AUGUSTA — Maine’s first female governor is backing an effort to change state laws that refer to the governor and state justices as “he,” ”him,” or “his.”

Lawmakers planned Thursday to begin considering legislation to make such references gender neutral.

Democratic Gov. Janet Mills was elected in 2018 as the state’s first female governor.

In 2001, Maine swore in its first female chief justice, Leigh Saufley.

The National Conference of State Legislatures has said at least half of the states have moved to remove references to gender for years. New York last year removed references to “policemen” and “firemen.”

Voters have approved removing gender-biased language from the state constitutions in at least five states including Maryland. Maine voters did so in 1988.

Utah, Massachusetts and Iowa are considering similar proposals.

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