AUGUSTA (AP) – A bill to crack down on wild blueberry thefts made it in. But a ban on the sale of energy drinks to minors is out, as is a move to shove the pine cone and tassel aside as Maine’s state flower.

Those are among the decisions made by legislative leaders Thursday as they reviewed 566 bill requests for next year. Leaders voted to allow in 148 of the requests, according to a preliminary count by legislative staff.

Bills considered during the second year of the two-year legislative session are supposed to be limited to emergency and budget matters, bills stemming from studies and held from the last session, governor’s requests and citizen initiatives.

Many of the new proposals are constituent requests, said House Speaker Glenn Cummings, D-Portland.

Among the many casualties were making graffiti art a crime, equipping state police cars with cages, and making the sale of light bulbs that aren’t energy-efficient illegal. Leaders registered a solid 9-0 vote against making the lupine Maine’s state flower.

“I will defend the pine cone and tassel to the end,” said Assistant Senate Minority Leader Richard Rosen, R-Bucksport, drawing a few laughs in a roomful of spectators.

Because only titles appeared before lawmakers, specifics about the intent and reach of many were hazy.

A proposal that was admitted for consideration by a 6-3 vote, An Act Regarding the Sale of Firearms to Minors, was first inspired by the documentary movie “There Ought To Be A Law,” which tells the story of a woman’s effort to change the gun laws after her 18-year-old son committed suicide in Lewiston with a shotgun he bought at a Wal-Mart.

Rep. Stanley Gerzofsky’s bill would bring Maine’s law into conformity with federal law by raising the legal age of purchase from 16 to 18, with parental consent allowed for purchases by 16- and 17-year-olds. The bill also calls for a study into where people get guns used in suicides.

Other proposals admitted for further legislative consideration – both by 6-3 votes – seek to establish a bracelet monitoring program for people convicted of minor crimes and allow community service in lieu of fines.

But bills calling for required interlock systems for people convicted of operating under the influence and to increase penalties for OUI were turned back.

Also rejected was an attempt to repeal Maine’s brand-new fees on vehicle oil changes to raise money for cleanups at waste oil disposal sites. The law, which assesses $1 fees for most passenger cars and small trucks, took effect Oct. 1.

Lawmakers sidelined more than 60 requests – many of which had identical or similar titles – that would make changes in Maine’s newly enacted school administrative consolidation law. Leaders gave assurances that all proposed changes will be considered by the Education Committee, but said taking up each bill individually would take up too much time.

“The question is the process,” said Sen. John Martin, D-Eagle Lake, the assistant Senate majority leader.

Senate President Beth Edmonds said leaders made their cuts with an eye on running the Legislature as efficiently as possible. Edmonds, D-Freeport, said the total number of bills is well below what it was at the same point two years ago.

During this year’s first regular session, more than 1,900 bill were considered.

AP-ES-10-25-07 1625EDT

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