AUGUSTA (WGME) – The state of Maine has hundreds of new laws on the books — 651 to be exact. Gov. Janet Mills signed most of those bills this session, allowing another 45 to become law without her signature.
Most of the new law don’t kick in until September — 90 days after the Maine Legislature adjourned — but some are already in effect.
These include an act to make ballot questions easier for voters to understand and another that requires kids to be screened for lead poisoning more often.
Starting in September:
— Spouses who care for their disabled partners at home will qualify for Medicaid reimbursement.
— Nonprescription drugs will be available in vending machines.
— Drivers will no longer be allowed to hold a cellphone or any other electronic device behind the wheel.
— Motorist will also have to yield to transit buses on some roads.
— E-cigarettes will be banned on school grounds.
— It will be easier for non-profits to have raffles, and a portion of lottery winners’ prize money will go toward paying any outstanding court fines they have.
Looking further into the future, single-use plastic bags will be banned statewide next April. Come 2021, business with 10 or more employees will have to give them as much as 40 hours of paid time off and later that year, families will no longer be allowed to opt-out of school vaccinations for non-medical reasons.
The governor is holding onto a few dozen bills for further review until the next legislative session. Those include bills to allow sports betting, and ban pet shops from selling dogs and cats.
Once the session starts, she will have three days to act on them.