AUGUSTA — Many new laws with regard to Maine’s Department of Secretary of State, made up of the Bureau of Motor Vehicles, Bureau of Corporations, Elections and Commissions and the Maine State Archives, went into effect this week.
Unless specifically specified otherwise in legislation, new Maine laws go into effect 90 days after the end of a legislative session. For the 2022 legislative session, most laws went into effect on Monday, August 8.
“Mainers’ lives are interconnected and multifaceted, and that is reflected in the broad array of new laws going into effect this week,” said Secretary of State Shenna Bellows. “From giving law enforcement the tools they need to investigate catalytic converter thefts; to supporting school systems as they convert bus fleets to electric vehicles; to strengthening chain of custody requirements for ballots and tabulators to prevent election interference; and increasing our data collection processes so lawmakers of the future can make more informed decisions – we’re working to support Mainers and make our state an ever-better place to live, work, and raise a family.”
Newly-effective laws include:
- L.D. 796, “An Act Governing the Sale, Purchase, Removal, Transport and Disposal of Catalytic Converters Removed from Motor Vehicles, Governing Scrap Metal Processors and Creating the Motor Vehicle Services Fund” which creates engraving and marking requirements for catalytic converters at risk of being stolen from vehicles and sold to recyclers.
- L.D. 1990, “An Act Allowing Electric-powered School Buses to Have Distinctively Colored Bumpers, Wheels, and Rub Rails, and Allowing Public Service Vehicles to be Equipped with a Flashing Green Auxiliary Light” which amends laws governing school bus identifies to allow electric-powered school buses to have bumpers, rub rails and wheels in the colors originally painted by the manufacturer which identify the bus as electric, an important characteristic for first responders to know in the case of an emergency.
- L.D. 1779, “An Act To Protect Election Integrity by Regulating Possession of Ballots and Voting Machines and Devices” which strengthens chain of custody requirements for ballots and tabulators to prevent election interference by outside entities
- L.D. 1821, “An Act To Protect Public Election Officials” which makes threatening an election worker a crime which can be investigated and prosecuted by the Attorney General.
- L.D. 1830, “An Act To Amend the Election Laws” which, among other provisions, adds ID cards from federally recognized Indian tribes as acceptable proof of identity when registering to vote.
- L.D. 2023, “An Act To Implement the Recommendations of the Secretary of State Regarding Notarial Acts” which adopts part of the Revised Uniform Law on Notarial Acts (RULONA), clarifying the law regarding notaries public, their responsibility and duties, and provides an effective framework for adoption of remote, online notarization by July 1, 2023.
- L.D. 1610, “An Act To Promote Equity in Policy Making by Enhancing the State's Ability To Collect, Analyze and Apply Data” which instructs the State CIO and the Secretary of State, in consultation with the Permanent Commission on the Status of Race and the Maine State Archivist, to improve the State's ability to collect, centralize and use data to improve equity in state policy making by creating a Data Governance Policy.
Any new laws with an “emergency clause,” including the supplemental budget, went into effect immediately upon receiving Gov. Mills’ signature. Other laws, including the new semi-open primaries law, have later implementation dates than this week.