property within 10 days of the sale. The bill would also require an assessor, after receiving the seller’s notice, to place any lien on that property in the buyer’s name rather than the seller’s name, even though the seller is the owner of record with respect to the tax delinquency.

LD 2051 – An Act to Clarify the Immunity of Law Enforcement Officers in Enforcing Protective Orders (Sponsored by Rep. Dudley of Portland)

This bill would clarify that the immunity from civil liability under the Maine Tort Claims Act that applies to law enforcement officers when they are serving a protective order continues to apply regardless of where the protective order was issued.

Labor

LD 357 – An Act Raising the Minimum Wage (Sponsored by Rep. Hatch of Skowhegan)

This bill would raise the minimum wage in Maine on 1/1/2000 to $5.50/hour and on 1/1/2002 to $6.00/hour. Every January 1 thereafter, the minimum wage would be adjusted administratively according to the Consumer Price Index.

LD 810 – An Act to Encourage Responsible Employment Practices (Sponsored by Sen. Cathcart of Penobscot County)

This bill would establish standards of "responsible employment" that would be required of all companies that contract on public improvement projects for the state, including school construction projects which involve any state money. The standards would include: paying prevailing wages, offering health insurance with at least a 50% employer contribution, providing workers’ compensation protection directly, and providing a state-approved training or apprenticeship program.

LD 1019 – An Act to Limit Mandatory Overtime (Sponsored by Rep. Hatch of Skowhegan)

This bill would prohibit an employer from requiring an employee, except a seasonal employee, to work more than 40 overtime hours in any period of two calendar weeks.

LD 1166 – An Act to Establish Occupational Health and Safety Standards for Operators of Video Display Terminals (Sponsored by Sen. Rand of Cumberland County)

This bill would require employers to maintain certain working conditions for employees operating video display terminals including glare reduction, swivel chairs, flexible work breaks, and paid leaves for vision examinations.

LD 1358 – An Act to Promote Stability in Labor Management Relations in the Public Sector (Sponsored by Rep. Hatch of Skowhegan)

This bill would provide that all terms and conditions of an expired public sector labor contract would remain in effect until a new contract is executed. Under current law, the grievance arbitration provisions remain in effect, but other elements of the expired contract do not.

LD 1988 – An Act to Provide for Benefits to Surviving Dependents of Employees Who Die as a Result of Work Injuries (Sponsored by Rep. Hatch of Skowhegan)

This bill would amend Workers’ Compensation law as it relates to the benefits received by the spouse and dependents of a worker who dies as a result of work injuries. Among other changes, the bill would extend the benefit period for those dependents beyond the current 500 week maximum, allowing payable compensation until the death of the dependent spouse. After the death of the dependent spouse, the bill would continue to provide benefits to any dependent child of the worker under 18 years of age who is physically or mentally handicapped.

LD 1989 – An Act to Amend Binding Arbitration to Include Salaries, Pensions and Insurance for State, Legislative and Municipal Employees and to Provide a Process for Voting when a Public Employer’s Last Offer is Not Selected (Sponsored by Rep. Richardson of Brunswick)

This bill would create binding arbitration for state, legislative and municipal employees to include determinations regarding salaries, pensions and insurance. Once a decision of a majority of the arbitrators is made it would be binding on the municipality except that the municipal officers could send the decision of the arbitrators out to referendum. If the voters of the municipality do not approve the decision of the arbitrators, the issue goes back to the arbitrators to make another decision.

LD 2075 – An Act to Amend the Maine Workers’ Compensation Act of 1992 as it Pertains to Occupational Health (Sponsored by Rep. Cowger of Hallowell)

This bill would amend the Workers’ Compensation Act to identify 30 possible metal or chemical agents that could cause disease for which an employee could obtain benefits under the Act, even if disease manifests outside of the 3-year limit that generally governs the time period within which a claim can be filed. Under current law, only asbestos-related disease and occupationally-related cancer in firefighters can trigger workers’ compensation benefits outside of the three-year window.

LD 2124 – An Act to Change the State Retirement System from a Defined Benefit Plan to a Defined Contribution Plan (Sponsored by Rep. Mack of Standish)

This bill would switch the Maine State Retirement System over to a defined contribution retirement system as of July 1, 2000. Active employees on that date would have the choice of remaining in the current plan or switching to the defined contribution system, where the employer would match the employee’s contribution of 6% of salary.

