The Maine Legislature could vote as early as next Wednesday, May 19th on LD 553, An Act to End At-Will Employment. This bill, sponsored by Rep. Mike Sylvester (D-Portland), would end centuries of at-will employment in Maine by terminating the right of an employer to fire an employee without just cause. It received a favorable vote out of the Committee on Labor and Housing on May 7th, and your help is needed to ensure the full legislature does not adopt this misguided attempt to overhaul labor markets in Maine.
This would mean employees could only be terminated following a progressive three-step disciplinary process, documenting each step in writing. Harmful impact of this bill include:
How can you help ensure this bill fails? Contact your legislator to share the adverse impacts this would have on your business. Given the favorable vote out of committee this will mean all hands on deck to share with legislators how harmful this bill would be.
Contact information for Greater Portland area legislators can be found at the following links:
Read More on LD553 from the Maine State Chamber
This section is contributed by our exclusive Advocacy Update sponsor Verrill and their lobbying and communications group, Maine Street Solutions.
The Mills Administration has released a series of spending proposals that will now head to the Legislature for consideration, amendment, and eventual passage. See below for details on the Administration’s proposals for a) spending federal relief dollars; b) a supplemental budget for the upcoming biennium; and c) a bond package.
Maine Jobs & Recovery Act
The Maine Jobs & Recovery Act is the Mills Administration’s proposal to invest more than $1 billion in discretionary Federal relief funds allocated to Maine under the American Rescue Plan Act. The plan draws heavily on recommendations from the Governor’s Economic Recovery Committee and the State’s 10-Year Economic Development Strategy.
The primary goals of the proposal are:
Biennial Budget “Part Two”
Given the recent positive revenue forecast from the State’s Revenue Forecasting Committee, the Administration has proposed a supplemental budget for the upcoming two years (starting July 1, 2021) that builds upon the biennial budget passed by the Legislature in March.
The “part two” budget proposal includes:
The Mills Administration has also released its bond package for the year. While Governor Mills initially laid out an ambitious bonding agenda back in January, she scaled back her approach after passage of the Federal American Rescue Plan.
The Administration’s bond package now includes:
These three spending proposals will now head to the Legislature’s Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee for review.
Read More About the Maine Jobs & Recovery Act
This section is contributed by our exclusive Advocacy Update sponsor Verrill and their lobbying and communications group, Maine Street Solutions. Participating in the Maine Legislature in the Virtual Era
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed how we all work and the Maine Legislature is no exception. This legislative session is unlike any other in Maine’s history. The 186 members of the Maine Legislature have met together in-person for a total of 3 days so far this year. In a “normal” year, the full Legislature would hold sessions of the House and Senate twice a week starting in January and add additional session days as the legislative work built up. In addition, legislative committees would be meeting at the State House complex to consider and vote on bills. Given the risks of gathering that many people together, this year legislative committees have been meeting virtually, via Zoom.
Moving legislative committee work online has had drawbacks – legislators, lobbyists and advocates are missing out on the camaraderie they normally experience in the halls of the State House. But allowing virtual participation has also had benefits, namely that people from all across the State can take part in committee hearings, without having to travel to Augusta.
If you’re looking for ways to participate in Maine’s legislative process this year, we’ve compiled the steps and links here:
Submitting Written Testimony
Once a public hearing has been scheduled for a bill, you can submit written testimony to the committee via the State's online testimony submission system. On this page you will be asked to select the committee, the date of the hearing, and then the bill itself. You will then enter your testimony -- you can either upload a document or copy and paste into the testimony field. Using this online testimony submission portal ensures that all members of the committee, in addition to the clerk and analysts, receive your written remarks.
Presenting Live Testimony
You can register to give oral testimony using the same online testimony submission platform. When filling out the form, be sure to check the box for "I would like to present my testimony live." This will ensure you receive the Zoom link for the public hearing. You can find more information about what to expect when participating in a Zoom public hearing on the Maine Street Solutions website.
Monitoring Committee Meetings
If you simply want to watch committee proceedings, instead of giving oral testimony, you can choose to watch either live or at a later time.
Watch committee meetings via the Maine Legislature's YouTube.
This is a new section of our Advocacy Update. These are bills the Chamber hasn't necessarily taken a position on, but that we feel our members may be interested in. Please let us know if you appreciate this feature and would like us to continue with it in the future.
The Legislature's Committee on Labor and Housing will be holding a public hearing on Wednesday (3/21) at noon to consider several bills related to the minimum wage.
Last week the Chamber testified in support of LD 455 and LD 774, both of which would pre-empt a municipality's ability to set a minimum wage different than the state. This legislation is critical to ensure an even playing field for employers across the state.
Contact the legislators on the Committee on Labor and Housing before Wednesday's work session to indicate your support of these bills! Contact information for these legislators can be found at the following links:
The Legislature's Committee on Taxation is currently considering two proposals that would raise taxes on Maine families and businesses in the middle of a pandemic.
LD 498 would add a 3% surcharge on Maine families earning over $200,000. The surcharge will make it increasingly difficult for Maine to attract professionals to fill the needs of our businesses and will undoubtedly stifle growth, preventing new companies from moving to Maine and creating disincentives to start or grow a business in Maine. It also provides an incredible incentive for businesses currently here – who have the option to relocate – to move their businesses to a state with more favorable and attractive tax laws.
LD 501 would increase Maine’s corporate income tax rate to 12.4%. With the imposition of this corporate tax increase, Maine would have the highest corporate income tax rate in the nation. Currently only six states have a higher rate than Maine, and if this measure is adopted we will have a rate that is 90 basis points higher than the next highest state, New Jersey.
These tax increases will set us back even further as we seek to recover from the pandemic, and Maine workers will suffer as opportunities for employment dry up, incentives to start new businesses disappear, and perceptions persist that Maine is not the place to start and grow the types of businesses we will need to compete in the global economy.
We testified at the public hearing on these bills this week, and we urge our members to reach out to the committee and let them know about the negative effects of these proposals on their businesses and families.
Contact information for committee members can be found here: