January 28, 2013

Among 1,617 proposed Maine laws, some bills are quirky

By Leslie Bridgers lbridgers@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

When House District 137 candidates Alan Casavant and Bill Guay were greeting people outside the polls in November, a voter asked what they were running for.

Colleen Lachowicz

Contributed photo

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ON THE LIST OF LEGISLATIVE REQUESTS

LR 624 An Act to Extend the Hours of the Sale of Liquor on Sunday When St. Patrick's Day Is on a Sunday (Rep. Barry Hobbins, D-Saco)

LR 632 An Act To Allow a Pet Owner To Collect Noneconomic Damages for the Death of a Pet (Rep. Alex Willette, R-Mapleton)

LR 824 An Act to Exempt Occupants of Antique Autos from Seat Belt Requirements (Sen. Ron Collins, R-Wells)

LR 1525 An Act to Allow a Person with Crohn's Disease Access to Rest Room Facilities (Sen. Colleen Lachowicz, D-Waterville)

LR 1982 An Act To Allow Name Tags To Be Worn By Candidates at Polling Places (Rep. Alan Casavant, D-Biddeford)

"We just looked at each other," said Casavant. By state law, they weren't even allowed to say who they were.

Casavant, D-Biddeford, is sponsoring An Act To Allow Name Tags To Be Worn By Candidates at Polling Places, one of 1,617 bill requests released by the Legislature on Monday.

While many of the bills introduced by the 126th Maine Legislature tackle weighty topics that affect many Mainers, others are a bit more obscure.

Sen. Colleen Lachowicz, D-Waterville, wants to see improved access to restrooms for people with Crohn's disease, a chronic bowel inflammation that can cause persistent diarrhea.

People riding in antique cars would be exempt from wearing seat belts, if a bill sponsored by Sen. Ron Collins, R-Wells, becomes a law.

And, if Rep. Barry Hobbins's proposal passes, St. Patrick's Day revelers won't have to wait until 9 a.m. to buy booze this year.

Hobbins, D-Saco, is proposing An Act to Extend the Hours of the Sale of Liquor on Sunday When St. Patrick's Day Is on a Sunday. Liquor sales start at 6 a.m. and continues until 1 a.m. On Sunday, alcohol can't be bought until 9 a.m.

Some legislators, including Casavant, said their more unusual requests were made on behalf of contituents.

Others, like An Act To Allow a Pet Owner To Collect Noneconomic Damages for the Death of a Pet, are more personal.

Rep. Alex Willette, R-Mapleton, is the proud owner of a bulldog named Pearl.

Because pets are considered property, Willette said, if someone killed Pearl, he could only be reimbursed for her monetary worth -- not for his pain and suffering.

"Under my bill, it would allow you to get an emotional claim," said Willette, who recently learned about animal law in a class at the Maine School of Law in Portland, where he's a student.

"I just said, that makes a lot of sense," he said.

 

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