- Associated Press - Wednesday, August 2, 2017

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) - The Latest on Maine lawmakers’ last day in session (all times local):

5:27 p.m.

The Maine Legislature is letting stand Republican Gov. Paul LePage’s vetoes of bills targeting distracted driving and calling for an overhaul of solar regulations.

But lawmakers overrode the governor’s vetoes of bills to raise the tobacco purchasing age to 21 next year and to increase the number of public health nurses.

The House GOP successfully defended most of the governor’s vetoes.

Utilities, environmental groups and solar companies had battled on the solar bill. The Senate voted 28-6 to overturn the veto. But the House’s 88-48 vote was short of the two-thirds majority needed.

Democratic House Speaker Sara Gideon’s office said lawmakers will likely postpone consideration of more than $95 million of bonds for student debt relief and research and development programs.


12:28 p.m.

The Maine Senate is overturning the governor’s vetoes on bills targeting tobacco sales, solar policy and distracted driving.

The chamber on Wednesday voted 24-10 to override Republican Gov. Paul LePage’s veto of a bill to ban drivers from holding electronic devices like cellphones while driving.

A vetoed bill calling for an overhaul of solar regulations received a 28-6 vote in the Senate.

The chamber voted 29-5 to override a veto of legislation to raise the tobacco sales age from 18 to 21 starting next year.

Republican Gov. Chris Christie last month signed a law making New Jersey the third state to raise its smoking age to 21.

The bills now face a vote in the House.

11:52 a.m.

Maine’s Legislature has a busy day ahead with solar, student debt relief and hands-free driving bills on the agenda.

Lawmakers returned for their final day of session Wednesday to deal with vetoes, bills and bonds.

Republican Gov. Paul LePage has voiced support for a $40 million bond for student debt relief and a $55 million bond to help companies commercialize products through research and development.

LePage predicts lawmakers will override his vetoes of legislation to ban hand-held devices for drivers and raise the tobacco sales age from 18 to 21.

A lawmaker who sponsored legislation targeting female genital mutilation has said the bill may be revived.

Many new laws will become effective 90 days after the Legislature’s official last day.

Lawmakers may return in the fall to consider a marijuana bill.

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