AUGUSTA — Gov. Paul LePage is holding six bills until the Legislature returns in January, including one that would set up rules for casinos.

LePage had until Monday to make final decisions on bills passed by lawmakers during the session that ended June 29.

Of those that he held, the one with the most immediate impact is L.D. 643, sponsored by Rep. Michael Carey, D-Lewiston, a member of the Legislature’s Veterans and Legal Affairs Committee, to establish rules to govern the casino in Oxford that is scheduled to open next year.

The legislation would direct the Department of Public Safety’s Gambling Control Board to adopt emergency rules that “ensure that bets on table games are not made with cash” and allow law enforcement to detain anyone who breaks the rules at a casino.

The bill calls for the board to report back to lawmakers in February about the rules. It also would require that license and application fees collected by the board go to a dedicated account, not the state’s general fund.

Carey said he has been assured by the governor’s staff that the bill will become law without LePage’s signature. He said the governor is concerned about one of the deadlines in the bill, but supports the effort to establish clear rules.

Adrienne Bennett, the governor’s spokeswoman, said LePage had questions about all of the bills that he held. She declined to cite specific concerns about each bill, saying the administration is working with lawmakers to get answers to LePage’s questions.

“This gives us a little bit more time to find those answers and touch base with the sponsor, instead of outright vetoing it,” she said.

The bills held by the governor will be considered by lawmakers when they return in January. Besides L.D. 643, the bills are:

* L.D. 205, sponsored by Sen. Stan Gerzofsky, D-Brunswick, which would provide a sales tax exemption for sales to organizations that sponsor live music, dance and theater. It would cost the state an estimated $6,175 a year and take effect Oct. 1, 2012.

* L.D. 338, sponsored by Sen. Troy Jackson, D-Allagash, which would give a credit for tax paid on fuel up to $1,000, beginning Jan. 1, 2013. It’s projected to cost the state $22,000 a year. Jackson said he had not been contacted by the governor’s office so he didn’t know why LePage held the bill.

“He probably didn’t want to spend Maine revenues to help loggers,” Jackson said.

* L.D. 972, sponsored by Rep. Peggy Rotundo, D-Lewiston, which would allocate $12,000 in 2013 to pay the administrative cost of running the Citizen Trade Policy Commission, which was formed in 2004 to assess trade agreements’ legal and economic effects on state and local laws.

* L.D.1033, also sponsored by Rotundo, to provide $100,000 in 2013 to support van delivery service to defray the cost of inter-library loans. The money would cover a small portion of the cost to deliver books, audios and DVDs that are shared by participating libraries throughout the state, said Beth Edmonds, chairwoman of the Maine Library Commission.

* L.D. 1264, sponsored by Sen. Phil Bartlett, D-Gorham, to require consideration of “load management systems” when public buildings are built or renovated.

A load management system is a way to balance the use of electricity throughout the day in an attempt to put less stress on the system during peak hours. Bartlett described the bill as a series of “tweaks” and said he had not been told why the bill was held.


Susan Cover — 620-7015

[email protected]

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