Government relations is a key membership benefit and we are engaged 12-months a year in legislative, regulatory and policy matters impacting our members. The 129th First Regular Session has officially started as of Wed. December 5, 2018.

Read more about the issues we stand for and our successes!

The MGFPA reviews proposed bills and will post Legislation of Interest.  Each week during the session, members receive the Legislative Watch E-Newsletter.  In addition, during the session, the MGFPA Government Relations Committee meets via conference call. Be part of the discussion! Or just listen in. Email Us for the dial-in details!


Legislation of Interest

LD 1761: An Act To Assist Small Beer Manufacturers

Category: Alcohol & Tobacco | Status: Pending

This bill changes the definition of “small brewery” by increasing the amount of malt liquor a small brewery may brew from 50,000 gallons to 30,000 barrels per year. It defines a “small beer manufacturer” as a small brewery or out-of-state brewer that is brewing, lagering and kegging, bottling or packaging its own malt liquor, not to exceed 30,000 barrels per year. If a small beer manufacturer terminates its distribution relationship with a wholesale licensee, unless for good cause, causes a wholesale licensee to resign from an agreement, unless for good cause, or unreasonably withholds its consent to any assignment, transfer or sale of a wholesale licensee’s business and that small beer manufacturer’s brands make up no more than 3% of the wholesale licensee’s business, the bill sets the maximum amount of the termination fee that the wholesale licensee is entitled to receive from that small beer manufacturer in connection with the termination. The bill amends the laws governing certain notice requirements that the small beer manufacturer must satisfy in connection with the termination, provides expedited arbitration proceedings for a small beer manufacturer and a wholesale licensee in connection with a dispute regarding the amount of the termination fee and provides that, regardless of whether the terminated wholesale licensee has received payment of the termination fee from the small beer manufacturer, upon written notice of the termination to the wholesale licensee, the small beer manufacturer may appoint a new wholesale licensee to distribute the relevant products in the terminated wholesale licensee’s territory or, if the small beer manufacturer is a small brewery, sell the terminated brand or brands of the small beer manufacturer directly to retail licensees in the terminated wholesale licensee’s territory without selling the brand or brands to a wholesale licensee. Lastly, this bill allows a wholesale licensee and a small beer manufacturer to agree upon or limit the amount of a termination fee pursuant to a distribution agreement as long as that termination fee does not exceed the maximum amount of the termination fee, as set forth in the bill.

Updated: May 20, 2019

LD 1749: An Act To Amend the State's Hemp Laws

Category: Food Production | Status: Pending

This bill:

1. Defines “hemp” to match the definition of “hemp” in the federal Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 and defines “indoor square footage”;

2. Allows a person to plant and grow up to 3 hemp plants on no more than one acre of land area or indoor square footage and to harvest, possess and process that hemp for personal use without a license;

3. Clarifies that a person licensed to grow hemp may grow hemp from a clone that is produced from seeds acquired from a certified seed source or hemp propagated from tissue cultures that are removed from live plants grown from seeds acquired from a certified seed source;

4. This bill allows a person who holds a license to save seeds from hemp plants that the person has grown and harvested and, after having ensured through testing by an independent 3rd-party tester that the plants that will grow from the seeds will meet the definition of hemp, to use those seeds for breeding and planting hemp. It also requires a person who holds a license, within 14 days after planting hemp seeds or clones, to provide to the commissioner a listing of the varieties of seeds or clones planted and a statement that the seeds or clones meet the definition of hemp.

5. Directs the Commissioner of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry to adopt rules to establish a certified hemp seed program based on international standards that includes a registry of seed varieties to allow a person desiring to grow hemp for commercial purposes to import hemp seeds through the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry;

6. Allows for the indoor production of hemp;

7. Increases the period a hemp license is valid from one year to 2 years;

8. Requires a person who is licensed to plant, grow, harvest, possess, process, sell and buy hemp to provide the commissioner with a final legal description of the land area or indoor square footage to be used for the production of hemp and a map, an aerial photograph or global positioning coordinates sufficient for locating each field, site, building, enclosed structure, greenhouse, high tunnel structure or row cover where hemp is growing within 14 days of planting hemp; and

9. Provides that the legal description of the land area or indoor square footage to be used for the production of hemp is confidential and may be shared with state, county and local government agencies only for purposes of administration and enforcement of the law. However, the bill specifies that summary reports of information designated as confidential may be released to the public using aggregate data that does not reveal the location of a field, site, building, enclosed structure, greenhouse, high tunnel structure or row cover where hemp is grown, handled or stored;

10. Provides that hemp and hemp products may not be tracked as part of the medical use of marijuana program or the regulation of adult use marijuana. It state that the rules applicable to hemp, medical use of marijuana and adult use of marijuana may not prohibit or limit the sale of hemp or hemp products in medical marijuana dispensaries, by medical marijuana caregivers or in adult use marijuana establishments.

