A proposal designed to ensure that video recording at polling places doesn’t intimidate voters is among about 50 bills that could be considered when a panel of legislative leaders meets Thursday. The Legislative Council will vote to determine if any of the bills will advance to the second regular session when the Legislature convenes in January. The poll recording bill was motivated by complaints that gun rights activists were intimidating voters when they gathered at several southern Maine polling places on Election Day to film the signature gathering effort by gun control activists hoping to advance a referendum next year. The proposal by Sen. Bill Diamond, D-Windham, is one of 26 bills that have been submitted after the Sept. 25 deadline. Others include a proposal to allow towns to prohibit firearms on municipal property, a bill to improve college graduation rates and a bill to encourage roller derby.
The council could also vote on whether to include 20 other bills that were tabled at meetings in October and November. Those proposals include efforts designed to provide accountability in the state’s welfare system; improve job opportunities for welfare recipients; and alter the state’s criminal code to prevent “improper influence” by an elected official.
The improper influence bill, submitted by Democratic House leader Rep. Jeff McCabe, D-Skowhegan, was prompted by Gov. Paul LePage’s controversial intervention in a private school’s decision to hire House Speaker Mark Eves, D-North Berwick.
So far the council has allowed more than 80 new bills for in the next session. It is not required to act on the previously tabled bills and could vote to table the after-deadline requests. The Legislature will also deal with more than 150 bills that were carried over from the first regular session. The governor can submit bills at any time during the session.