CSG Committee on Suggested State Legislation

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This Act directs the state department of education to set up a pilot program to compile information about teachers’ classroom performance over a five year timeframe. The state will use the information to help identify ways to improve teacher effectiveness and to close the “teacher gap.” The Act defines “teacher gap” as the “documented phenomenon that poor or minority students are more likely to be taught by less-qualified or less-experienced teachers than those students’ more advantaged peers.” 

The Act generally defines qualified plug-in electric vehicles and allows a $2,000 tax credit against the state motor vehicle excise tax for qualified plug-in electric drive vehicles. 

This Act defines harassment, intimidation, and bullying. It requires schools to implement bullying prevention programs. It requires school principals appoint anti-bullying specialists for their schools and it mandates forming school safety teams for each school.
This legislation requires teachers, school board members, school leaders, and other education personnel to get training about recognizing and preventing harassment, intimidation, and bullying by students. It addresses reporting such incidents to a district board of education, on school report cards, and by the state department of education. It requires the state department of education to develop guidance documents explaining how complaints about harassment, intimidation, and bullying must be resolved.
This legislation requires public institutions of higher education to adopt a policy in the code of student conduct prohibiting harassment, intimidation, and bullying.
The legislation creates a Bullying Prevention Fund within the department of education to provide grants to train school personnel about preventing harassment, intimidation, and bullying in schools. 

Maine Public Law, Chapter 655 of 2010 addresses energy infrastructure corridors, which it generally defines as geographic areas within the state designated for siting energy infrastructure. Energy infrastructure includes electric transmission and distribution facilities, natural gas transmission lines, and other pipelines. Energy infrastructure does not include generation interconnection transmission facilities, energy generation facilities, or electric transmission and distribution facilities or energy transport pipelines that cross an energy infrastructure corridor.

The Act establishes conditions under which a health insurance policy or health service plan can require prescribing physicians to substitute immunosuppressant drugs for organ transplant patients that differ from the drugs the physicians originally prescribed for those patients. The Act requires that at least sixty days prior to making any formulary change that alters the terms of coverage for a patient receiving immunosuppressant drugs or discontinues coverage for a prescribed immunosuppressant drug that a patient is receiving, a policy or plan sponsor must, to the extent possible, notify the prescribing physician and the patient, or the parent or guardian if the patient is a child, or the spouse of a patient who is authorized to consent to the treatment of the patient. The notification must be in writing and disclose the formulary change, indicate that the prescribing physician may initiate an appeal, and include information about the procedure for the prescribing physician to initiate the policy or plan sponsor’s appeal process. 
The Act applies solely to cases of immunosuppressive therapy when an immunosuppressant drug has been prescribed to a patient to prevent the rejection of transplanted organs and tissues and a prescribing physician has indicated on a prescription “may not substitute.” This Act does not apply to medication orders issued for immunosuppressant drugs for any in-patient care in a licensed hospital. 

This Act creates a pilot program to provide enhanced, special services to children between four and ten years old who are placed in foster care. The program is intended to reduce the emotional trauma to children who enter foster care. 

This Act establishes criteria by which educational institutions throughout the state can use open-source textbooks. The Act defines an “open-source textbook” as “an electronic textbook that is available for downloading from the Internet at no charge to a student and without requiring the purchase of an unlock code, membership, or other access or use charge, except for a charge to order an optional printed copy of all or part of the textbook. The term includes a state-developed open-source textbook.” 

This Act defines a “biobased product” and directs the state director of administrative services to establish a Biobased Product Preference Program. The legislation requires state agencies and state institutions of higher education to buy biobased equipment, material, or supplies in accordance with the program. It requires the director of the state administrative services agency to develop rules and procedures state agencies and higher education institutions must use to buy biobased products in accordance with the program. The Act contains provisions allowing these agencies to buy non-biobased products when biobased products are unavailable, fail to meet related performance requirements, or are too expensive. 
The Act requires vendors who offer products under the program to certify their products are biobased and provide related information as requested by the state. 

This Act enables gas and electric utility customers in the state to finance the costs of installing equipment and making repairs to their homes to conserve energy by paying an additional ‘‘Meter Conservation Charge” as part of their monthly utility bills. Utility customers must permit the utilities to perform an energy audit of their homes before they can sign a contract initiating the charge. The energy audit must be conducted by an energy auditor certified by the Building Performance Institute or similar organization. The audit must provide an estimate of the costs of the proposed energy efficiency and conservation measures and the expected savings associated with the measures, and it must recommend measures appropriately sized for the specific use contemplated. Contracts to impose a Meter Conservation Charge must state plainly the interest rate to be charged to finance the costs of the energy efficiency and conservation measures. The interest rate must be a fixed rate over the term of the agreement and must not exceed four percent above the stated yield for one-year Treasury bills as published by the Federal Reserve at the time the agreement is entered. Customers can pay off their contracts without incurring penalties anytime before their contracts expire.

According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, organized retail theft losses have amounted to as much as $30 billion. It is a growing problem for retailers, manufacturers and distributors in this state and throughout the United States. Organized retail theft is committed by professional theft rings which move across communities and states to pilfer merchandise from supermarkets, chain drugstores, independent pharmacies, mass merchandisers, convenience stores, warehouses and transporters, then resell that merchandise in venues including the Internet, at flea markets and to the stores from which it was stolen. Popular targets include infant formula, skin care products, heartburn medications and shaving products. 
This SSL draft Act is based on Pennsylvania HB 1720, which became law in 2010. This draft legislation creates penalties for organized retail theft as a felony of the second or third degree, depending upon the retail value of the stolen merchandise. 
A 2009 SSL draft Act entitled Organized Retail Crime allows for the amount of goods stolen to be aggregated into one charge before a defendant goes to trial. That Act also allows grouping multiple offenses together to meet a threshold that imposes stiffer charges on people who commit organized retail theft. The legislation requires establishments which accept large amounts of items for resale to make a reasonable attempt to determine if the items are stolen. The 2009 SSL draft is based on Delaware HB 121, which was enacted into law in 2007. 
The 2008 SSL draft Act entitled Organized Retail Theft creates three crimes. One addresses theft of property with a value of at least $250 from a mercantile establishment with intent to resell. Another makes it a crime to possess stolen property from a mercantile establishment with a value of at least $250. The third addresses theft of property from a mercantile establishment when the person leaves through an emergency exit, uses a device designed to overcome security systems, or commits theft at 3 or more mercantile establishments within 180 days. Finally, that Act adds theft with intent to resell and organized retail theft to a list of offenses that can be “criminal profiteering” when punishable as a felony and by imprisonment for more than one year. The 2008 SSL draft is based on Washington Chapter 277 of 2006. 


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