Legal and Veterans Affairs

LD 873 – An Act to Clarify Municipal Responsibility for the Maintenance of Veterans’ Gravesites (Sponsored by Sen. Lawrence of York County)

This bill would expand the current requirement that municipalities maintain the graves of all veterans of war so that municipalities would be required to maintain the graves of all veterans whether or not they served in wartime. This bill would also increase the penalty on municipalities for failing to maintain the graves from a flat $100 to $500 per cemetery. Finally, this bill would require municipalities to follow the National Flag Code in the handling and display of American flags. (See related discussion in a companion article in this issue of the Townsman covering Task Forces and Study Commissions.)

LD 1149 – An Act to Require the Municipal Clerk to Attend at Least One Training Session that is Approved by the Secretary of State Every 2 Years Regarding the Conduct of Elections (Sponsored by Rep. Fisher of Brewer)

This bill would require municipal clerks to attend a training session at least once every two years regarding the conduct of elections.

LD 1796 – An Act to Improve the Absentee Voting Process (Sponsored by Sen. Daggett of Kennebec County)

This bill would allow any voter to vote by absentee ballot at any election without having to state any reason for voting absentee. The bill establishes the entire procedure governing this absentee voting process.

LD 2162 – RESOLUTION, Proposing an Amendment to the Constitution of Maine to Allow Persons with Mental Illness to Vote (Sponsored by Rep. Brennan of Portland)

This resolution would send out to the voters a proposed amendment to the Constitution that would repeal a clause that prohibits persons under guardianship for reasons of mental illness from voting at statewide elections.

Natural Resources

LD 21 – An Act to Eliminate the Use of MTBE in Maine (Sponsored by Rep. Tripp of Topsham)

This bill would prohibit the sale of gasoline or fuel products in Maine that contain methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE).

LD 1080 – An Act to Direct State Capital Investments to Locally Designated Growth Areas (Sponsored by Sen. Longley of Waldo County)

This bill would define the types of state investments that are "growth-related" capital investments and it would require most of those types of state investments to be located in municipally-designated growth zones or in municipal areas that have sewer facilities sufficient to support the development. Exceptions are made for certain state investments that would logically not occur in growth areas. This bill would also require all state agencies that may award investment grants to municipalities to give preference to those municipalities with comprehensive plans that have been awarded a certificate of consistency by the state.

LD 1209 – An Act Regarding Property Owners Whose Land Abuts a Solid or Special Waste Landfill (Sponsored by Rep. Tracy of Rome)

This bill would entitle the abutters of solid waste landfills to a semiannual water test paid by the landfill’s licensee as well as 5% of the tipping fees received by the landfill licensee to compensate for loss of enjoyment of the abutter’s property.

LD 1457 – An Act to Decrease Restrictions on the Sale of Land (Sponsored by Rep. Clough of Scarborough)

This bill would amend the subdivision law to permit a landowner to divide a parcel of land into 3 lots within any 5-year period without creating a subdivision if the landowner has owned the lot for a period of 5 years before the first dividing occurs and both dividings create a lot no larger than 140% of the applicable minimum lot size according to local ordinance. (See related discussion in a companion article in this issue of the Townsman covering Task Forces and Study Commissions.)

LD 2084 – An Act to Reduce the Release of Mercury into the Environment from Consumer Products (Sponsored by Sen. Treat of Kennebec County)

This bill would address the issue of mercury in consumer products in the following ways: (1) municipal and regional solid waste disposal facilities would have to develop programs to collect mercury-added products with an implementation deadline of 6/1/2001; (2) the manufacturers of mercury-added products would be required to develop a collection system for their products; (3) the sales of toys, games and apparel containing mercury would be banned; and (4) other products containing mercury (thermostats, switches, etc.) would have to be clearly labeled.

LD 2182 – An Act to Improve Air Quality Through Market Incentives for the Purchase of Cleaner Vehicles (Sponsored by Rep. Watson of Farmingdale)

This bill would create a program administered by the state whereby rebates would be distributed to people who purchase cars that are very low-polluting according to standards developed by the Cleaner Car Rebate Board. The revenues going into the rebate fund would be generated by creating a surcharge on the motor vehicle excise tax of $5 for a new current model motor vehicle and $3 for any other motor vehicle.

State and Local Government

LD 299 – An Act to Create a Governance System for Unorganized Towns (Sponsored by Rep. Joy of Crystal)

This bill is a "concept draft" that would grant all rights and privileges of organized municipalities to the unorganized townships. The bill would also allow the organized municipalities to disorganize and, with the permission of the Legislature, join the new governance system of the unorganized towns.

