A look back at Maine’s 131st Legislature

The Monitor newsroom highlights 21 bills from this session: on gun reform, campaign finance, child welfare and more.
A decorative graphic with the Maine State Legislature, overlayed with text that introduces this legislative newsroom project.
Our goal was to break down a selection of bills that intersect with our coverage areas and make them easy for you to understand — no law degree or policy expertise required.

As the work of the 131st Legislature wraps up, The Maine Monitor decided to look back at what was accomplished this session, and what was left undone.

The legislature adjourned in the early-morning hours of April 18, and Gov. Janet Mills now has just a couple more days — until Tuesday, April 30 — to sign or veto the late-session bills sent to her desk. 

Much of the conversation this session focused on gun reform, following the October mass shooting in Lewiston that left 18 Mainers dead.

Though the “red flag” bill introduced by House Speaker Rachel Talbot Ross, D-Portland, never made it to a full vote, a number of gun reform measures did make it through the legislature: one strengthening the “yellow flag” law; one initiating a 72-hour waiting period; and one banning bump stocks.

The empty Maine Senate Chamber
The Senate chambers as seen in 2021. Maine Monitor file photo.

Lawmakers also looked at measures related to tribal sovereignty, paramilitary training camps, reproductive rights, substance abuse, affordable housing, child welfare, fair wages, data privacy, offshore wind, and more.

As a newsroom, we decided to look at 21 bills that moved through the legislature this session. Some generated a lot of controversy and coverage; others received little attention. Some bills passed, some died, and some remain in limbo on the Senate’s special appropriations table, where bills go if they raise funding questions.

The legislature could return for a special session to take up unresolved matters — that remains to be seen.

Our goal was to break down a selection of bills that intersect with our coverage areas and make them easy for you to understand — no law degree or policy expertise required.

Click on each bill in the list below for an explanation of what the legislation does, its current status, a sense of the debate and where to go for more information. 

Public safety

L.D. 2224: An Act to Strengthen Public Safety by Improving Maine’s Firearm Laws and Mental Health System

L.D. 2238: An Act to Address Gun Violence in Maine by Requiring a Waiting Period for Certain Firearm Purchases

L.D. 2086: An Act to Amend the Law Governing the Disposition of Forfeited Firearms

Elections & campaign finance

L.D. 1578: An Act to Adopt an Interstate Compact to Elect the President of the United States by National Popular Vote

L.D. 2232: An Act to Limit Contributions to Political Action Committees That Make Independent Expenditures

L.D. 1966: An Act to Allow Candidates for District Attorney to Participate in the Maine Clean Election Act

Energy & utilities

L.D. 1471: Resolve, Regarding Legislative Review of Portions of Chapter 200: Metallic Mineral Exploration, Advanced Exploration and Mining, a Late-filed Major Substantive Rule of the Department of Environmental Protection

L.D. 2261: Designating New Motor Vehicle Emissions Rules as Major Substantive Rule

L.D. 2087: An Act to Protect Property Owners by Preventing the Use of Eminent Domain to Build Transmission Lines Under the Northern Maine Renewable Energy Development Program

Environment

L.D. 1537: An Act to Amend the Laws Relating to the Prevention of Perfluoroalkyl and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances Pollution

L.D. 1349: An Act to Review State Lands and Waterways That Have Sacred, Traditional or Other Significance to the Wabanaki People

L.D. 2266: An Act Regarding Restoration and Protection of Coastal Sand Dune Systems and Permitting of an Offshore Wind Terminal on Sears Island

Health care

L.D. 227: An Act Regarding Legally Protected Health Care Activity in the State

L.D. 780: Resolution, Proposing an Amendment to the Constitution of Maine to Protect Reproductive Autonomy

L.D. 779: An Act to Create a Separate Department of Child and Family Services

Labor & housing

L.D. 1639: An Act to Address Unsafe Staffing of Nurses and Improve Patient Care

L.D. 2273: An Act to Establish a State Minimum Hourly Wage for Agricultural Workers

L.D. 2209: An Act to Increase the Cap on Bonds Issued by the Maine State Housing Authority to Reflect Current Housing Production Needs in the State

Education

L.D. 2001: Resolve, to Establish the African American and Wabanaki Studies Advisory Council and Provide Funding to Support African American Studies and Wabanaki Studies

L.D. 974: An Act to Establish Minimum Pay for Educational Technicians and Other School Support Staff

L.D. 345: An Act to Transition the Responsibility for Child Find Activities and for Ensuring a Free, Appropriate Public Education for Eligible Children from the Child Development Services System to School Administrative Units

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The Maine Monitor is a nonprofit, nonpartisan news service of the Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting. Our team of investigative journalists use data- and document-based reporting to produce stories that have an impact.
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