Legislative Update - April 15, 2011 LEGISLATURE OUT THIS WEEK LEGISLATIVE DATABASE
The Legislature will not meet the week of April 18th. Legislative leaders have decided that neither chamber will meet next week. In addition, committees will not hold public hearings or work sessions. Executive branch employees will have the 18th off due to a state holiday and the 19th will be a state shutdown day. Given the lack of activity in Augusta, we will not be sending out a report next week. Of course, any urgent developments will be communicated as they happen.
REGULATORY REFORM HEARING
On April 14, 2011, the Regulatory Fairness and Reform Committee held public hearing on an amended version of LD 1, the Governor’s regulatory reform bill. The Committee heard testimony from a broad array of interests, reflecting the breadth of the topics addressed in LD 1. The primary focus of the discussion was on the Board of Environmental Protection, a 10-member board of laypersons that supervises the Department of Environmental Protection through rulemaking, appeals, permitting and enforcement. Although the Governor initially suggested that the Board be replaced by a 3-member panel of administrative law judges, the current proposal would only revise somewhat how the Board currently operates. The majority of the comments were largely supportive of the direction that the Committee is taking in LD 1, although many offered suggestions for improvement. The work session for this bill has been scheduled for April 28, 2011, at 1:00 pm.
SPECIFICITY IN DEED RESTRICTIONS
On April 13, 2011, the Judiciary Committee held a work session on LD 1101. This bill would require that a deed specifically restrict “timber harvesting” or “agricultural activity” in order for these activities to be restricted. This bill was in reaction to a recent Law Court decision, Sanseverino v. Meadows and Mountains Trust, 2011 ME 8, that affirmed the Superior Court’s interpretation of a deed restricting “commercial activity” as restricting timber harvesting. Members of the Committee were concerned that this bill may complicate the drafting of deeds and voted unanimously to report this bill out as “ought not to pass,” killing this bill.
TRANSFERS FROM PROTECTED PERSON’S ESTATE
On April 13, 2011, the Judiciary Committee held a work session on LD 1186. This bill would modify the procedure that a Probate Court has to follow when approving transfers for less than fair market value from a protected person’s estate. The bill’s sponsor, Senator Hobbins, presented an amendment to this bill at public hearing. The Committee voted unanimously to adopt the amendment and to report this bill out as “ought to pass as amended.”
ORIGINAL MORTGAGE NOTE IN FORECLOSURE
On April 14, 2011, the Judiciary Committee held a work session on LD 145. This bill’s language has been evolving in Committee but centers on the idea of requiring production of the original mortgage note, signed by the mortgagor, at some point before judgment is entered. Ultimately, the Committee decided to ask the Judicial Branch to address this issue through rules. The Committee will also request that this bill be carried over until the next legislative session, so that this matter can be addressed legislatively, if need be.
ACCESS TO DHHS CHILD PROTECTIVE RECORDS
On April 14, 2011, the Judiciary Committee held a work session on LD 1193, which proposes to limit access to DHHS child protective records. As introduced, this bill would require counsel to establish that these records are both material and favorable to counsel’s case before a court could grant access to these records. The Maine State Bar Association testified against this bill at public hearing. The general impression of members of the Committee was that the current system works well and that this proposal is not needed. The committee voted unanimously to report this bill out as “ought not to pass,” killing this bill.
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Legislative Update - April 15, 2011
LEGISLATURE OUT THIS WEEK