The Legislature may have adjourned last week, however, because they passed a joint order allowing the committees to continue to hold public hearings and work sessions, Committee work is being done fast and furious while more bills are still being printed.
Bills of Interest
MEMA reviews and monitors each bill and flags the ones that impact our membership each week. Released as of the last Legislative Update are the following bills. Please be sure to reach out with feedback on any bills that catch your attention. Bills 1 through 1535 have been printed to date.
This bill facilitates the establishment of one or more stewardship programs in the State for packaging material to be operated by a stewardship organization approved by the Department of Environmental Protection. The plan for which must be approved by the department and annually updated following a department review, participating responsible parties that sell, offer for sale or distribute for sale in or into the State certain products contained, protected, delivered, presented or distributed in or using packaging material are required to pay fees related to the packaging material associated with those products. Responsible party payments received by a stewardship organization are used to offset operational recycling costs incurred by entities meeting certain eligibility requirements, which may include municipalities, refuse disposal districts and regional waste management associations in the State. Responsible party payments are also used to fund grants to entities meeting certain eligibility requirements, which may include municipalities, refuse disposal districts, regional waste management associations and private entities in the State, to support improvements in recycling infrastructure in the State.
This bill provides that the State or any state agency may not participate in an interjurisdictional compact, program, or agreement regarding transportation and climate change unless that participation is approved by the Legislature.
This bill makes the rules adopted by the Board of Environmental Protection, the Department of Environmental Protection, and the Department of Transportation to limit greenhouse gas emissions major substantive rules. It prohibits the adoption by the Board of Environmental Protection, the Department of Environmental Protection or the Department of Transportation of a rule that limits the amount of heating fuel, natural gas, gasoline, or diesel fuel sold to limit greenhouse gas emissions, that imposes a tax or requires a permitting fee to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, including a tax or permitting fee that is based on the carbon emissions of any carbon-based fuels as part of a rebate or dividend program, or that causes the State to join a multistate consortium or coalition that requires the State to implement either of those policies as a condition of membership.
This bill changes the individual income tax brackets to provide 4 brackets rather than 3. The bill adds a new bracket of 12.4% on taxable income exceeding $200,000 for single individuals and married persons filing separately, $300,000 for heads of households, and $400,000 for individuals filing married joint returns and surviving spouses.
This bill establishes a one-time tax on any person owning financial assets, including cash and cash equivalents, securities, and other financial instruments, with a fair market value in excess of $5,000,000. The tax is equal to 0.5% of the amount by which the fair market value of a person’s financial assets exceeds $5,000,000. The bill requires any person with financial assets in excess of $5,000,000 to file a statement with the State Tax Assessor and authorizes the State Tax Assessor to determine the amount of tax due, enforce the collection of the tax and adopt routine technical rules necessary to administer and enforce the tax. The bill subjects any person who fails to pay the tax to certain penalties. The bill directs the State Tax Assessor to transfer 50% of the receipts from the tax to the Local Government Fund and 50% of the receipts from the tax to the Housing Opportunities for Maine Fund.
This bill repeals the provision that allows the Department of Environmental Protection to grant a variance from ambient air quality standards to a person who owns or is in control of specified sources for which an air emission license was granted. It repeals the provision that prohibits the Commissioner of Environmental Protection from requiring a person to submit more than one copy of ambient monitoring data or meteorological data more frequently than quarterly.
This bill also:
1. Creates new hearing requirements for applications for air emission licenses or renewals;
2. Creates new civil penalties for violation of air emission standards and requires any penalties recovered to be transferred to the municipality where the violation occurred;
3. Prohibits the department from granting a license when certain requirements are not met; and
4. Changes the term of an air emission license to 3 years, except when the term is specified in federal law as a fixed term.
- Address your testimony to the Committee of jurisdiction as well as the Senate and House Chairs of that Committee.
- I am writing in opposition / support to LD XXXX.
- Introduce yourself, your business.
- Choose public hearing
- Committee – Labor & Housing
- Select the Date (Monday, April 12)
- Select the LD #
- Check the box ‘I would like to present my testimony live’ to present it over Zoom.
Upcoming Public Hearings and Work Sessions
Tuesday, April 20, 2021:
Appropriations and Finacial Affairs at 1 p.m. (Public Hearing)
LD 169 An Act To Authorize a General Fund Bond Issue To Stimulate Investment in Innovation by Maine Businesses To Produce Nationally and Globally Competitive Products and Services (Sen. Louchini of Hancock)
|The funds provided by this bond issue, in the amount of $100,000,000, will be used to provide funds for investment in research, development and commercialization in the State’s 7 targeted technology sectors to be used for infrastructure, equipment and technology upgrades that enable organizations to gain and hold market share and to expand employment or preserve jobs, to be awarded through a competitive process to Maine-based public and private entities, leveraging other funds in a one-to-one ratio.|
Wednesday, April 21, 2021
Labor and Housing at 10 a.m. (Work Session)
LD 610 An Act To Amend the Laws Governing Employer Recovery of Overcompensation Paid to an Employee (Rep. Doore of Augusta)
This bill amends the definition of “overcompensation” by an employer to exclude compensation in the form of paid leave. It provides a definition of “employer.” It changes the maximum amount an employer may withhold from an employee’s pay to recover overcompensation from 10% to 5%. It prohibits an employer from recovering more than the amount of overcompensation paid to an employee in the 3 years preceding the discovery of the overcompensation. The bill also specifies that the section of law regarding overcompensation by employers that includes these provisions does not limit or affect an employee’s general civil remedies against an employer.
