Sunday, August 25, 2013

State News Update

Governor Issues Proclamation Calling Legislature Back to Take Action on Bond Package

Governor Paul R. LePage issued a proclamation calling for a special session on Thursday, August 29 for the Legislature to take action on issuing on a bond package of $149.5 million for infrastructure improvements.

The bond package, which was negotiated with Legislative leadership, includes the Governor’s original proposal of $100 million for improvements to highways and bridges, as well as ports and railroads. In addition, the package includes $14 million the Governor requested to maintain and upgrade Maine’s armories, many of which are in dire need of repair and rehabilitation.

Bonds will also be used for infrastructure improvements at Maine’s universities and community colleges.

Secretary of State Announces New Electronic Driver License Testing 

Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap introduced an electronic testing system that is now available for Mainers who are completing the “written” portion of their driver’s license exam for both commercial and noncommercial Class C credentials.  Motorcycle exams will also be available in this electronic format soon.

The new touch-screen monitors were made possible by a federal grant intended to enhance the security of the commercial testing process. Not only does this system improve the readability of the exams, it also randomly generates each test, ensuring that no two tests are the same.

In addition to the added security features, the electronic format now makes it possible for the test to be offered in multiple languages.

 Maine Bureau of Insurance to Hold Public Informational Sessions Regarding the Federal Health Care Reform Law (ACA)

Maine’s Superintendent of Insurance Eric Cioppa has announced that the Maine Bureau of Insurance will be holding public information sessions regarding the federal health care reform law (ACA).

Individuals seeking information about the new federal health insurance exchanges, newly proposed plans for offering on the exchanges, or other aspects for the health insurance portions of the ACA are invited to attend.

Questions about all other types of insurance are also welcomed. The Bureau will address all insurance-related questions or concerns. Informational materials will be available. Dates, locations and times are listed below:

-- August 16th: 6 pm, Husson University, Bangor (CFB Conference Room)

-- August 29th: 6 pm, Central Maine Community College, Auburn (Kirk Hall)

-- August 30th: 6 pm, University of Maine, Presque Isle, (Allagash Room)

Each session will be preceded at 5:00 p.m. with a public session for individuals wishing to comment on Anthem’s request to discontinue its current plans in the individual market and offer people with those plans the option of selecting one of Anthem’s newly proposed plans.

Approximately 17,500 people in Maine are covered by one of Anthem’s current individual plans. Some of those people would be ‘grandfathered’ and able to maintain their present coverage, because they signed up for the policy prior to the ACA becoming federal law. The Bureau will hold a formal hearing on this matter on September 9, 2013 at 9:00 a.m. in Room 208 of the Burton M. Cross State Office Building in Augusta.

Consumers with questions about the ACA can also call the Bureau of Insurance toll-free at 1-800-300-5000 or visit the agency’s website (

Consumers with questions can reach the Bureau of Insurance through its web site at; by calling 800-300-5000 in state; or by writing to Bureau of Insurance, 34 State House Station, Augusta ME 04333.

Maine Legislature Releases Digest of Bill Summaries and Enacted Laws

The Legislature has released its Legislative Digest of Bill Summaries and Enacted Laws for the First Regular Session of the 126th Legislature.  It’s available on the Office of Policy and Legal Analysis’ website,

The Digest includes summaries of bills considered, committee amendments, adopted floor amendments and laws enacted or finally passed during the 1st Regular Session.

The Digest is posted in the form of separate searchable pdf files for each committee.  It is also posted as 2 pdf files of the entire publication (2 volumes); however, please note that each volume is about 500 pages and may take time to load.