11. Requires the rules adopted by the commissioner to include rules regarding seed importation and a certified hemp seed program, testing and tracking hemp during cultivation, tracking hemp from harvest through processing to the point of sale, tracking hemp from processing to the manufacturing of hemp products and tracking and labeling for sale harvested hemp and hemp products;

12. Requires all state agencies to review the laws and rules applicable to their areas of jurisdiction that pertain to hemp seeds and crops, agricultural commodities and products derived from hemp, and topical or ingestible consumer products, including food, food additives and food products derived from hemp, and to identify laws and rules that require amendment to bring them into agreement with the Maine Revised Statutes, Title 7, chapter 406-A and Title 22, section 2158-A. The bill requires those state agencies, by January 1, 2020, to submit to the Joint Standing Committee on Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry reports, including proposals for legislation to bring their laws and rules into agreement with Title 7, chapter 406-A and Title 22, section 2158-A; and

13. Fixes cross-references.

Updated: May 17, 2019

LD 1747: An Act To Strengthen Maine's Hemp Program

Category: Food Production | Status: Pending

The federal Agricultural Act of 2014, also known as the 2014 Farm Bill, legalized the growth and cultivation of hemp in states that choose to establish agricultural pilot programs for research purposes.

This bill requires the Commissioner of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry to establish, by rule, the Maine Hemp Pilot Program, including the application process, licensing fees and reporting requirements, consistent with the 2014 Farm Bill. Under the pilot program, a licensee may plant, grow, harvest, possess, process, sell and buy hemp as long as the purpose of the program is to study the growth, cultivation or marketing of hemp. An institution of higher education is also authorized to establish a pilot program that complies with the 2014 Farm Bill as long as it provides notice of its intention to the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry and local law enforcement and an annual report to the department regarding its research.

This bill also expressly authorizes marijuana manufacturing facilities and testing facilities licensed under the Maine Medical Use of Marijuana Act and the Marijuana Legalization Act to obtain a license to process and test hemp and hemp-derived products that are legal under state and federal law.

Finally, this bill amends the recently enacted law that provides that food, food additives and food products containing hemp-derived cannabidiol are not considered to be “adulterated” under state law to require the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry to adopt routine technical rules regarding testing, labeling, packaging and record-keeping requirements for food, food additives or food products that contain hemp, including cannabidiol derived from hemp, and to also provisionally adopt emergency major substantive rules doing the same.

Updated: May 17, 2019

LD 1734: An Act To Create a Postsecondary Educational Institution Program License for the Purchase of Liquor for Certain Curricula

Category: Alcohol & Tobacco | Status: Pending

This bill creates a new license type for state-supported postsecondary educational institutions that offer a course or courses for a degree program for hospitality industry, culinary arts or food sciences. The license authorizes a state-supported postsecondary educational institution to purchase and permit sampling of liquor in conjunction with the educational institution’s curriculum.

Updated: May 13, 2019

LD 1703: An Act To Improve Consistency within the Maine Human Rights Act

Category: Labor | Status: Pending

The purpose of this bill is to address inconsistencies in the protections provided in different areas of jurisdiction under the Maine Human Rights Act. The bill provides more inclusive protection by:

1. Including adult family members dependent for care in the definition of “familial status”;

2. Including familial status as a protected class in employment;

3. Including age as a protected class in public accommodations;

4. Providing that public entities cannot discriminate on the basis of protected class; and

5. Clarifying the scope of the Maine Human Rights Act application in education.

The bill also clarifies the protections provided to pregnant persons in employment and that the sexual orientation provisions already in the Maine Human Rights Act extend to gender identity.

