President's Message: “It’s the last six weeks of legislative session … in pandemic times!”
Following the passage of the biennial budget in late March, the legislature adjourned “sine die” on the evening of Tuesday, March 30. Legislative committees continued working through the docket of pending proposals and the first meeting of the special session was convened on Wed., April 28, 2021. Legislators had been slated to return for session on Thursday, May 13; however, positive COVID cases among legislators have postponed that meeting until the following week.
Between now and June 21 (statutory adjournment), legislators face a hefty workload of complex issues and at a feverish pace. Committees are expected to complete their public hearings by Friday, May 7. Shortly thereafter, committees will need to hold work sessions so that all bills are reported out by Friday, May 21.
All that sounds basically normal for the final month of session, right? Now add to this, the shift of the required two-weeks’ notice for public hearings to sometimes less than 24 hours’ notice, the lack of traditional relationship building with legislators in the halls of the Statehouse, and an economy trying to rebuild its way out of the effects of a global pandemic.
Now it looks more like a fast and furious six weeks ahead on the legislative front. Rest assured that our advocacy team is up to the task and is weighing in on these issues every day.
In the midst of this intense legislative activity, I don’t want to miss the opportunity to commemorate Teacher Appreciation Week and Small Business Week, celebrated annually during the first week of May. Both play a major role in our daily lives and in our local economies. Both have also been more challenged and more necessary in this global pandemic.
It is no secret that small businesses are the backbone of Maine’s economy and provide us with constant examples of innovation and creativity. And similarly, at its most basic, Maine’s educators are preparing the next generation of employees and entrepreneurs. The Maine State Chamber is so grateful to educators and small business owners for taking the daily risks to continue serving Mainers during this pandemic.
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