As the Maine Legislature prepares for a new session, lawmakers will tackle a number of issues that are being carried over from 2013 that range from the sale and use of fireworks to restoring full revenue sharing to towns and cities.

Below is a summary of a selection of the bills to be considered by the legislature that were carried over from 2013, as compiled by the Maine Municipal Association.

LD 111

This bill would repeal a law that was passed in 2011 that allowed for the sale, purchase and use of consumer fireworks.

LD 168

Designated as a “concept draft” bill, it proposes to establish reasonable restrictions on the sale and use of fireworks in the state. According to a summary of the text of the bill, it would establish a process for reviewing and determining whether restrictions should be placed on the use of fireworks depending on factors, including, but not limited to:

The level of fire danger within the area at the time of intended use; the presence of farm animals in the area, and the propensity of such animals to suffer adverse health effects from exposure to the noise accompanying fireworks or, as a result of fear resulting from exposure to such noise, to endanger others; the interests of summer residents and tourists, and the interests of local businesses that provide services to such residents and tourists; the interests of year-round residents in living without unreasonable disturbances to their peace and tranquility; and the effects on veterans who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, for whom exposure to fireworks carries the potential to trigger debilitating symptoms that have severe and long-lasting effects on their health and ability to function.

As part of the process for reviewing and determining restrictions for fireworks, the evaluation must take into account the impact on tourism in the state and balance the needs of people who choose to use fireworks and those who are then exposed to the fireworks.

Some of the restrictions could include a requirement that a permit be obtained from the State Fire Marshal, a requirement to obtain local fire permits, limitations on the times during the day, week, or month that fireworks may be used and the establishment of fireworks-free zones across the state.

LD 222

This bill would make the State Police Chief the sole authority for issuing concealed weapons permits in the state.

LD 369

A “concept draft” bill that would redesign the state's school funding formula in an effort to achieve equal educational opportunity for students and equity in the property tax burden.

LD 713

This bill would restore the full revenue sharing distribution of 5 percent of state sales and income tax revenues to municipalities over a three-year period. According to the bill text, in fiscal year 2014, the distribution would be 3.5 percent of state sales and income tax revenue. That amount would increase to 4 percent in fiscal year 2015 and the full 5 percent distribution of sales tax and income tax revenue would begin in fiscal year 2016.

LD 816

This “concept draft” bill would propose improving the Circuitbreaker program by simplifying the determination for eligibility, changing the application period to the income tax filing period, allowing applications to be made through the Department of Health and Human Services integrated eligibility system and ensure an adequate source of funding for the program.

LD 1120

A “concept draft” bill that would create a task force that is charged with analyzing the state's tax exemptions. The group would be responsible for identifying any tax exemptions that could be reduced or eliminated with a goal of finding targeted savings of $30 million in fiscal year 2014-2015. The bill would also change the law to reduce the use of off-shore tax havens.

LD 1194

The bill would prohibit an employer or educational institution, whether public or private, from requiring or requesting an employee or student , or a prospective employee or student, to provide the username or account password for a personal social media account or email account or to otherwise provide the employer or institution with access to those accounts.

LD 1547

This bill would expand the authority of municipalities to adopt an ordinance provides homeowners over 60 years old with a $750 property tax exemption. The expansion would allow municipalities to extend the property tax exemption to volunteer firefighters and emergency medical services providers.

Bills submitted for 2014 session:

LD 1591

This bill would adjust the process for transferring a student from one school to another through the use of a “superintendent's agreement.” According to a summary of the bill, under the current regulations, a student may transfer to another school if it is in the student's best interest. An amendment to that standard would define a student's best interest as demonstrating that the student has significant and unique educational, health or safety needs that are school related and cannot be met by the student's current school system.

The bill would also establish a review standard that applies to any appeal of a superintendent's decision to either the commissioner of education or to the State Board of Education. The standard is whether the denial of the request for transfer was arbitrary or capricious.

LD 1607

As a result of the biennial budget adopted in 2013, the state Circuitbreaker property tax and rent relief program was terminated. In addition, an element of the legislation terminated all of the local property tax relief programs because the implementation of those programs was authorized by the statute, according to the summary of the bill.

This bill would restore local authority to implement locally-funded property tax relief programs.

LD 2258

This bill would take surplus General Fund revenue to increase the level of tax benefits provided to lower income Mainers through the newly created “property tax fairness credit,” which replaced the Circuitbreaker program.

LD 2579

This bill would provide a property tax exemption for one joint owner of a residence when the other joint owner is placed in a long-term residential care facility permanently or receives home care.

The second regular session of the legislature runs from Wednesday, Jan. 8, through April.

A full list of the bills can be found at memun.org/DesktopModules/Bring2mind/DMX/Download.aspx?Command=Core_Download&EntryId=5795.