Labor and Housing at 12 p.m. (Work Session)
LD 455 An Act To Give the State the Sole Authority To Establish a Minimum Wage and Hazard Pay with Certain Exceptions (Rep. Newman of Belgrade)
This bill prohibits a municipality from enacting an ordinance governing the minimum hourly wage paid by an employer or requiring adjustments to the minimum hourly wage for hazard pay. The bill provides an exception to the prohibition that allows a municipality to regulate the minimum hourly wage and hazard pay of municipal employees.
LD 543 An Act To Provide That the Minimum Wage Increases by the Cost of Living Every 3 Years (Rep. Bradstreet of Vassalboro)
This bill changes the annual cost-of-living increase in the minimum hourly wage from annual to triennial. Current law provides that the minimum hourly wage is adjusted for the cost of living annually.
LD 1279 An Act To Increase the Minimum Wage (Rep. Collings of Portland)
This bill increases the minimum hourly wage, starting January 1, 2022, from its present $12.00 per hour to $13.00 per hour and by an additional $1.00 per hour each year until the minimum wage on January 1, 2025, is $16.00 per hour. Beginning January 1, 2026, and every year after, the minimum wage increases by the increase, if any, in the cost of living.
Appropriations and Finacial Affairs at 1 p.m. (Public Hearing)
LD 517 An Act To Authorize a General Fund Bond Issue To Promote the Construction of Energy-efficient Affordable Homes and the Adaptive Reuse, Repair and Weatherization of Existing Homes for Low-income Seniors (Rep. Babbidge of South Portland)
The funds provided by this bond issue, in the amount of $30,000,000, will be used for low-income households headed by a person 55 years of age or older for the construction of new energy-efficient affordable homes, the adaptive reuse of structures or homes, home repair and weatherization programs.
LD 218 An Act To Authorize a General Fund Bond Issue To Accelerate Weatherization Efforts in the State
(Rep. Kessler of South Portland)
The funds provided by this bond issue, in the amount of $40,000,000, are to be used to accelerate weatherization efforts in the State, with the funds directed to Efficiency Maine Trust’s Heating Fuels Efficiency and Weatherization Fund.
LD 1094 An Act To Authorize a General Fund Bond Issue To Reduce Homeowner and Municipal Energy Bills through Increased Efficiency and Weatherization Projects (Sen. Pouliot of Augusta)
The funds provided by this bond issue, in the amount of $20,000,000, will be administered by the Efficiency Maine Trust and used to reduce energy costs for senior citizens, low-income residents, municipalities and schools through investments in weatherization and energy efficiency.
Thursday, April 22, 2021
Appropriations and Finacial Affairs at 10 a.m. (Public Hearing)
LD 481 An Act To Propose a General Fund Bond Issue To Train Workers in High-demand Sectors and Support the State’s 10-year Economic Plan Goal of Increasing Wages by 10 Percent (Rep. Millett of Cape Elizabeth)
The funds provided by this bond issue, in the amount of $80,000,000, will be used to provide funding to train workers in high-demand sectors and support the State’s goal of increasing average annual wages in the State by 10%. The funding would be provided in $20,000,000 increments over 4 years in accordance with programmatic and return-on-investment goals that must be met by the Maine Community College System.
Innovation, Development, Economic Advancement and Business at 1PM (Work Session)
LD 1087 An Act To Save Maine Businesses (Rep. Prescott of North Waterboro)
This bill is a concept draft pursuant to Joint Rule 208.
Friday, April 23, 2021
Criminal Justice and Public Safty at 10 a.m. (Work Session)
LD 346 An Act Requiring the Use of Propane and Natural Gas Detectors (Rep. Reckitt of South Portland)
This bill requires the installation of fuel gas detectors to detect propane, natural gas, and liquified petroleum gas. The requirement applies to owners of: multifamily occupancy buildings; fraternity houses, sorority houses and dormitories that are affiliated with educational facilities; children’s homes, emergency children’s shelters, children’s residential care facilities, shelters for homeless children and specialized children’s homes; and hotels, motels and inns. The bill is modeled on the laws applicable to those same buildings or facilities with regard to smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors. The bill provides an effective date of January 1, 2022.