Legislative Scorecard

131st Legislative Session At a Glance

After a momentous first year of the 131st session (2023), with the passage of paid family and medical leave and several other important policies, the second year (2024) was quieter. Once again, ordinary Mainers’ activism, advocacy and persistence, along with progressive Democrats’ work in the legislature, helped win some important victories. 

This year’s session was about working together to pursue our overarching goals even when knocked back by powerful business interests, anti-spending ideologues, and sometimes even Gov. Janet Mills herself. 

Because Mainers voted some strong, progressive lawmakers into office last election year (read more about some of these legislators here!), advocates for positive social change in Maine had many more champions in the legislature. These leaders have fought for rent relief, tenant protections and new solutions to Maine’s housing crisis; to defend the rights of Maine’s workers; to strengthen our public health response to the opioid crisis; for recognition of the inherent sovereignty of the Wabanaki people in Maine; to welcome immigrants into our communities and our state; and to ensure that rich corporations that do business in Maine don’t get special privileges. They also fought against cuts to government funding that would have harmed many people.

We also worked with allies to allow for a realistic opportunity to develop offshore wind power in Maine. This will help Mainers control our energy future, contribute to the region’s shift to renewable energy, and create good green jobs for people in our state. 

When a 40-year-old man shot and killed 18 people at a Lewiston bowling alley in October of 2023, it put gun safety at the top of the legislative agenda, with lawmakers introducing several bills to make Mainers safer from gun violence. Mainers joined together powerfully to support expanding gun safety laws in Maine, and had some success in spite of opposition from the powerful gun lobby. 

Gov. Mills didn’t support the sweeping reforms that gun safety advocates pressed for, and this reflected a broader trend on many issues – including drug policy, labor rights and protections, tribal sovereignty, and tax fairness – where the governor’s stances were more conservative than those of many of her constituents. 

Why does Gov. Mills’ disapproval matter so much? During her tenure, Gov. Mills has not had one of her vetoes overridden – and the threat of a very-likely-successful veto can have a chilling effect on bold, transformative proposals. This year, numerous bills met their ends when the governor opted not to sign any of the bills legislators passed on “veto day” after the regular session – including bills that would have created more health insurance options for childcare providers, and establish both a statewide sexual assault forensic examination kit tracking system and a unit to enforce violations of the Maine Civil Rights Act. 

With paid family and medical leave, the expansion of the state child tax credit, improvements in our childcare system, and more, we did so much in 2023 that people might have expected us to sit back this year. But, because we joined together, worked hard, stayed nimble when things changed, and kept our eyes on the prize, we were able to do more. 

Of course, we’re not there yet. But we’re a little closer, and in this election year we’ll keep working and voting for candidates who will stand with us on our vision for Maine. We’re excited about continuing to help MPA members push for the things we all care about, and to keep fighting for a world where everyone has what they need, contributes what they can, and no one is left behind. We’ll get there by working together.