LD 529 – An Act Regarding Retainage on Major State and School Construction Projects (Sponsored by Sen. Nutting of Androscoggin County)

This bill would comprehensively amend the law regarding the amount of a school construction contract that may be "retained" by the school unit or municipality during construction of a school facility as leverage to ensure timely and satisfactory performance. Under current law, 5% of the total contract price is retained by the owner pending completion of the project. Under this bill, the construction project would have to be broken down into contract line items, and 100% of each of those line items would have to be released at the satisfactory completion of each line.

LD 1849 – An Act to Amend the Laws Governing Public Easements and the Discontinuance of Town Ways (Sponsored by Rep. McKee of Wayne)

Current law requires a municipal order that discontinues a town way to expressly declare that the public easement is being extinguished or else the public easement is retained. This bill would strike the presumptive continuation of the public easement and require that the order expressly declare the retention of the public easement. (See related discussion in a companion article in this issue of the Townsman covering Task Forces and Study Commissions.)

LD 1876 – An Act to Reform County Governance (Sponsored by Sen. Mills of Somerset County)

This bill in "concept draft" form would reform county governance by increasing the number of county commissioners, staggering their terms, and authorizing the commissioners to appoint the sheriff, register of deeds, register of probate, county treasurer, and judge of probate.

LD 1990 – An Act to Require Economic and Taking Impact Analyses to Protect Individual Rights (Sponsored by Rep. Joy of Crystal)

This bill would require state and local government to conduct an economic impact analysis and a "takings" impact analysis before enacting or adopting any law, rule, policy or ordinance. This bill would also establish a number of criteria that would require land use regulations to be directly related and proportionate to the regulation’s stated purpose of protecting health and safety. The bill would prohibit a governmental entity from charging any fees associated with the land use permitting process. The bill would also establish an appeal process that local government would have to administer when property owners appeal on the claim of a regulatory taking. Finally, the bill would require state and local government to adhere to the legal principles expressed in ten specific state and federal court decisions.

LD 2121 – An Act Regarding Regulations and Compensation to Property Owners (Sponsored by Rep. Joy of Crystal)

This is a "takings" bill that would require state and local government to compensate a property owner for any reduction in property value when his or her property is "taken" by the enactment of a law, rule, or ordinance.

Taxation

LD 166 – An Act to Amend the Public Property Tax Exemption (Sponsored by Sen. O’Gara of Cumberland County)

This bill would amend the language that provides a property tax exemption for certain property owned by a municipal or quasi-municipal corporation that supplies water, power, or light where that property is not located within the limits of the municipal or quasi-municipal corporation. Specifically, this bill would remove water treatment plants, filtration plants, ozonization plants, etc. from eligibility for the exemption.

LD 544 – An Act to Value Homestead Exemption Farm Land at Current Use (Sponsored by Rep. Green of Monmouth)

This bill would amend the statutory definition of "just value" as that term is used for the purpose of property tax assessing to require the assessment of farmland at its "current use".

LD 809 – An Act to Create a Local Option Sales and Use Tax (Sponsored by Sen. Murray of Penobscot County)

This bill would allow a municipality, by referendum vote, to create a one-penny local option sales and use tax. 50% of the revenue obtained through the local option sales tax would be transmitted to the applicable county government for the express purpose of reducing the county’s assessment to all municipalities in the county.

LD 1122 – An Act to Return a Percentage of the Meals and Lodging Tax to the Municipality in Which Those Taxes were Levied (Sponsored by Rep. Lemoine of Old Orchard Beach)

This bill would require the state to remit to the municipality of origin 10% of the revenue collected by the meals and lodging tax.

LD 1453 – An Act to Expand the Homestead Exemption Program Based Upon the Level of Funds in a Homestead Tax Relief Fund (Sponsored by Rep. Gagnon of Waterville)

This bill would create the Homestead Tax Relief Fund which would be the repository for unexpended appropriations to the Homestead Tax Exemption program, unexpended appropriations to the circuit breaker program, and transfers to the Rainy Day Fund under other provisions of law that cannot be accomplished because the Rainy Day Fund is at its capacity. The revenues transferred to this new fund would be used to increase the value of the Homestead Exemption in the subsequent year, not to exceed $10,000.

LD 1587 – An Act to Allow the Surviving Veteran Spouse of a Veteran to Continue to Receive the Property Tax Exemption (Sponsored by Rep. Pieh of Bremen).

