Bill briefs: A rundown of tri-county delegation highlights

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Here is a list of highlights sponsored by tri-county delegation lawmakers in bills 851-950.

* Rep. Margaret Rotundo, D-Lewiston, has a bill that would consolidate the state’s three college boards into one higher education panel. LD 982 replaces the boards at University of Maine System, the Maine Community College System and the Maine Maritime Academy. 

The bill was voted out of committee with a divided report but it has yet to be sent to the House for a floor vote.

* Sen. John Patrick, D-Rumford, wants campaign finance reports disclosed to the public sooner. Patrick’s LD 989 would move up by one week the reporting time of the November quarterly report for political action committees and party committees.

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The bill is scheduled for a May 11 work session.

* Patrick has another bill that would initiate a citizen referendum to authorize a $1 million bond for road and bridge repairs in the town of Woodstock.

A public hearing for LD 990 has not been scheduled.

* Rep. Jeffrey Timberlake, R-Turner, wants snowmobiles registered in New Hampshire allowed to operate in Maine without registering in Maine.

Timberlake’s LD 993 produced a divided report in committee, but hasn’t been reported out. The bill also awaits a fiscal note.

* Rotundo has a proposal to provide libraries $200,000 over the biennium to help pay the costs for the weekly van service used in the inter-library book loan program.

LD 1033 has been passed by the Education Committee and is slated for a House vote.

* Rep. Matthew Peterson, D-Rumford, has a bill that would create a task force to study the health effects of grid-scale wind energy developments.  The task force is directed to report to the governor and the Joint Standing Committee on Energy, Utilities and Technology by Oct. 30, 2012, with ways to incorporate its findings into regulation and siting requirements for grid-scale wind projects.

The Energy Committee unanimously voted against LD 1035 this week.

* Rotundo had a bill that would have given veterans of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan a welcome home bonus. The bill would have given veterans $1,000 after returning home from their first deployment and $500 for each subsequent deployment. The bill would have cost $17 million.

The Veterans and Legal Affairs Committee voted unanimously against the bill.

* Rotundo’s LD 1039 would create a study group to review ways to improve how General Assistance money is distributed to municipalities and determine ways to exchange data between municipalities.

An amended version of the bill was unanimously supported in committee this week.

* A bill by Rep. James Hamper, R-Oxford, would lift the state’s 52-week prohibition on doctors hired by insurance companies from becoming an independent medical examiner for workers compensation claims.

LD 1056 was amended and passed unanimously out of committee. It’s slated for a House vote.

* Rep. Gary Knight, R-Livermore Falls, wants the state to pay a bounty to tag and register coyotes. LD 1072 would pay hunters $10 for each tagged coyote.

Knight’s bill produced a divided report in committee. It has not been reported back to the House for a vote.

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