Legislative Update – March 25, 2024

Happy Monday! Due to family illness, conflicting engagements and the outright chaos of the session, we were unable to send our typical weekly update on Friday, so please accept this email today as our formal update.

At this point, bills are being moved at a rapid pace with tentative and last minute scheduling, and work sessions immediately following public hearings. As a result, things are becoming tricky to follow, and relatively complex policy matters are moving with very little opportunity for review or public input. It’s a tricky time, but rest assured, our team remains on top of things.

Before we dive into last week’s matters, we have a few action items for our members to consider.

Please contact Governor Mills and urge her to veto LD 1496, “An Act to Restrict Noncompete Clause
Phone: 207-287-3531
Contact form

Last week, the Senate enacted an anti-business bill that we have been working with the Maine State Chamber of Commerce and others in the business community to oppose because it threatens trade secret and confidential information for businesses that operate in the State of Maine. Retroactive for all noncompetes to September 19, 2019, this bill would provide no safeguards for trade secret information including:

  • Unannounced acquisitions or expansion plans
  • Unannounced products or services
  • Strategic plans
  • Financial information
  • Investment in training

The bill has a lack of clarity for remote workers, and no protections for companies located in other states with facilities in Maine.

If allowed to become law, this will have a chilling effect on investments, and it may even force existing businesses to leave our state.

Please call the number above to officially request that the Governor veto LD 1496!


Please contact the Labor and Housing Committee and urge them to oppose LD 1794!

Last Thursday, the Labor and Housing Committee held a work session on an amended version of LD 1794, “An Act to Enhance the Predictability of Mandated Overtime for Pulp or Paper Manufacturing Facility Employees.” After brief deliberations, the committee tabled the bill, and it has been scheduled again for this coming Thursday (details below).

As a carry over bill, the public will not officially have the opportunity to weigh in on the amended version of the bill, however, the Council felt that it was important to officially go back on the record to state our continued strong opposition, so we submitted testimony through the online portal. Our testimony on the amendment can be found here.

While the LAH Committee was considering this bill last Thursday, news broke that ND Paper’s Rumford mill is temporarily shutting down a paper machine in order to reallocate production capacity to match customer demand. This market-related downtime will impact upwards of 100 Maine workers as the company converts the R15 paper machine to a product with higher demand.

As noted in the Lewiston Sun Journal’s reporting, the challenges facing this facility are industrywide across the country. While manufacturers are making changes to match markets and increase resiliencies, the challenging markets are having ripple effects on rural communities in our state and elsewhere.

Now is not the time to consider legislation like 1794. Mills and their employees need to keep negotiations within the collective bargaining process.

Our paper mills have reviewed the provisions and believe they will seriously affect the ability of employee teams to staff manufacturing facilities that want to operate at full capacity. 

Even as amended, this bill still contains significant legal issues that our industry will be forced to challenge if enacted. We have warned the committee that this proposal is preempted by the National Labor Relations Act.

The amendment represents a one-sided conversation that threatens one sector of Maine’s manufacturing industry.

Simply put, it will force pulp and paper companies to periodically shut machines down, resulting in lost production and benefits for workers and Maine’s economy.

While our industry is diversifying, our mills remain pillars in the forest products industry. That makes LD 1794 not only a threat to our pulp and paper mills, but also a threat to our entire industry. Please contact members of the Labor and Housing Committee today and urge them to vote ‘ought not to pass’ on LD 1794!

Committee Members:

Senator Michael Tipping (Chair)

Senator Matthea Daughtry

Senator Matthew Pouliot

Representative Amy Roeder (Chair) 

Representative Dick Bradstreet 

Representative Gary Drinkwater

Representative Joe Galletta

Representative Valli Geiger

Representative Traci Gere

Representative Marc Malon

Representative Ronald Russell

Representative Charles Skold

Representative Mike Soboleski


Now, before providing cliff notes on the activities of last week, let’s first look ahead to the week before us (as we know at this point).

The ACF Committee sent out a notification on Thursday that there may be a public hearing on a significantly amended version of LD 1985, “An Act to Authorize Removal of Requirements of Forest Certification Systems from the State’s Forest Management Plans” today at 1 pm. Since that initial announcement, we have been unable to determine when this meeting will actually occur, but at this point, we suspect that the hearing and work session will take place Wednesday afternoon at 1 pm (this is purely an educated guess at this point).

We have uploaded the amendment here for members to review since it remains unavailable to the public on the legislative website. Among other things, the proposal would prohibit the department from obtaining or maintaining certification from the Sustainable Forestry Initiative.

We will keep an eye on the Legislature’s website for an updated committee schedule to inform members who may want to testify.


Now, for the sake of time, we will only briefly cover the activities of last week.

On Wednesday, as the ENR Committee considered LD 2261, “An Act Designating New Motor Vehicle Emissions Rules as Major Substantive Rules” in response to a set of rules initiated by 150 citizens to compel the Board of Environmental Protections to adopt sweeping new electric vehicle mandates (one rule for cars and another for commercial vehicles).

The Council testified in support of this bill, and it received the unanimous support of the committee, as amended, at a work session following the hearing.

While this was occurring, the Board of Environmental Protections rejected the two proposed rules, suggesting agreement that proposals of this magnitude belong with the Legislature.


On Thursday, the Council submitted testimony in opposition to LD 2264, “An Act to Further Clarify the Meaning of “private Road” and public Easement” in Certain Provisions of Maine Law” due to concerns over the undue hardship this legislation would cause private landowners.

The committee ultimately agreed, and worked with our partners over at Maine Woodland Owners on an amended version that addressed landowner concerns.


That’s all for now. We will be in touch as things develop.

Patrick and Krysta

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