Governor Janet Mills signed LD 2003 into law, a landmark bill sponsored by Speaker of the House Ryan Fecteau (D-Biddeford) to expand affordable housing options in Maine. The bill is one of the first in the country to reform zoning laws in the state, allowing for construction of more units on lots currently zoned for single-family housing and give homeowners more flexibility to build as they see fit. It is just the latest action taken by Governor Mills to address Maine’s affordable housing crisis, which was exacerbated by policy failures of her predecessor, Paul LePage.

When LePage was governor, he actively opposed attempts to expand access to affordable housing options in Maine, including by:

  • Refusing to release voter-approved $15 million in bonding to create affordable senior housing, yet again ignoring the will of his constituents

  • Refusing to sign bipartisan legislation to make the application process for Section 8 housing easier to navigate

  • Vetoing a bipartisan bill that would have protected Maine homeowners facing foreclosure from the widely reported abuses of profiteering large national mortgage companies

  • Doing “everything in his power” to make it difficult for the City of Portland to find housing or shelter for people experiencing homelessness, according to Portland Press Herald columnist Greg Kesich

“Thanks to Governor Mills and Speaker Fecteau’s hard work, today is a momentous day in the fight to ensure all Mainers can access affordable housing,” said Drew Gattine, Chair of the Maine Democratic Party. “After eight years of Paul LePage doing little to address Maine’s affordable housing crunch, this progress is desperately needed. We can’t afford to let LePage and his policies return to office.”

In addition to today’s zoning reform bill, Governor Mills and Democrats in the legislature have boldly fought Maine’s housing crunch and rising housing costs by:

  • Preventing evictions during the COVID–19 pandemic

  • Releasing the $15 million in voter-approved bonds for affordable senior housing that LePage blocked

  • Creating a commission to identify how outdated land use and zoning restrictions impact Maine’s housing crisis

  • Enacting the single largest state investment in housing in Maine’s history