Legislative Update – June 23, 2023

Surprise! The legislature will not adjourn on June 20th as originally scheduled and will continue the session into next week. Many bills are still on the docket for debate. The Appropriations Committee needs to finalize the Part II Budget, the Transportation Committee needs to review the Highway Fund, and the Judiciary Committee needs to review the errors and omissions bill. Once the Legislature adjourns, they will return for “veto day” when any vetoes submitted by the Governor will either be sustained or overridden by a 2/3 majority vote.

We have been working against LD 2004, “An Act to Restore Access to Federal Laws Beneficial to the Wabanaki Nations.” This was a hastily prepared bill that had a hearing the day after it was printed. A committee amendment was prepared by the tribes in an attempt to address concerns voiced at the hearing, however, a review of the amendment by the Attorney General’s and Governor’s offices confirmed that our legal issues were not addressed. The bill passed in the House (100 to 47) and in the Senate (26 to 8). We have been concerned with the lack of communications with the tribes and will keep you posted on the fate of this bill.

Tensions were high on Thursday night as the House voted on the abortion rights bill, LD 1619“An Act to Improve Maine’s Reproductive Privacy Laws”. There was considerable vote trading occurring on this bill (even affecting the vote on the Tribal bill) but the measure passed with a 74-72 vote.

The Paid Family Medical Leave Act (LD 1964) has been engrossed in both the House and Senate and on track to be enacted after approval of the Appropriations Committee for the estimated $12 million to establish and implement the program. As the Maine State Chamber of Commerce has said, we are not opposed to paid family leave, but this bill has no substantial input from Maine employers. It will soon be up to the Governor to determine if she is supportive of the bill or wishes to oppose it.

After today’s session we anticipate many of the bills on our watchlist will be acted on or carried over into the next session. The MFPC lobbying team notes that the ending days of a legislative session are always reserved for the most controversial bills where emotions run high, and the debates can be fierce. The team is covering the action though the late night and early morning to ensure your interests are covered.



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