The First Session of the 131st Maine Legislature is still in full swing, with hundreds of bills still left to be decided. We’ll keep you updated on all the wildlife-related bills, but we wanted to let you know about some good news about a pair of bills we’ve been working hard on.
SUCCESS! PROTECTING ENDANGERED SPECIES HABITAT
LD 1246, a bill to protect endangered species by protecting their habitat, was officially passed by the Maine Legislature today (June 6). Sponsored by Rep. Lori Gramlich of Old Orchard Beach, the bill seeks to expand the circumstances in which the Maine Departments of Environmental Protection and Inland Fisheries and Wildlife consult on strategies to avoid and minimize impacts to endangered and threatened species habitat from proposed development. The change in law will be particularly important for species that utilize upland habitats, which are used by listed species such as the New England Cottontail (a rabbit) and the Blanding’s Turtle. Read more here, and see how we broke the news on Twitter here.
SUCCESS! BIRDSAFE ARCHITECTURE IN MAINE
Another important bill was also enacted: LD 670, An Act to Protect Birds in the Construction, Renovation and Maintenance of Public Buildings. Sponsored by Rep. Sophia Warren of Scarborough, this legislation grew out of work done by BirdSafe Maine, a partnership between Maine Audubon, the Portland Society for Architecture, and the University of Southern Maine to deal with bird/building collisions. The bill directs the state to develop guidelines for the use of bird-safe architecture in public buildings. Passage of the bill positions Maine as one of just three states in the nation with statewide legislation addressing bird/glass collisions, a problem that kills up to one billion birds per year in this country.
Additional votes are happening this week on topics such as a study on the impact that wake boats have on Maine’s lakes and ponds; extend funding for the Land for Maine’s Future program; and legislation to create of a Forest Advisory Board, among others. Next up, these bills head to the Governor’s desk for her signature to turn them into law! We’ll keep you updated!