ACTION ALERT: Committee unanimously supports LD 2191

Innovation, Development, Economic Advancement and Business Committee Unanimously Approved LD 2191 with all of MFPC’s Suggested Changes

Please take a moment to thank the Committee and bill sponsors for their support of the forest products industry!

On February 13, the Council testified in support of LD 2191, “An Act to Provide Relief to Small Businesses Affected by Severe Weather-related Events.” In our testimony, we demonstrated some of the extensive damage the two recent major storms inflicted on infrastructure, including damage to private roads, bridges and manufacturing facilities.

While the extent of the damage is still being evaluated through the spring as the snow melts, it is apparent that it will take years for the industry to fully recover. In many cases, the damage to private infrastructure impacts not only our industry, but also the recreation and tourism industries that rely on public access to private operating forests.

For these reasons, the Council testified in support of LD 2191 with the request that these funds be made available to businesses within our $8 billion industry that would like to utilize the program to help speed up the recovery process. We also requested that the Committee define ‘small employer’ in a way that is as inclusive as possible for Maine-based businesses.

We are pleased to report that our advocacy paid off. According to reporting, the amended version of LD 2191 would allow grants to “…businesses with up to 500 employees, including nonprofits and logging companies, that were damaged by storms after September, as long as the storm damage occurred in Maine and the business plans to stay in the state.”

The committee amendment also stipulates that grants “could be used to repair storm-damaged multi-use trails, trailheads and trailside amenities.”

What a success! While these funds obviously won’t make companies whole, they will provide some relief as they plan to rebuild and reopen lands that were impacted by the storms. Please take a moment to thank the bill sponsor, Senator Craig Hickman and members of the IDEA Committee (all listed below). We would also like to thank our partners at the Maine Snowmobile Association, Maine Trappers Association and Maine Guides Association for supporting our efforts on LD 2191.

We are hopeful that, given the unanimous, bipartisan support this bill received in committee, it will be funded in the appropriations process and become law.

Bill Sponsors:

Senator Craig Hickman 

Representative Daniel Shagoury

President Troy Jackson

Senator Lisa Keim

Senator Marianne Moore

Representative Bruce White

Representative Billy Bob Faulkingham

Senator Cameron Reny

Representative Rachel Ann Henderson

Representative Karen Montell

Committee Members:

Senator Chip Curry (Chair)

Senator Stacey Guerin

Senator Joseph Rafferty

Representative Tiffany Roberts (Chair)

Representative Amanda Collamore

Representative Ed Crockett

Representative Lucas Lanigan

Representative Raegan LaRochelle

Representative Caleb Ness

Representative Dan Sayre

Representative Katrina Smith

Representative Mark Walker

Representative Bruce White

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