Legislative Update – January 12, 2024

This was the first full week of committee work for the Second Regular Session of the 131st Legislature. Committees have hit the ground running and are working hard to meet their first goal, which is to vote out all carry over bills before the end of January.

On Monday, we attended the Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Committee to testify in support of LD 2063, “An Act to Clarify the Laws Governing Disclosure of Wood Processing Data.” This public hearing was quick, with the committee moving to go to a work session immediately following the hearing. The Committee voted unanimously to pass the bill as drafted. The Council’s testimony can be found here.

The morning wasn’t as quick as expected, however, since LD 2063 followed an LUPC confirmation hearing for Franklin County’s nominee, Tom Dubois, that was far more controversial than anticipated. It quickly became apparent that Tom’s hearing would be more about a pending application before the LUPC, rezoning for the Wolfden Mine project, than about the qualifications of the candidate to serve in this capacity. After an hour and a half of testimony, that included putting Franklin County’s nominee under oath to pressure him into abstaining from the upcoming vote, his nomination was rejected along partisan lines.

The Council is troubled by this hearing because, like planning boards in the organized territories, the Land Use Planning Commission is not meant to be a partisan organization. The full Senate appears to have agreed with our position on the matter because on Thursday they sent the nomination back to the committee for reconsideration. They did so over concerns with the committee process, and the fact that the candidate is inarguably qualified for the position.


On Tuesday, the Council submitted testimony to the Innovation, Development, Economic Advancement and Business Committee in opposition to LD 1815, “An Act to Protect Maine’s Consumers by Establishing an Abuse of Dominance Right of Action and Requiring Notification of Mergers.”

Sponsored by Rep. Rebecca Millet of Cape Elizabeth, LD 1815 has been identified as a threat by the business community. Part of a national push by an interest group that has so far been unsuccessful, this bill would drastically change our antitrust laws and expose Maine businesses to litigation by allowing a plaintiff to bring an action against any person with a dominant position in the conduct of any trade, business or commerce, in any labor market or in any furnishing of a service in this state that abuses that dominant position.

A dominant position is presumed if a person has a share of 60% or more of a relevant market as a seller, or 50% or more of a relevant market as a buyer. How the size of a relevant labor market is determined is undefined, meaning this law could apply at the town level, county level, regionally or statewide, depending on the rulemaking process.


On Thursday, the Taxation Committee voted overwhelmingly against a bill the Council testified neither for nor against last year, LD 191, “An Act to Amend the Laws Regarding Certain Business Equipment Tax Benefits.”


Next week will be a slow one for the Council in Augusta with no public hearings or work sessions scheduled on our bills of interest. For a full list of bills the Council has taken a position on, click here.

As always, if you have any questions about this bill or any others, please don’t hesitate to reach out.


Pat and Krysta

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