Still wondering how all of this works? We’ve taken the time to address some of the most common inquiries we receive to help you better understand how MEMA sets and supports industry initiatives.
Does MEMA only work on oil industry legislation?
No. Like any industry trade group, our primary focus is on industry-related issues. However, we also realize that we have a responsibility to our customers, who are unable to buy our products or services when they are burdened with paying higher taxes and fees (something we generally oppose). We also work on workers’ comp, general energy industry legislation affecting natural gas and electricity (our competitors) and a long list of environmental legislation as well as transportation and insurance issues.
Who decides what issues get prioritized and what position MEMA will take on these issues?
That depends on the issue. MEMA has several committees, so any issue within the jurisdiction of that committee would receive the bill, review it and its effects on the industry and then come to a conclusion about what position to take. For example, the 1998 changes to the state motor fuels excise tax collection system that MEMA sponsored were all driven from the MEMA Motor Fuels Committee. Any MEMA member is eligible to join a committee and every committee operates on a “one-share, one-vote” principle, meaning each and every member’s opinion and vote counts equally. Ultimately, majority rules, so if a majority of the committee takes a position, that becomes the official MEMA position. We speak with one voice as an association, or we don’t speak at all.
Who lobbies legislators?
You, our members, do! MEMA staff identify the bills we need to watch as they are printed and then refers them to the appropriate committee for action before we engage our membership in speaking with individual legislators about those issues. Every MEMA member in Maine has a State House and a State Senate member who represents the district in which their business is located. We encourage members to be in close contact with their respective representatives on issues, and MEMA’s Legislative Committee will typically ask local members to make calls, write the letters and come to hearings and work sessions as needed in order to reinforce our approach on important issues.