Legislative Update – March 3, 2023

Last week our team monitored meetings in a number of committees, submitting testimony in support of two bills.

In the ACF Committee, we submitted testimony in support of LD 390, “Resolve, Regarding Legislative Review Of Portions Of Chapter 25: Standards For Placing Wood Into Stream Channels To Enhance Cold Water Fisheries Habitat, A Major Substantive Rule Of The Department Of Agriculture, Conservation And Forestry, Bureau Of Forestry.” Sponsored by Bill Pluecker at the request of the Department, this bill seeks to make changes to the ‘chop and drop’ program in order to make it more accessible for landowners looking to improve improve stream habitat for cold water fisheries.

We also monitored the reconsideration of LD 180, “An Act To Allow A Person To File A Paper Copy Of A Timber Harvest Notification Form.” Having previously received a unanimous ought not to pass report, the Committee revisited the issue, directing committee staff to draft a letter on their behalf to the Department to clarify that the Department will continue to work with all constituencies who request a paper copy of the notification form. The Council testified neither for nor against this bill. Our testimony can be found here.

In the ENR Committee, we submitted testimony in support of LD 400, “Resolve, Directing the Department of Environmental Protection to Examine Setback Requirements for Outdoor Wood Boilers.” The Department established the current rules in 2007. Considering the advances in technology that have occurred since that time and the stringent EPA rules that have been adopted, we agree with Senator Black that now is an appropriate time to revisit the setback rules.

Also this week we got word from our friends over at the Maine State Chamber of Commerce that members of the IDEA Committee need to hear from you about the importance of the Pine Tree Development Zone Program. Governor Mills has proposed extending this important business tax incentive program by five years in her budget, as it is set to expire this December. During the joint committee hearing with Appropriations, some members of the IDEA Committee questioned why the program exists at all.

The Pine Tree Development Zone Program encourages investment and helps Maine businesses stay competitive. According to the Chamber, between 2018 and 2020, participating companies employed more than 24,000 people in Maine each year, cumulatively providing more than $4.3 billion in wages and investing over $1.1 billion here in Maine.

The IDEA Committee will hold a work session on the DECD budget today in order to make recommendations back to the Appropriations Committee on this program. Please call members of the IDEA Committee RIGHT NOW if this program is important to your business to let them know and urge them to extend the program!

Members of the IDEA Committee

Next week’s schedule is provided below. In addition to the public hearings and work sessions, the Council will attend a presentation in the Labor and Housing Committee on Tuesday at 1:00 pm regarding paid family medical leave. You can tune in here if this topic is of interest to you.

That’s all for now. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out. We hope to see you at our legislative breakfast reception this coming Thursday, March 9 from 7:00 am-8:30 am at the Senator Inn and Spa Restaurant in Augusta.


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