Updated: May 13, 2019

LD 1702: An Act To Enhance the Administration of the Maine Human Rights Act

Category: Labor | Status: Pending

This bill amends the Maine Human Rights Act so as to make more efficient the processing and investigation of complaints. The bill:

1. Specifies that the Act must be construed to provide broad protection from discrimination; that it may not be construed to provide less coverage than the federal law; and that the interpretation of the Act by the Maine Human Rights Commission is entitled to deference by the court;

2. Authorizes the executive director of the commission to appoint or hire additional necessary personnel subject to the Civil Service Law;

3. Replaces certain references to the enumerated potential bases for discrimination with references to “protected class characteristics, membership or status”;

4. Specifies that funds received by the commission for the purpose of implementing a 3rd-party neutral mediation program are not subject to any statewide cost allocation plan;

5. Designates as confidential certain information that is collected during the investigation of a complaint under the Act and exempts such information from the definition of “public record” for purposes of the Freedom of Access Act;

6. Authorizes the executive director of the commission to administratively dismiss a complaint brought under the Act for specified reasons;

7. Provides that any post-finding conciliation agreement that includes the commission as a signatory is a public record;

8. Authorizes the executive director to issue a right-to-sue letter in any case in which the commission has not filed a civil action in the case or has not entered into a conciliation agreement in the case within 180 days of the complaint being filed, whether or not such a letter has been requested by the complainant; and

9. Prohibits the awarding of attorney’s fees and costs to the commission and specifies that the commission is not liable to pay attorney’s fees and costs of another party.

Updated: May 13, 2019

LD 1701: An Act To Clarify Various Provisions of the Maine Human Rights Act

Category: Labor | Status: Pending

This bill makes changes to the Maine Human Rights Act in order to clarify its proper application and interpretation. In particular, the bill describes the behaviors that may constitute harassment in reference to unlawful discrimination; clarifies the Act’s coverage of claims based on association and based on the perception that an individual belongs to a protected class; and provides a definition of “gender identity.” The bill provides needed clarification related to several Maine Human Rights Act provisions highlighted by recent court decisions, including confirming that a leave of absence can be a reasonable accommodation for a disability in employment, and that individual employees may be liable for their discriminatory behavior in certain circumstances. The bill also makes grammatical changes and corrects cross-references.

Updated: May 13, 2019

LD 1693: An Act To Enhance Enforcement of Employment Laws

Category: Labor | Status: Pending

This bill authorizes private persons, acting in the public interest, to enforce the laws governing employment practices and prohibiting unfair discrimination in the workplace.

Under this bill:

1. Private persons or whistleblowers, acting as relators, may bring public enforcement actions of employment laws on behalf of the State;

2. Civic organizations may assist aggrieved persons in reporting violations of employment laws; and

3. Persons who are injured by violations of employment laws are protected from retaliation.

Updated: May 13, 2019

LD 1690: An Act To Certify and Promote Products That Are Made in Maine

Category: Food Production | Status: Pending

CONCEPT DRAFT SUMMARY

This bill is a concept draft pursuant to Joint Rule 208.

This bill proposes to create a “Maine Made” certification depicted by a seal or a stamp placed upon products produced in the State and used or marketed worldwide to promote the products. The certification would be used in conjunction with or in substitution for the current Maine Made America’s Best program administered by the Department of Economic and Community Development, office of business development and innovation.

Updated: May 6, 2019

LD 1654: An Act To Create Veteran-friendly Workplaces

Category: Labor | Status: Pending

This bill requires an employer who provides paid leave and has 10 or more employees to allow a veteran to take paid leave to attend a scheduled appointment at a medical facility operated by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs. An employer who does not provide paid leave and has 10 or more employees must grant unpaid leave to a veteran to attend a scheduled appointment at a medical facility operated by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs. An employer who provides paid leave and has fewer than 10 employees must allow a veteran to take paid leave to attend a scheduled appointment at a medical facility operated by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs when the veteran provides the employer at least 2 weeks’ notice of such an appointment unless the United States Department of Veterans Affairs provides the veteran less than 2 weeks’ notice of an appointment, in which case the veteran shall provide the employer notice of the appointment as soon as reasonably possible. An employer who does not provide paid leave and has fewer than 10 employees must grant unpaid leave to a veteran to attend a scheduled appointment at a medical facility operated by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs when the veteran provides the employer at least 2 weeks’ notice of such an appointment unless the United States Department of Veterans Affairs provides the veteran less than 2 weeks’ notice of an appointment, in which case the veteran shall provide the employer notice of the appointment as soon as reasonably possible.

