This was yet another busy week in Augusta as committees work their way through an unusually high volume of bills. With roughly 500 bills yet to be printed and assigned to committees and roughly one month left for committees to complete work for the year, the pressure is on.
In order to accommodate this work flow, the Legislature has forgone it’s usual April break. Instead, they will only take Monday off in observation of Patriot’s Day. The House and Senate sessions scheduled on Wednesdays have been canceled for the remainder of the month in order to allow some additional time for committees to meet. As we previously mentioned, the typical two-week notice period for public hearings has been waived for the remainder of the session, so bills will start moving quickly. We will continue to keep you up to speed as best as we can as the remainder of the session unfolds.
Here is a glimpse of what we worked on in Augusta this week.
Monday was Sunday hunting day in the Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Committee. The Council testified in opposition to all four bills (listed below), which were heard all at once. Our testimony can be found here.
- LD 626, “An Act to Preserve Maine’s Sporting Heritage and Enhance Sporting Opportunities for Maine’s Youth by Allowing Maine’s Youth to Hunt on Sunday”
- LD 672, “An Act to Establish Youth Deer Hunting Weekend”
- LD 1166, “An Act to Allow Sunday Hunting by Landowners on Their Land”
- LD 1241, “An Act to Allow Sunday Hunting with a Bow and Arrow or Crossbow”
On Tuesday, we were joined by a broad coalition to support LD 1222, “An Act to Expand Child Care Services Through an Employer-supported Tax Credit.” This bill, which is a priority for the Council this session, would provide an important tool for employers of all sizes to attract and retain a diverse workforce. Hannah Stevens of Seven Islands Land Company joined us for this public hearing (photo below) and Scott Beal submitted testimony in support on behalf of Woodland Pulp. Our testimony can be found here.
We also co-authored an op-ed in the Central Maine paper this week with HospitalityMaine in support of this bill. Our op-ed, titled “Our state’s industries need child care reform to succeed” can be found here.
On Wednesday, the Council submitted testimony to the Energy, Utilities and Technology Committee in opposition to LD 1111, “An Act Concerning Contracts and Agreements for Large-scale Water Extraction.” Our testimony can be found here.
Thursday afternoon was dedicated to public hearings for a host of mining bills before the Environment and Natural Resources Committee. The bills were divided in two groups. Our testimony on each can be found below.
- LD 1363, “An Act to Support Extraction of Common Minerals by Amending the Maine Metallic Mineral Mining Act.” MFPC testified in support.
- LD 1433, “An Act to Exclude Pegmatites from the Definition of ‘Metallic Mineral’.” MFPC testified in support.
- LD 1476, “An Act to Amend the Definition of “Metallic Mineral” in the Maine Metallic Mineral Mining Act.” MFPC testified in support.
- LD 1495, “Resolve, Establishing the Commission to Study the Role of Critical Minerals as a Resource in the State.” MFPC testified neither for nor against.
- LD 1471, “An Act to Amend Provisions of the Maine Metallic Mineral Mining Act.” MFPC testified in opposition.
- LD 1508, “An Act to Ensure a Strategic Approach to Maine’s Energy Transition by Imposing a Moratorium on Lithium Mining.” MFPC testified in opposition.
- LD 1564, “An Act to Eliminate Metallic Mineral Mining Activities Without a Permit.” MFPC testified in opposition.
Also on Thursday, the Council testified before the Energy, Utilities and Technology Committee in support of LD 1408, “An Act to Reduce Maine’s Dependence on Fossil Fuels and Carbon Footprint for Energy Production Using Waste Wood Fuel.” Our testimony on this bill can be found here.
That’s all for this week. A peak at the week ahead is below. If you have any questions, or need help submitting testimony, please don’t hesitate to reach out to Krysta West for assistance.