Legal Aid Needs Not Being Met

The state’s six nonprofit legal aid providers are struggling to meet the needs of Maine’s poor and elderly, as the demand for legal services continues to rise and funding for the agencies drops.

Over a two-month period this spring, the six agencies received about 6,400 requests for legal help, ranging from assistance in foreclosure proceedings to help with child custody cases.

They were able to fully meet the needs in only 1,500 of those cases – fewer than one in four. The other 4,900 received either limited help or no help at all, according to figures released Thursday.

“Having it in black and white confronts you with the reality that the folks who come to us for help already know,” said Nan Heald, executive director of Pine Tree Legal Assistance, Maine’s largest legal aid provider.

via Portland Press Herald.

More on the latest Maine laws

Bangor Daily News reviews some of the new laws now in force in Maine.

Beginning Saturday, lighting up at any “outdoor eating areas” at bars and restaurants in Maine is against the law.

But if you want to take home some of that pub’s tasty summer ale or Octoberfest brew, you’re in luck. As of Sept. 12, brewpubs can sell half-gallon jugs of beer — commonly known as “growlers” — from behind the bar.

Just don’t text message your friend about your purchase on the drive home. If you do, and a police officer notices you speeding or swerving, you could be one of the first Mainers slapped with a ticket and a fine under the state’s new “distracted driving” law.

Those are just three of the hundreds of new laws that take effect on Saturday, which is the 90th day after the Legislature adjourned.

Carbon Monoxide Detectors to be Required

A new law takes effect in November 2009 that requires the installation of carbon monoxide detectors in addition to smoke detectors in certain buildings. View the specific requirements here.

The Legislature recently modernized Maine’s law that applies to smoke detectors (a law that hasn’t been updated in eleven years) and to create a new law to deal with carbon monoxide detectors. An Act to Protect Maine Residents from Home Fires and Carbon Monoxide requires all newly-constructed single family and multi-apartment dwellings constructed or sold in the state to have both smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors that meet certain specifications and are installed in certain locations within those residential units.

via Public Safety.

New Marketing Law Won’t Be Enforced

A new Maine law restricting marketing to minors is so problematic that Attorney General Janet Mills will not enforce the measure, her office said Friday.

“The Attorney General’s position is that she’s not enforcing the law,” Maine Deputy Attorney General Paul Stern said Friday.

Stern added that the authorities take the position that the measure could violate teens’ free speech rights — an argument raised last week by groups who mounted a court challenge to the statute. “We share some of the plaintiffs’ concerns about the law,” Stern said.

via MediaPost.