Legislative Update – April 1, 2024

Last week, we urged our members to contact Governor Mills in order to request a veto of LD 1496, “An Act to Restrict Noncompete Clauses” because if it becomes law, it will put confidential information for businesses that operate in Maine at risk. We are pleased to report that Governor Mills heard our concerns, and that she issued a veto on March 29.

Please thank Governor Mills
Phone: 207-287-3531
Contact form

Please also contact your Representative and urge them to sustain the veto of LD 1496!

As a reminder, this bill is retroactive for all noncompetes to September 19, 2019, and it 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 also has a lack of clarity for remote workers, and no protections for companies located in other states with facilities in Maine.


Committees technically wrapped up their work a few weeks ago, but there are still a few bills that we are engaged in at the committee level.

The first is LD 2279, “An Act To Promote Equity In The Forest Products Industry By Allowing Commercial Wood Haulers To Be Eligible For Certain Sales Tax Exemptions And Refunds.”

Presented by Sen. Troy Jackson, the amended version of this bill would expand those eligible for certain tax exemptions and refunds to include those who commercially haul forest products using trucks, truck tractors and trailers. It would also amend the existing program to require the person, association of persons, firm or corporation to be headquartered in Maine, to pay all personal property tax or excise tax on qualified machinery or equipment in the State of Maine, and to show evidence of a valid Maine inspection of the trucks, truck tractors and trailers used in a commercial wood harvesting operation.

We testified in support of this bill (our testimony reflects the version that was published ahead of the public hearing), but in our remarks we highlighted two concerns that we would like to see addressed – we want to make sure that every logger who currently utilizes this tax exemption still qualifies for it moving forward, and we want to make sure that any changes to the exemption are legal and will not be challenged in court.

The Department of Administration and Financial Services testified in opposition to the bill on behalf of the administration due to similar concerns regarding the legality of the draft that was presented.

Following the public hearing, at the request of the committee, the Council worked with Maine Woodland Owners on a simplified version of the bill that we feel achieves Senator Jackson’s goal of broadening the exemption to include trucks, truck tractors and trailers used in commercial wood harvesting while also addressing the concerns raised during the hearing.

This bill will be worked on again by the Taxation Committee this afternoon.


Also last week, the Labor and Housing Committee held a second work session to consider yet another version of LD 1794, “An Act to Enhance the Predictability of Mandated Overtime for Pulp or Paper Manufacturing Facility Employees.” The amendment was provided to the interested parties list for the committee only a few hours before the meeting, giving our members very little time to respond.

The latest, and third version presented to the committee by Sen. Jackson replaces the bill and changes the title to, “Resolve, To Establish the Commission on Predictability of Mandated Overtime for Pulp or Paper Manufacturing Facility Employees.” Since this amendment was presented after the bill was printed, it is not yet available on the legislative website, so we have uploaded it here to give members the opportunity to review it.

The Council feels that the makeup of the commission, along with the duties outlined within the bill, is problematic, and that it won’t give the industry a fair shake. That is why we would like to thank Representative Dick Bradstreet for quickly responding with an amended version of the study that can be found on our website here that ultimately became the minority report.

The Council is hopeful that Rep. Bradstreet’s colleagues will agree that Maine’s heritage pulp and paper industry deserves a fair and unbiased review that does not include predetermined outcomes.


That’s all for now. We will continue to monitor activity closely as the legislature works towards statutory adjournment on April 17.


Patrick and Krysta

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