Updated: April 26, 2019

LD 1649: An Act To Implement Recommendations of the Department of Environmental Protection Regarding the State's Product Stewardship Program Framework Laws

Category: Environmental | Status: Pending

This bill, which is reported out by the Joint Standing Committee on Environment and Natural Resources pursuant to Joint Order 2019, H.P. 883, implements the Department of Environmental Protection’s recommendations regarding the State’s product stewardship program framework laws, as included in the department’s annual report on the State’s product stewardship programs.

This bill makes a number of changes to the State’s product stewardship program framework laws including the following.

1. It revises program parameters with respect to the establishment of a product collection system, program staffing requirements for producers or stewardship organizations and program costs.

2. It revises the requirements for information to be included in a proposed product stewardship plan, including information on program performance goals and program assessment, collection sites and consumer participation and program financing.

3. It authorizes the department to initiate changes to an approved product stewardship plan upon a determination that the program has failed to make adequate progress toward achieving program goals.

4. It revises annual program reporting requirements for producers and stewardship organizations and amends the authority for legislation of the joint standing committee of the Legislature having jurisdiction over natural resources matters relating to the department’s annual product stewardship report.

The committee has not taken a position on the substance of the bill and by reporting this bill out, the committee is not suggesting and does not intend to suggest that it agrees or disagrees with any aspect of this bill. The committee is reporting the bill out for the sole purpose of obtaining a printed bill that can be referred to the committee for a public hearing and subsequent committee action in the normal course.

Updated: April 26, 2019

LD 1628: An Act To Implement Recommendations of the Department of Environmental Protection Regarding the State's Container Redemption Laws

Category: Beverage Containers | Status: Pending

This bill, which is reported out by the Joint Standing Committee on Environment and Natural Resources pursuant to Joint Order 2019, H.P. 883, implements the Department of Environmental Protection’s recommendations regarding the State’s container redemption laws as included in the department’s annual report on the State’s product stewardship programs.

This bill makes a number of changes to the State’s container redemption laws including the following.

1. It amends the laws to provide that a dealer of beverage containers with 5,000 or more square feet of retail space must accept beverage container returns unless the dealer has a written agreement with a redemption center located within 10 miles of the dealer, as measured along public roadways, to provide redemption services on the dealer’s behalf.

2. It establishes an annual license fee for redemption centers of $100. The current annual license fee is $50.

3. It clarifies the ability of the Department of Administrative and Financial Services, Bureau of Alcoholic Beverages and Lottery Operations to manage its returned containers as a qualified commingling program.

4. It eliminates the special handling fee for small brewers and bottlers of water.

5. It clarifies the obligation of initiators of deposit to recycle returned beverage containers that the initiator of deposit has picked up or that a 3rd party has picked up on the initiator of deposit’s behalf.

6. It clarifies the requirements for qualified commingling agreements under the law, provides for the creation of an additional commingling group to be operated by a 3rd party or stewardship organization and requires all initiators of deposit to enter into a commingling agreement by January 1, 2023.

7. It clarifies licensing standards and other requirements for redemption centers.

8. It clarifies the Department of Environmental Protection’s rule-making and administrative authority under the law.

9. It establishes annual reporting requirements for initiators of deposit and for pick-up agents that are not initiators of deposit.

10. It makes a number of terminology changes and other technical changes to the law.

The committee has not taken a position on the substance of the bill and by reporting this bill out, the committee is not suggesting and does not intend to suggest that it agrees or disagrees with any aspect of this bill. The committee is reporting the bill out for the sole purpose of obtaining a printed bill that can be referred to the committee for a public hearing and subsequent committee action in the normal course.

