AUGUSTA — The bill to send $450 checks to most Mainers was signed into law Wednesday afternoon.

Gov. Janet Mills signed on Jan. 3 LD 3, which is aimed at providing relief to Maine households because of higher heating costs. Checks may go out as early as the end of January.

The House approved the bill 114 to 29 with all Midcoast representatives supporting the legislation. Voting for it were Democratic Reps. Valli Geiger of Rockland, Victoria Doudera of Camden, Ann Matlack of St. George, Clinton Collamore of Waldoboro, Holly Eaton of Deer Isle, and independent Rep. William Pluecker of Warren.

The Senate approved the measure 24-10. Backing the measure were Democratic Sens. Anne “Pinny” Beebe-Center of Rockland, Chip Curry of Belfast, and Cameron Reny of Round Pond.

Because the legislation received a two-thirds majority in both the House and the Senate and it was marked as an emergency bill, the law takes effect immediately. Without the two-thirds support, the bill would not have taken effect until 90 days after the Legislature adjourns which typically occurs in June.

“With high energy prices causing real hardship, this emergency measure will ease the financial burden on Maine people by putting money back into their pockets and ensure that our most vulnerable citizens are able to stay warm this winter,” Gov. Mills stated in a news release. “I thank the Legislature for its strong, bipartisan vote, and I look forward to continuing to work with them to implement long-term solutions that will bring down energy costs, improve energy efficiency, and reduce Maine’s highest-in-the-nation dependence on expensive and harmful fossil fuels.”

The $450 checks will go to individuals who earn up to $100,000 and $900 for couples earning up to $200,000.

Many Republicans voted against the measure. The governor had attempted to get the bill approved last month but Republican leaders insisted on a formal public hearing.

“Senate Republicans appreciate the fact that both parties came together to hold a public hearing during the holidays. As we turn to the future, you can expect that our Caucus will take the public’s input we received at the hearing to heart and continue to advocate for long-term solutions to the problems we heard,” said Sen. Lisa Keim, R-Oxford in a statement issued Jan. 4 by the Senate Republican Office. “We had five hours of testimony and over 200 written pieces of testimony submitted and it’s obvious the short-term bailouts provided by this bill are not the answer. We will continue advocating for those who are most vulnerable in our State.”

There are no local Republican legislators.