Submitted by Sen. Jeff Timberlake (R-Androscoggin) and
Sen. Matt Pouliot (R-Kennebec), Assistant Senate Republican Leader
Our highest priority in the Legislature regarding the Chamber’s members is to keep Maine businesses open. As both business owners and legislators, we understand the need to balance our economic needs with concerns for the public health. In all our years in the business world, neither of us has ever encountered a business owner or manager that does not want to do everything they can to keep their employees and customers safe.
Submitted by Senate President Troy Jackson (D-Aroostook)
Over the past 11 months, Maine workers and small businesses have shown tremendous resilience in the face of an unprecedented global pandemic. Restaurants and retail establishments have had to adopt new business models overnight just to keep their doors open. Small businesses across every industry have had to implement new COVID-19 health and safety protocols to keep their workers and customers safe. But throughout this uncertainty, Maine’s small businesses have continued to step up for our communities, from manufacturing personal protective equipment like American Roots in Westbrook to feeding Maine seniors like Big Rick’s Burgers & Wings in Madawaska.
Education and Cultural Affairs committee discusses financial security for schools and staff, and funding of summer pilot programs
In its most recent meetings, the Education and Cultural Affairs committee met for orientation with the Maine Department of Education (DOE) and conducted its first public hearing. The DOE discussed how the state determines what funds are needed for different school districts and how it establishes a minimum funding level for achieving learning results in an equitable way.
Legislature considers mandating “cash out” of vacation pay, resulting in higher costs and fewer worker benefits
The Joint Standing Committee on Labor and Housing held a public hearing on a bill that will eliminate the ability of employers to manage their in-house costs when it comes to vacation benefits, and instead mandate that all employees who receive vacation pay are allowed to “cash out” upon cessation of employment – even if they are discharged for misconduct.
In virtual format, 2021 Leadership Summit builds connections and fosters understanding between business and legislative leaders
For more than 20 years, the Maine State Chamber of Commerce convenes a meeting of its board members and key legislative leaders each February for a two-day Leadership Summit at Sunday River. During this time, attendees discuss their top public policy priorities and needed strategic investments with a focus on improving Maine’s economic climate. This year, although the 2021 Leadership Summit was held virtually due to the pandemic, the event’s purpose and focus remained squarely the same.
by Dana Connors
Last week, we hosted our 22nd annual Leadership Summit, and although it looked very different this year from our previous summits, it didn’t disappoint! Each year, once the dust settles a bit, I take some time to reflect on this event. And each year for more than two decades now, I am always grateful for the willingness of legislators and business leaders to come together, even virtually, for frank, open dialog to the public policy issues facing our state.