This bill would amend the entitlement of an unremarried "widow" of a veteran to the veterans exemption by changing the wording to unremarried "surviving spouse".

LD 1883 – An Act to Ensure that Certain Land Transfers Accomplished through Stock Transfers are not Exempt from the Transfer Tax (Sponsored by Sen. Michaud of Penobscot County)

This bill would remove certain exemptions to the real estate transfer tax that apply to corporate land transactions, such as the transaction between a parent and a subsidiary corporate entity.

LD 1921 – An Act to Promote Land Conservation at the Local Level (Sponsored by Rep. Etnier of Harpswell)

This bill would allow counties to hold a referendum to authorize a county-wide local option real estate transfer tax that could impose no more than a 5% increase on the state-imposed real estate transfer tax rate. The money obtained by the county under this local option tax would have to be used to purchase or improve public lands within the county.

LD 1940 – An Act to Create Standards of Eligibility Governing Tax-exempt Organizations and to Phase in a Reduction of the Rate of Exemption to Reflect the Cost of Providing Essential Municipal Services (Sponsored by Sen. Daggett of Kennebec County)

This bill would amend property tax exemption law to create three standards of eligibility for charitable organizations to obtain tax exempt status: (1) the organization must provide a significant portion of its services to a substantial class of persons who are the legitimate subjects of charity or otherwise relieve the government of its burden; (2) the organization must provide salary and benefits for its employees that fall within wage guidelines for the various types of employment as annually published by the state’s Department of Labor; and (3) the organization must provide and publish a report regarding its charitable activities for the information of the host municipality and the citizens in the region. The bill also establishes a phased-in reduction to the value of the property tax exemption for institutional properties from a 100% exemption to a 60% exemption over a 10-year period.

LD 2023 – An Act to Authorize a Local Option Tax on Wages Earned in a Municipality (Sponsored by Rep. Gagnon of Waterville)

This bill would authorize the voters of a municipality to adopt by referendum a local option wage tax that could not exceed 2% of the amount of Maine Income Tax on wages earned in the municipality.

LD 2024 – An Act to Establish the Local Option Tax on Liquor, Meals and Lodging (Sponsored by Rep. Gagnon of Waterville)

This bill would authorize the voters of a municipality to adopt by referendum a local option tax on liquor, meals and lodging sales in the municipality at a rate not to exceed 2%.

LD 2207 – An Act to Eliminate the Personal Property Tax and Make Other Changes in the Tax Laws (Sponsored by Rep. Gagnon of Waterville)

This bill is a concept draft. It would amend the laws governing taxation in the following ways: (1) eliminate the personal property tax and reimburse municipalities for 100% of the resulting loss of tax revenue through a revenue-sharing program separate from the state-municipal revenue sharing provided for in 30-A MRSA, section 5681; (2) eliminate the sales tax exemption for machinery and equipment used in production; (3) eliminate the BETR program that provides for reimbursement for taxes paid on certain business property; and (4) impose a 1% tax on ingredients and components used in production.

Transportation

LD 1576 – An Act to Strengthen the Motor Vehicle Laws Pertaining to Registration of Motor Vehicles (Sponsored by Rep. Lemont of Kittery)

This bill would repeal the "reciprocity" clause as it applies to motor vehicle registration which exempts a nonresident from registering his or her car in this state if the non-resident’s state of residency offers the same exemption. The bill would also amend the definitions of "resident" and "owner" as they pertain to the obligation to register a motor vehicle, all for the purpose of clarifying when a person living in Maine has to register his or her car in Maine.

Utilities and Energy

LD 553 – An Act to Amend the Charter of the Kennebec Water District (Sponsored by Rep. Gagnon of Waterville)

This bill amends the charter of the Kennebec Water District to clarify provisions relating to trustee compensation and to restrict the outside activities of trustees in order to reduce potential conflicts of interest.

LD 1810 – An Act to Protect the Drinking Water Supply of the Portland Water District (Sponsored by Rep. Muse of South Portland)

This bill closes the existing boat-launching ramp in Standish and replaces it with a new boat-launching ramp, also in Standish, at a location selected by the Portland Water District. The bill provides that land and funding for the new boat-launching ramp must be provided by the Portland Water District.

LD 2159 – An Act to Reimburse Androscoggin County for Shortfalls in State Reimbursement for Jail Costs (Sponsored by Rep. Bolduc of Auburn)

This bill reimburses Androscoggin County for the amount of county jail prisoner support costs that were incurred by Androscoggin County for the years 1991 to 1996 for which the county was not reimbursed by the state.