Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Maine Constitutional Carry Entangled in Budget Negotiations

On 4 June, 2015, LD 652, the Maine constitutional carry bill passed the House, with the amendment required to meet Governor Paul Le Page's demand that 18-20 year old veterans not be required to have a permit to carry.  It was sent to the Senate for concurrence.  The Senate immediately concurred, and second amendment supporters believed that the bill would be sent to Governor Le Page for signature and enactment into law.  The last action on the bill was on June 4th.  From

6/4/2015 House PASSED TO BE ENACTED.
Sent for concurrence. ORDERED SENT FORTHWITH.
6/4/2015 Senate On motion by Senator VALENTINO of York PLACED ON THE SPECIAL APPROPRIATIONS TABLE pending ENACTMENT , in concurrence.

In Maine, any bill that has an effect on the budget, has to go to the Special Appropriations Table, where the Appropriations Committee makes sure that there is funding for the bill.  If the Appropriations Committee does not provide for funding, the bill dies a quiet death.  The constitutional carry bill has an impact, because permit fees will not be collected from as many people, and permits will not have to be processed from as many people.  The effect will likely be very small overall.

The problems is that the Appropriations Committee has been in deadlock over separate issues.   It was thought that a deal had been worked out, but the deal fell apart at the last minute.  Negotiations on the Budget have been going on for nearly two weeks.  Today, it looks as if a deal may have been reached.    From
Details on the latest state budget deal emerged on Tuesday morning, after Republican and Democratic legislative leaders reached a deal late Monday night to avoid a state government shutdown.

The constitutional carry bill has been held up as part of the overall impasse between the House, controlled by Democrats, and the Senate, controlled by Republicans.  It may be sent to the Governor as soon as tomorrow, 17 June.

Opponents of constitutional carry claim that the bill will "cost" the government because of the loss of fees for the permit, and fines for people who are carrying concealed weapons.  The claim is that the State will lose $200,000 a year in permit fees and fines.  It is unlikely that everyone would stop obtaining permits simply because they are no longer required in Maine.  The permits are recognized in several other states.  The "cost" is likely to be revised downward.

Still, it seems that opponents of constitutional carry now have another bite at the apple - claiming that the State cannot afford to stop charging people for a questionable "permit".   The original fiscal notes for the House and Senate versions of the bill stated that there was no significant fiscal effect.  Senator Valentino (D) York was the senator who made the motion to move the bill to the Special Appropriations Table.

A separate bill that reformed Maine's concealed carry reciprocity, because it did not have a budgetary effect, was passed on 1 June, 3 days before LD 652, sent to Governor Le Page, and signed on June 5th

If the constitutional carry bill, LD 652, is sent to the Governor, he will have 10 days to sign it or veto it.  If he does not veto it, it will become law without his signature.

©2015 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.  Link to Gun Watch

1 comment:

Wireless.Phil said...

The 18-20 year old veterans not be required to have a permit to carry.

Unless they've been disabled and honorably discharged, they are still in the military and only home on leave. So what's the point?