A former Speaker of the Maine House of Representatives cautioned me as we discussed that particular legislative session. She advised: “Dana, do not judge us on the bills we submitted. Judge us, instead, on the bills that pass.”
You see, it was a session not unlike this one, filled with tension and flawed proposals. And not unlike this session, after the dust settled a bit, the business community had fared far better than most had anticipated.
As you read through this Final Summary edition, your appreciation for the complexity of the issues will likely deepen, and your understanding of their impact will expand. In the end, despite a host of challenges and trials, or maybe because of them, the outcomes of this session were far better than expected. Maine’s business community can count “wins” in the passage of the Spaceport legislation, the impact of Maine’s Strategic Plan, the infusion and allocation of federal relief dollars, and the unanimous, bipartisan agreement of the supplemental budget by the Appropriations committee, and with it, investments in child care, housing, broadband, and transportation.
Now that is not to say these battles were easily triumphed. In fact, both sessions of the 130th Maine Legislature were difficult in many ways – mostly due to the continuation of pandemic protocols and the virtual nature of this session’s committee process. Our Advocacy team worked diligently to overcome the obstacles and to affect and influence the outcomes of this session for the betterment of Maine’s economy.
The highly partisan temperament of the current political climate – both nationally and locally – often makes compromise difficult. Yet, without a commitment to working through the issues contained in each legislative position, far more bad laws would have prevailed, and Maine people would have paid the price. We would like to thank Governor Janet Mills, her administration, and key legislators on both sides of the aisle for their ongoing communication and collaborative relationship throughout yet another difficult legislative session.
And lastly, thank you to our members, their employees, and to our local and regional chambers! You responded to our calls for action and requests for outreach, making a tangible difference in the outcomes of some of the more onerous proposals. We hope in the future you will be able to continue using technology to make your voice heard – especially when running your business makes traveling to the Statehouse for a day impossible.
I anticipate that we will carry forward many of the lessons from this “pandemic session.” The Maine State Chamber will continue to assess the outcomes of this session by their impact on Maine’s economy. We will also continue to proudly work on your behalf to ensure the best possible outcomes each and every session.