AUGUSTA, Maine (Legal Newsline) - Maine Attorney General William Schneider says the state plans on pursuing a legal challenge to President Barack Obama's health care reform act.

Schneider told The Associated Press on Tuesday that he's "determined" to have Maine join the multi-state lawsuit against the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

It would be the first state from the New England region to be part of the litigation.

A federal judge in Florida is expected to rule soon in the 20-state lawsuit. Last month, a judge in Virginia ruled the individual mandate requirement was unconstitutional. The health care act requires individuals to purchase health insurance or pay a $695 annual penalty.

Maine isn't the only state looking to join the multi-state suit. Georgia's Sam Olens, who was just sworn in Monday, said he would sign off on a legal motion to join the challenge. Ohio's Mike DeWine said during his swearing in on Sunday that his first action would be to challenge the health care law.

Oklahoma Attorney General-elect Scott Pruitt also announced over the weekend he is filing a separate lawsuit against the law.

And last week, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker authorized Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen to proceed on behalf of the state with its own legal challenge.

Van Hollen, who was reelected in November, had requested permission to join the suit in the spring but was denied by state officials, most of whom were Democrats.

Schneider was selected as attorney general, beating out Democratic incumbent Janet Mills, the state's first female attorney general.

Maine is the only state where the attorney general is elected by secret ballot in the Legislature. In almost every other state, the post is elected by the general population.

This is the first time since 1980 that the state's attorney general is a Republican.

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by e-mail at

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