Governor Mills Asks Legislature to Recall Good Samaritan Expansion Bill & Send Her Compromise Version

April 19, 2022

“I do not want to veto this measure only to have the end result be that we disagreed and made no progress at all… Let us make concrete progress through consensus rather than allowing progress to fall victim to legitimate disagreement.”

Governor Janet Mills today sent a letter asking the Legislature to recall LD 1862 and instead advance a compromise that would responsibly expand Maine’s Good Samaritan Law to ensure that any person rendering aid at the scene of an overdose qualifies for immunity.

In her letter, the Governor said that she cannot sign the current version of bill or allow it to become law, writing that it is “far too broad in its scope, and that it will have unintended consequences of allowing drug trafficking to occur wholesale while leaving us helpless to do anything about it.”

“However, I do not want to veto this measure only to have the end result be that we disagreed and made no progress at all on the Good Samaritan law. I believe there is a consensus middle ground that we can all support,” wrote Governor Mills. “The majority report – recommended as ought to pass by the Legislature’s Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee – would expand the Good Samaritan law to make clear that any person rendering aid at the scene would qualify for immunity from the crimes already enumerated. This is a right-sized, reasonable approach that expands immunity without hamstringing the ability of law enforcement to act when needed. I support this measure.”

The Governor pledged to sign the majority report into law: “Please recall LD 1862 from my desk, pass the majority report, and let us make concrete progress through consensus rather than allowing progress to fall victim to legitimate disagreement. While I cannot allow the current version of LD 1862 to become law, I pledge to you if you send me the majority report, I will sign it into law.”

Governor Mills has repeatedly expressed her concerns with LD 1862, An Act to Strengthen Maine’s Good Samaritan Laws Concerning Drug-related Medical Assistance, throughout the legislative session. If L.D. 1862 were to become law, Maine would become the only state in the nation to provide immunity from scores of crimes and to confer immunity to all of those who happen to be “at the location.”

In her letter, the Governor noted that, under LD 1892, if a law enforcement officer responds to a scene and discovers a person blocking entry to the location and that person has a backpack full of fentanyl and cash law enforcement would be prohibited from charging that person with drug trafficking – simply because they were “at the location.”

Reaffirming her commitment to working with the Legislature to address the opioid crisis in Maine, Governor Mills implored lawmakers to recall the legislation from her desk and send her the amendment that reasonably expands the law to save lives by ensuring that any person rendering aid at the scene of an overdose qualifies for immunity.

Governor Mills was proud to sign Maine’s Good Samaritan law into effect in 2019, a law consistent with the policies of forty-four other states nationwide, which targets the need for people to call 911 in a drug overdose emergency to save lives. Working with the Legislature, the Mills Administration then built on that law by making record investments in prevention, treatment, and recovery services for people struggling with substance use disorder.

Read the Governor’s letter (PDF).