House and Senate take up session to vote on 43 vetoes

AUGUSTA, Maine (WABI) - Both the House and Senate were back on the floor to vote on 43 recent vetoes in a special session.

They voted to override 20 of them including a bill to let forest rangers carry firearms and a bill to ensure sustainable health care access in the Jackman region.

"I really think the governor made a mistake in vetoing that one. People recognize it for what it was. Particularly, recognizing this is in rural Maine," said Ken Fredette (R) Newport, House Minority Leader.

Also becoming law, two medical marijuana bills, one that doesn't prohibit doctors from what they prescribe it for and one that would let municipalities have more of a say on opting in or not.

"The marijuana bills have really, I think, tried to narrow down and put municipalities in charge, have some teeth in regulatory issues and what not. I think you're going to see these marijuana bills continue to be amended for a decade to come as we really try to grapple with the failures in the system of trying to regulate a very new drug," said Fredette.

One veto that was sustained: conversion therapy.

"I was in support of that. That one came up short in the House and you know, hey, a long, hard kind of spirited debate on that on the House floor and down in the Senate. An effort by some to try and find a path forward for it and a little bit of compromise for it and at the end of the day it came up short," said Jared Golden (D) Lewiston.

While funding for county jails was approved, they failed to overturn a veto on keeping the Downeast Correctional Facility open.

"I really feel that it was a very successful facility and one that was important to the community in regards to their workforce needs. So, we're not gonna give up on finding some kind of path forward for that community," said Golden.

"We've had three governors trying to close this facility but because of politics it just continues to stay open. I think the reality is this now will open the door for a broader conversation about what could be a future facility in Washington county," said Fredette.