Edition for Friday, May 15, 2020
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your Daily Impact newsletter!
As a valued member of
the Maine State Chamber of Commerce, we plan to stay in touch with you every
afternoon, through emails like this one and on Facebook and Twitter, until the pandemic passes. We
intend to provide you with the latest state and federal information, as well
as highlighting the creativity and innovation that is occuring here in Maine
during this unpredictable and rapidly changing time. To assist you in
navigating the uncertainties ahead, we have created a diverse and
comprehensive collection of web-based resources to help you take care of yourself and your family, your employees, your business, and your community.
Do you have a question? ASK THE EXPERTS.
We are here to
help in any way we can!
Committee Will Be Bridge To Rebuilding Economy, Members Told
According to an article in
today's Mainebiz, the new Economic
Recovery Committee will be a bridge between the economic emergency caused
by the pandemic and and Maine's long-term economic renewal, Gov. Janet Mills
told members at the group's inaugural meeting Friday morning.
Meeting via Zoom, aside from
the 40-member committee, an additional 16 panelists and 126 other attendees
joined. Mills announced the commitee May 7, drawing members from across
sectors and industries in the state. This morning she told the committee the
focus is on what happens once the immediate crisis is over, using the state's
10-year economic plan her administration unveiled in December as a guide.
The first meeting was an
introductory one, where co-chairs Laurie Lachance, president of Thomas
College, and Josh Broder, of Tilson, talked about the committee's charge, and
Heather Johnson, commissioner of the state Department of Economic and
Community Development, gave members an outline of what will be considered. Broder
and Lachance, while stressing the dire economic situation, also said they
believe Maine is up to the task. Broder cited the state's history of
innovation, while Lachance said its reputation for "Yankee
ingenuity" will help.
Maine State Chamber President
Dana Connors serves on the 40-member committee, which has been split into six
subcommittees. The subcommittees are:
* Manufacturing and natural
resources, chaired by Larry Shaw, CEO of MMG insurance;
* Hospitality, tourism and
retail, chaired by Bob Montgomery-Rice, CEO and president of Bangor Savings
* Education and workforce,
chaired by Jim Herbert, president, University of New England;
* Infrastructure, chaired by
Susan Corbett, founder and director, National Digital Equity Center;
* Innovation, chaired by Betsy
Biemann, CEO of Coastal Enterprises Inc.; and
* Health care, nonprofits and
child care, chaired by Bill Burke, chair, MaineHealth Board of Trustees.
The committees will look at
barriers to success for their sectors, what's stopping people and
organizations from reengaging in a productive way with the economy, and
identify opportunities for each sector to get back on the growth path.
They'll also look at innovation opportunities and resources that are
A Virtual Update
Maine State Chamber of Commerce, together with local and regional chambers of
commerce, invites you to our Regional Breakfast Meetings, held virtually on
Zoom. As a local business leader, your valuable insight is instrumental to
this open dialogue about issues that affect your business, your community and
your state. We need your expertise and input to make recommendations and to
identify opportunities for moving Maine's economic future in a positive
attending one of our annual statewide breakfast series meetings is an ideal
way for you, the Maine business leader, to interact with business associates,
new and prospective Maine State Chamber members, and state representatives in
a relaxed setting. This year, due to the COVID-19 situation, we will be
hosting this event online as a coffee hour from 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. - so
grab a cup of coffee and join the conversation from the relaxation of your
Monday, May 18
Tuesday, May 19
Thursday, May 21
with the Bangor Region
Chamber of Commerce
Thursday, May 28
Secures WiFi & Learning Devices for 100 Percent of Maine Students
Reporting a Need In Face of COVID-19's Impacts on Schools
Governor Janet Mills and Maine
Education Commissioner Pender Makin announced today that the Maine Department
of Education has secured
internet access and devices to facilitate at-home learning for 100
percent of Maine school children for whom there was a reported need. The
success comes as Maine educators have demonstrated extraordinary commitment
and creativity in response to the suspension of classroom-based instruction
as a result of COVID-19, providing invaluable and meaningful personal
connection and assurance to students in a time of great uncertainty. However,
it is still difficult for educators to offer equitable online learning
opportunities without individual student internet access.
Through a combined effort with
the Department of Administrative and Financial Services, ConnectME, and
business and philanthropic entities, the Maine Department of Education (Maine
DOE) has acquired 14,494 service contracts through three different service
providers, nearly all of which are for WiFi-enabled Samsung Galaxy Tablets
that can be used as learning tools and hotspots or hotspots only. Through one
of the service providers, DOE was also able to order MiFi, a wireless router
that acts as a mobile WiFi hotspot, to fulfill internet-only needs. To fulfill
the device-only needs, Maine DOE was able to order 7,450 Chromebooks.
The Administration utilized
federal funds, including a portion of Maine's $9.3 million allocation from
the Governor's Emergency Education Relief (GEER) Fund, which was allocated through
the federal CARES Act, as well as philanthropic donations, to purchase the
devices and wireless service contracts to meet the identified need for
universal connectivity for Maine students.
DOL Releases Claims for
Unemployment Compensation, Week Ending May 9
The Maine Department of Labor
reported yesterday that a
total of about 21,000 unemployment initial claims were filed in the week
ending May 9, down from 26,600 the prior week. About 11,500 of those claims
are identified as Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program claims. In
order to receive PUA, claimants must not be eligible for regular state
unemployment benefits. In order to meet these requirements and ensure
individuals receive benefits, some individuals have their application
processed twice, once for state unemployment eligibility and once for
eligibility under federal PUA. The total number of initial claims filed
through the state unemployment and through PUA is higher than the actual
total number of individuals filing claims. MDOL will provide a more detailed
breakdown in the coming weeks.
