The latest edition of our Impact newsletter is now available!
Weekly edition of IMPACT, a publication of the Maine State Chamber | March 31, 2022
MSCC Advocacy Alert:
Call Your Legislators and Urge Them to Support the Bipartisan “Ought Not to Pass” Report on LD 1539, An Act Provide Access to Fertility Care
New increased costs could range from an additional $5 to $6 per person/employee per month
A majority of the Joint Standing Committee on Health Coverage, Insurance and Financial Services (HCIFS) has approved a sweeping health insurance mandate contained in LD 1539, An Act Provide Access to Fertility Care, which will significantly add to the cost of insurance for individuals, small businesses, and large employers – and for employees who receive coverage from their workplace.
MSCC Advocacy Alert:
Chamber members urged to call on Governor Mills to veto “Dark stores” bill, now on her desk
“Dark stores” bill expanded to affect residential and commercial taxpayers
The Maine House of Representatives voted mostly along party lines (76-53) and the Senate along party lines 22-11 to enact LD 1129, An Act Relating to the Valuation of Improved Real Property, sponsored by Rep. Ann Matlack (D-St. George). The Maine State Chamber testified in opposition to LD 1129 at the public hearing.
Energy committee split three ways on accountability legislation
Last week, the Legislature’s Energy, Utilities, and Technology (EUT) committee held work sessions and language reviews on what is arguably its biggest piece of legislation this session, LD 1959, An Act To Ensure Transmission and Distribution Utility Accountability. This bill had a daylong public hearing in February, which generated enormous amounts of testimony. The work session to follow was just as lengthy, taking a full day to find an outcome that would garner the support of most of the committee. However, that did not happen, and the EUT committee will now submit three different reports on LD 1959.
Bill to limit non-disclosure agreements moves forward
LD 965 approved by a majority of Labor committee in final work session
At what was likely to be its last work session of 2022, the Joint Standing Committee on Labor went out the same way it has operated for most of the past two years – divided along party lines on controversial workplace legislation.
Unanimously approved by the House and Senate, LD 1964 now heads to the Governor’s desk for her signature
This week, the Maine House of Representatives and the Maine Senate voted unanimously in support of the enactment of LD 1964, An Act To Update Certain Water Quality Standards and To Reclassify Certain Waters of the State. The vote in the House was 129 Yeas, zero Nays, and 19 absent. While the vote in the Senate was 33 Yeas, zero Nays, and one Excused.
Maine State Chamber testifies in support of Research Expense Tax Credit
On Friday, March 25, Maine State Chamber staff testified before the Government Oversight Committee (GOC) in support of the State’s Research Expense Tax Credit and its overall importance to Maine businesses. The GOC held a public hearing on a report completed by the Office of Program Evaluation and Government Accountability (OPEGA) on the Research Expense Tax Credit. This report is part of OPEGA’s tax expenditure review process.
Register today for these upcoming events!
Lewiston Auburn Regional Legislative Breakfast
Thursday, April 28 |9:00 to 10:30 a.m.
Hilton Garden Inn Riverwatch,Great Falls Plaza, Auburn
From the Governor’s Office…
Governor Mills applauds release of additional H-2B visas, boost to tourism and hospitality sector
On March 31, Governor Janet Mills praised an announcement by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security that it will release an additional 35,000 H-2B visas nationally for the second half of the 2022 Fiscal Year. These visas will help Maine businesses fill seasonal jobs and temporarily address longstanding workforce shortage issues as businesses prepare for the summer tourism season.
The Work Boots Alliance supports a better, safer solution to the PFAS debate
The Maine Work Boots Alliance is a coalition of farmers, landscapers, garden centers, municipal sewer districts, septic haulers, biosolids recyclers and other businesses that oppose the proposed ban on municipal biosolids, the majority report to LD 1911.
From the Headlines…
New advisory group to study port development for offshore wind
Maine is creating a Roadmap to develop an offshore wind industry that works for Maine’s people, economy, and heritage. Ben Lucas of the Maine Chamber of Commerce has been named to serve on the advisory group. Read draft initial recommendations and offer feedback here.
Watch the next episode of The Maine Take at noon on Tuesday, April 5
Be sure to watch The Maine Take streaming every Tuesday at noon during the legislative session, or check the archives for previous episodes, including our March 29 show with special guests Hon. Brian Langley of Bridge Academy Maine, Educate Maine’s Jason Judd, and the Maine State Chamber’s Simon West, who joined for an important discussion about business-education partnerships and innovation that are growing Maine’s workforce; and on the MaineSpark coalition’s efforts and progress to make sure that by 2025, 60% of Mainers will hold education and workforce credentials that position them for success. Please visit our website or contact Jen Webber for more information about The Maine Take, including sponsorship opportunities.
From the Governor’s Office…
Maine Delegation, Governor Mills renew call for Biden Administration to extend lobster gear deadline
With new federal regulations fast approaching and supply chain challenges delaying access to key materials, U.S. Senators Susan Collins and Angus King, Representatives Chellie Pingree and Jared Golden, and Governor Janet Mills are urging the Biden administration to give Maine lobstermen and women more time to comply with updated gear rules. In a letter to Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo (PDF), the Maine lawmakers request a delay in the implementation of part of the National Marine Fisheries Service’s (NMFS) new Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Plan (ALWTRP) rule that requires weak points in lobster lines, highlight the supply chain and availability issues facing lobstermen who are trying to acquire the required gear, and stress that the current deadline puts the lobster industry in what the Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy described as an “impossible scenario.”
State of Maine joins Best Place for Working Parents network
Maine is proud to announce that it has joined the ranks of the national Best Place for Working Parents network. Best Place for Working Parents is a growing national network of business leaders proving that family friendly is business friendly, through a first of its kind, three-minute, online self-assessment highlighting only the top 10 research-backed policies that benefit working parents and businesses’ bottom line.
Tune in for the next episode of The Bottom Line podcast at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, April 14
On Thursday, April 14 at 10:00 a.m., co-hosts Dana Connors of the Maine State Chamber of Commerce and John Williams of Williams Broadcasting will be joined by Craig Larabee, president and CEO of JMG, to discuss JMG's programs to work with Maine's public middle and high schools, community colleges, and university system to help students reach their fullest potential. JMG strengthens Maine's workforce and improves the economy by providing students with the guidance, skills and opportunities they need to succeed in their careers.
The Bottom Line podcast airs on the second and fourth Tuesday of each month. To listen live or to archived recordings, please visit The Bottom Line page on the Maine State Chamber’s website or on iTunes, iHeart Radio, Soundcloud, Stitcher Radio, Spotify and radio.com. For more information about The Bottom Line, please contact Melanie Baillargeon by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.