Maine drivers are now required to move over and slow down when passing a disabled vehicle. Cities and towns are allowed to provide naloxone in public buildings and parks to prevent fatal overdoses. Gender-affirming care is now covered by MaineCare. And restaurants that serve alcohol can charge a service fee to customers who prefer to bring their own bottles of wine.

Those and hundreds of other new state laws took effect Wednesday, 90 days after the adjournment of a very busy legislative session.

New laws range from major policies, such as expanding access to abortion later in pregnancies, to narrow and sometimes quirky changes like the addition of gray squirrels and red squirrels to a list of animals that can be used to train hunting dogs.

Also taking effect Wednesday is a spending package that includes $60 million in child care industry support and $31 million to stabilize the state’s emergency medical services system.

Here’s a run-down of some of the new laws.

Abortion Maine

Gov. Janet Mills signs into law a bill expanding access to abortions later in pregnancy at the State House in Augusta on July 19. Robert F. Bukaty/Associated Press



• Gender-affirming care, such as hormone therapy, is now covered for people insured through MaineCare, the state’s Medicaid program. This law requires the state to reimburse providers for medically necessary treatment related to gender dysphoria, which is diagnosed when someone’s expressed gender identity is different from the gender assigned at birth for a sustained period of time.  The new law also prohibits discrimination in reimbursement based on gender identity or expression.

• Minors who are at least 16 years old can get gender-affirming hormone therapy without a parent’s consent. Health care professionals will be able to provide hormone therapy and follow-up care to young people at least 16 years of age whether the parents approve or not if they meet certain criteria, including diagnosis of gender dysphoria and, in the opinion of the health care professional, they have experienced or are likely to experience harm from not receiving gender-affirming hormone therapy.

• There is no longer a specific time limit on abortion access in Maine. The new law allows physicians to provide abortions after viability – generally considered 22-24 weeks – when they deem it necessary, a standard that will allow abortions in cases of a severe fetal anomalies. Previously, Maine law only allowed post-viability abortions if the mother’s life or health was in danger.

• Cities and towns now can provide the overdose antidote naloxone in public places such as restrooms, libraries, municipal buildings and parks to better respond to opioid-related drug overdoses. The drug can be provided in wall-mounted boxes, for example.

An unidentified man thanks a Waterville police officer for responding to his single-vehicle accident on Main Street in Waterville in April. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel


• Some accidents no longer have to be reported to police because of a change in the definition of “reportable accident.” An accident on a public way must be reported to police in cases of injury or death, or apparent property damage of $2,000 or more. The threshold was increased from $1,000 in the old law.


• Motorists face possible fines for not removing snow and ice from vehicles that causes an accident or injury. This law requires drivers to take reasonable steps to clear their vehicles of snow and ice, and imposes fines of up to $50 for a first offense and up to $250 for subsequent offenses – but only in cases when flying snow or ice results in damages or injury. Commercial trucks are exempt.

• Drivers must move over or slow down to legally pass a disabled vehicle. Drivers will be required to pass in a non-adjacent lane when they encounter a vehicle that is disabled or has its lights flashing, or pass at a “careful and prudent speed” if moving over a lane isn’t possible.

Apartment buildings rise along the Portland skyline. Gregory Rec/Staff Photographer


• Landlords have new limits in tenant application fees. This law prohibits landlords from charging rental application fees that exceed the actual cost of the tenant screening process. Fees cannot exceed the actual cost of a background check, a credit check or other screening process.

• The owners of mobile home parks cannot sell without giving notice to residents. This law requires owners of mobile home parks to notify residents if they plan to sell their property and give homeowners an opportunity to purchase the land.

Members of the Maine Service Employees Association, Local 1989 of the Service Employees International Union, hold a lunchtime rally during a Department of Financial Services employee appreciation event in Augusta last month. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal



• Discrimination in pay based on race is now illegal. Employers may not discriminate between employees in the same establishment on the basis of race by paying lesser wages for a comparable job. This protection adds to existing law prohibiting discrimination in pay based on sex.

• Recycling and compost vehicles can utilize auxiliary lights to improve the safety of workers, similar to what’s already in state law for trash and refuse vehicles.

A dough-wrapped wooden dowel cooks over a campfire to make a dough boy, a time-honored campfire treat. Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer


• Burn permits are now required for larger campfires. Fires that exceed 3 feet in height and 3 feet in diameter and that are not for debris disposal are now subject to permit requirements. The free permits can be secured online at The new law also makes it illegal to burn fires outdoors during red flag warning days.

• Restaurants that serve alcohol can now allow customers to bring their own wine. The law also allows such restaurants to charge customers who bring their own wine a BYOB fee of as much as $100. The law also says restaurants can let those customers take home unfinished bottles of their own wine.

• Training hunting dogs just got easier. A new law adds gray squirrels and red squirrels to a list of species that hunting dogs can be trained on, which already includes foxes, snowshoe hare and raccoons.

Staff Writer Randy Billings contributed to this story.

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