Approximately 87,000 weekly
certifications, or continued claims, were filed last week for state
unemployment, an increase of 10,700 over the previous week. In addition,
41,000 weekly certifications were filed under PUA, including for retroactive benefit
weeks. Weekly certifications are the forms that must be filed by claimants
every week in order to continue to receive unemployment benefits.
Since March 15, the Department
has paid out over $400 million in unemployment benefits. Benefit payments are
retroactive. The additional weekly $600 created by the new Federal Pandemic
Unemployment Compensation program is retroactive to the week ending April 4
and is available through July 25, 2020.
Manufacturing-Specific Guidance: The CDC and OSHA have jointly released
comprehensive manufacturing-specific guidance that
details the steps companies need to take to protect their workforce. Securing
these recommendations has been a top priority for manufacturers needing
clarity on the best ways to keep their workers safe.
SBA Extends PPP Repayment Deadline: Yesterday, the Small Business
Administration released new guidance on the Paycheck Protection Program's
economic necessity certification requirement. To give businesses time to
review the new guidance, the SBA has now extended the repayment deadline to
Monday, May 18 for applicants who cannot certify their loans' economic
necessity. For more information, take a look at questions 46 and 47 on the SBA's PPP FAQ document.
NAM Member Offers Best Practices for
Facility Safety: This
morning, NAM member Click Bond, Inc.,
presented at the spring meeting of the CDC/NIOSH Manufacturing Sector Council
at the National Occupational Research Agenda on the company's strategies for
containing COVID-19 at their facilities. The council brings together researchers,
business and health experts to identify and implement strategies to increase
manufacturers should visit NAM's Coronavirus site for
the latest information, including operational guidance, policy plans and
resources, and an updated breakdown of state and local orders. For
ways to contribute to COVID-19 relief efforts, please email NAM's Response Team with
any N95 or Tyvek suit donations.
Collins, King Join
Bipartisan Push for Additional Support for Child Care Providers in Future
COVID-19 Relief Legislation
Yesterday, U.S. Senators Susan
Collins and Angus King joined a bipartisan group of 23 of their colleagues in
urging Senate leadership to provide additional
support for the child care sector in future COVID-19 relief legislation.
"In many states, child care providers have been forced to close their doors. Other child care providers are continuing to operate, despite financial losses, to provide support to parents, especially our essential workers," the Senators wrote. "As Congress considers the next round of relief legislation, we urge leadership to build on its efforts to provide more support for child care so we can effectively serve the needs of essential workers in the short term, and ensure that parents can return to work as our economy recovers."
Last month, Senators Collins
and King announced
nearly $11 million to the State of Maine to provide child care assistance
for low-income families, health care sector employees, first responders,
sanitation workers, and other workers deemed essential, and to support child
care providers. This funding was authorized by the CARES Act.
King Updates New England
Council Members on Ongoing Coronavirus Response Efforts
Yesterday, U.S. Senator Angus
King (I-Maine) participated in a video
call with New England Council (NEC) President and CEO James Brett and 150
NEC members. During the call, Senator
King provided updates on federal coronavirus response efforts, took
questions from the members, and discussed priorities that he would like to
see in future coronavirus relief legislation, such as: substantial and
additional aid to help state and local governments endure the economic
impacts of the pandemic, funding for the U.S. Postal Service, and the
importance of cybersecurity as the nation increases reliance upon distance
learning, work from home, and telehealth.
Throughout the pandemic,
Senator King has engaged with Maine people from all walks of life and helpful
organizations to address questions surrounding the coronavirus pandemic and
identify remaining work to be done. Since the Senate passed the CARES Act, he
has participated in dozens of teleconferences and phone calls, including a
few with Maine business leaders, hosted by the Maine State Chamber of
Commerce and local and regional chambers of commerce.
Use the Maine State Chamber's blog and Daily
Impact to tell your story!
Numerous Maine companies are stepping up or pivoting nimbly,
as Maine people resourcefully address the challenges of this pandemic. Share
your perspective and experience with us and with the rest of the business
community. How are you facing and overcoming the challenges posed by this
pandemic? What are you and your employees doing in this dramatically
different economy? Tell us about the innovations your company or employees
are making or ways you have adapted your company to meet your customers'
Each blog entry should
be 300 to 500 words. Join us in creating a written history of the business
community's resilience and innovation during this extraordinary time. Please submit your entries to firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information
or questions, please contact Mark Ellis by emailing email@example.com or by calling (207)
623-4568, ext. 109.
SAVE THE DATE!
2020 Maine State Chamber Health Care Reform
Wednesday, May 27 | 10:00 to 11:15 a.m.
A confirmation of event details will be available shortly. The 2020 Maine State Chamber Health Care Forum will focus on the changing nature of coverage in Maine; both through legislation and through innovation. The program will be virtual, and roughly an hour in length. We will begin with a presentation by Denise McDonough, President of Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Maine. Her presentation will focus on innovation in the marketplace, and cost saving initiatives being undertaken by Anthem. After that, there will be a panel discussion that includes Kristine Ossenfort, Senior Government Relations Director at Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Maine, and the Maine Superintendent of Insurance Eric Cioppa, to discuss the legislative events of this past session, and the policy changes that were enacted by lawmakers that are likely to impact the individual and small group markets, both in terms of policies, coverage and price. Join us for what promises to be an interesting and informative session.
Maine State Chamber Webinar Series | Recordings and Recaps
SERIES SPONSORS: Bangor Savings Bank,
Central Maine Power Company,
Additional webinars will be
forthcoming, and sponsorship
opportunities are available. Registration or general questions can be
directed to Angela Arno, director of programs and events for the Maine State
Chamber of Commerce, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or
calling (207) 623-4568, ext. 104.
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