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Lawmakers convene for what may be last time at civic center

May 19, 2021 GMT

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — The Maine Legislature gathered Wednesday for what could be the final time at the Augusta Civic Center as legislative leaders contemplated moving business back to the State House.

Lawmakers have been meeting at the civic center because there is plenty of space to distance themselves during the pandemic.

But Democratic Gov. Janet Mills is easing restrictions on indoor gatherings effective next week, and legislative leaders are considering moving back to the State House. There has been no session at the State House since the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020.

There’s no shortage of work to be done.

With less than a month before the session ends, lawmakers face a Friday deadline for finishing committee work.

Lawmakers who’re meeting in special session still have to address the governor’s second budget proposal and a bond package, along with bills targeting a hydropower corridor in western Maine and a proposal to create a consumer-owned electric utility.

The goal is to wrap up work by the statutory deadline of June 16, though that date is not set in stone since lawmakers are in a special session.