AUGUSTA – Voters might soon decide if a legislator’s time in office should be increased to 12 years in each chamber.

The House gave initial approval to a bill Friday that would issue a referendum to increase term limits from four to six two-year terms. It next goes to the Senate for consideration. Representatives approved the bill 75-57.

The bill would not apply to those currently in their last term.

Local representatives ineligible to run for their current office after this term include Sen. Peggy Rotundo, D-Lewiston, and Rep. Deborah Simpson, D-Auburn, although both could seek seats in the other chamber.

House bill would provide for leave

AUGUSTA – The House approved a bill Friday that requires employers to grant leave to those whose family members were killed or suffered from a serious medical condition in the military.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Boyd Marley, D-Portland, would require employers of 15 or more to grant 10 consecutive weeks leave, with those working for more than 12 consecutive months being eligible.

It will next go to the Senate for final approval.

Lawmakers push for reuse of mills

AUGUSTA – It’s time to start looking for other uses for mill buildings, the Legislature decided Friday.

Both the House and Senate approved a bill directing the Department of Economic and Community Development to form a stakeholder working group to look for ways to encourage the redevelopment of old mill buildings. The bill was sponsored by Rep. Steve Beaudette, D-Biddeford.

The group is expected to report back to lawmakers with their findings next year.

House to hold service for Holman

AUGUSTA – Rep. Abigail Holman died in a ski accident in April, but her contributions to the Legislature stayed alive.

The House will hold a memorial service to honor Holman at 9:45 a.m. Monday. Members will vote to enact one of her bills, which would allow municipalities to create local foundations to benefit public schools.

Holman, R-Fayette, represented her hometown along with Manchester, Vienna, Mount Vernon and Belgrade. Rep. Deane Jones, D-Mount Vernon, was sworn in this week to take her place.

Child molester bill fails in Senate

AUGUSTA – A bill to establish a mandatory minimum prison sentence for certain types of sex offenders failed by a narrow margin in the Senate on Friday.

The bill, sponsored by Richard Cebra, R-Naples, looked to expand upon the existing Jessica’s Law, by changing the 20-year suggested sentence to a 25-year mandatory sentence, applying to those convicted of gross sexual assault against children younger than 12.

It failed, 18-16.

The current law was enacted last year, and Sen. Earle McCormick, R-West Gardiner, said officials have not had enough time see its results.

Sen. Bill Diamond, D-Windham, the lone proponent of the bill on the Criminal Justice Committee, and supported the motion on the floor.

He said he wanted to send a message. “The law says, if you come to the state of Maine and decide to molest a kid, you’re going to go to jail for 25 years.”

The defeat means the bill is dead for the session. The House killed the measure Tuesday.

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