AUGUSTA — Lawmakers will have a heavy load of bills to consider when they return to Augusta in January, ranging from mundane adjustments to county commissions to a measure that would make lobster rolls the official state sandwich.

The 401 new bill titles that have been proposed include an attempt to outlaw sexual contact between clergy and their congregants and bills from Rep. Paulette Beaudoin, D-Biddeford, that attempt — again — to outlaw cellphone use while driving and require motorcyclists to wear helmets.

The Maine Constitution limits bills in the second year of each legislative session to be of an emergency nature, proposed by the governor, forwarded by citizen petition, budgetary or study bills. The Legislative Council, which is made up of legislative leaders from both parties — six Democrats and four Republicans — will meet on Oct. 30 to decide which bills merit consideration.

Lawmakers have until Nov. 6 to file appeals, which would be brought before the council on Nov. 21.

In addition to the 401 new bills, the Legislature will consider 213 bills held over from the 12th Legislature’s first session, which adjourned in July, and approximately 30 bills proposed by state departments and agencies.

Here is a sampling of some of the bills that could be the focus of lawmakers starting in January:

  • LR 2666, An Act to Exempt Fuel Used in Off-road Commercial and Construction Equipment from Fuel Taxes, sponsored by Sen. David Burns, R-Whiting;
  • LR 2399, An Act to Provide Property Tax Relief for Residents who are Senior Citizens, sponsored by Rep. Alan Casavant, D-Biddeford;
  • LR 2316, An Act to Designate the Lobster Roll as the State Sandwich, sponsored by Rep. Katherine Cassidy, D-Lubec;
  • LR 2567, An Act to Require a Prescriptions for Any Medication Containing Pseudoephedrine, sponsored by Rep. Janice Cooper, D-Yarmouth;
  • LR 2469, An Act to Allow the Use of Slingshots in Small Game Hunting, sponsored by Sen. Andre Cushing, R-Hampden;
  • LR 2296, An Act to Provide Priority Funding for State-Municipal Revenue Sharing, Sponsored by Rep. Jeffrey Evangelos, U-Friendship;
  • LR 2357, An Act to Expand Federally Funded Health Care to Veterans and Low-income Citizens of the State, sponsored by House Speaker Mark Eves, D-North Berwick;
  • LR 2262, An Act to Amend the Sales Tax Increase for 2014 and 2015, Sponsored by House Minority Leader Kenneth Fredette, R-Newport;
  • LR 2297, An Act to Change the Statutory References to the State Holiday “Patriot’s Day” to “Patriots’ Day”, sponsored by Sen. Christopher Johnson, D-Somerville;
  • LR 2428, A Resolve Proposing an Amendment to the Constitution of Maine to Require a ? Vote of the Legislature to Increase or Decrease a Tax, sponsored by Rep. Dennis Keschl, R-Belgrade;
  • LR 2603, An Act to Prohibit the Use of a Grading System That Results in a Single Grade for Any Public School or Public Charter School in the State, sponsored by Rep. Bruce MacDonald, D-Boothbay;
  • LR 2553, An Act to Decriminalize, Tax and Regulate Cannabis for Responsible Adult Use, sponsored by Rep. Diane Russell, D-Portland;
  • LR 2474, An Act to Provide an Exemption for Religious Purposes to the Requirement That Hunters Wear Hunter Orange Clothing, sponsored by Sen. Roger Sherman, R-Houlton;
  • LR 2396, An Act to Create a Cold Case Homicide Department in the Department of the Attorney General, sponsored by Rep. Stephen Stanley, D-Medway;
  • LR 2397, An Act to Criminalize Sexual Contact Between Clergy and their Congregants, sponsored by Sen. Edward Youngblood, R-Brewer.

In a move that will likely renew one of the most hotly debated topics of this year’s session, Democratic legislative leaders also have said they will seek reconsideration of expanding Medicaid eligibility as allowed under the federal Affordable Care Act. Republican Gov. Paul LePage vetoed similar measures twice earlier this year, and supporters of Medicaid expansion — primarily Democrats — fell short of the two-thirds votes needed in the Maine House and Senate to override the vetoes.

Another potentially controversial topic, leading into legislative and gubernatorial elections later in 2014, will be welfare reform. Last week, Fredette proposed two pieces of legislation designed to reform Maine’s welfare laws.

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