Updated: April 26, 2019

LD 1621: An Act To Allow Delivery of Adult Use Marijuana and Adult Use Marijuana Products by an Approved Marijuana Store

Category: Marijuana | Status: Pending

This bill amends the Marijuana Legalization Act to allow delivery of adult use marijuana and adult use marijuana products by a marijuana store if the municipality or town, plantation or township in which the marijuana store is located authorizes the operation of delivery services and the marijuana store receives approval to operate the delivery service from the Department of Administrative and Financial Services. A marijuana store is allowed to maintain a separate storage facility approved by the department in which to store product or from which to conduct delivery service operations and which may be located in the same municipality as the retail facility of the marijuana store or another municipality subject to the approval of the other municipality. Delivery services are subject to the same testing, tracking, labelling and packaging requirements as retail sales of adult use marijuana and marijuana products, delivery service drivers are subject to the same requirements as the employees of a marijuana store, delivery recipients are subject to the same customer restrictions regarding age and state of intoxication as marijuana store customers and delivery service vehicles are subject to the same inspection requirements as the marijuana store’s licensed premises and may not have an occupant under 21 years of age during the course of a delivery.

Updated: April 22, 2019

LD 1594: An Act To Establish a Stewardship Program for Consumer Batteries

Category: Environmental | Status: Pending

This bill provides for the establishment of a stewardship program for consumer batteries, including both single-use and rechargeable batteries and certain products containing these batteries. Under the bill, a producer of consumer batteries or an organization composed of one or more producers of such batteries must submit a plan for the establishment of a battery stewardship program to the Commissioner of Environmental Protection for approval. Once approved, the program must operate to provide convenient, free statewide collection opportunities for discarded batteries, and the batteries collected through the program must be recycled or otherwise responsibly managed. The bill also amends and repeals existing laws relating to certain battery types to avoid statutory conflict with the stewardship program for consumer batteries.

Updated: April 19, 2019

LD 1586: An Act To Promote Major Food Processing and Manufacturing Facility Expansion and To Create Jobs in Maine

Category: Food Production | Status: Pending

This bill, modeled on the tax credit for major business headquarters expansions, provides a tax credit to a food processing and manufacturing business that:

1. Is, and has been for the 5 years prior to application, a corporation or limited liability company organized under the laws of the State;

2. Has been headquartered in this State for the 5 years prior to application;

3. Pays at least 75% of its employees a salary that exceeds the income threshold for the county in which the facility that is the subject of the application is located;

4. Agrees to make an investment of at least $35,000,000 in the construction or expansion in this State of a facility for that business; and

5. Adds a total of 40 new full-time employees by the end of the first year of qualifying for the tax credit, maintains that number for the next 2 years and then adds 20 more full-time employees, maintaining a total of 60 full-time employees for each year after the 3rd year of qualifying for the tax credit. The employees added must be based in the State.

A business that qualifies is allowed a refundable tax credit equal to 2% of the amount of the qualified investment each tax year for 20 years. The total investment that may be approved for any one business may not exceed $85,000,000 and the total aggregate investment that may be approved is limited to $100,000,000. The maximum amount of tax credits that may be received by a business under one construction or expansion project is $34,000,000.

Updated: April 12, 2019

LD 1532: An Act To Eliminate Single-use Plastic Carry-out Bags

Category: Environmental | Status: Pending

This bill prohibits a retail establishment from using single-use carry-out bags to bag products at the point of sale or otherwise make single-use carry-out bags available to customers, with exemptions for certain types and uses of plastic and paper bags. Retail establishments may provide recyclable paper bags to bag products at the point of sale for at least 5¢ per bag, with exceptions to the fee requirement for certain types of retail establishments. The prohibition is effective April 22, 2020.

Updated: April 7, 2019

LD 1531: An Act To Establish the Maine Food System Investment Program To Create Quality Jobs and Support Farms, Fisheries and Food-related Businesses

Category: Food Production | Status: Pending

This bill creates the Maine Food System Investment Program under the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry to strengthen the food system, including the agriculture, seafood and fisheries and other food sectors and the supply chain, to increase access to new markets and opportunities for producers, processors, small businesses and consumers in the State in the producing, processing, packaging, distribution, marketing, sale and consumption of food products. The duties of the program are to develop and maintain a 10-year strategic framework to carry out the goals of the program by fostering communication, collaboration and coordination among the various sectors of the supply chain, identify gaps in the supply chain and barriers to food infrastructure and distribution needs and work with community development corporations, financial institutions and other investors and lenders in the food system to direct financial investment to the areas of greatest need in the food system. The program is also authorized to make recommendations regarding rules or legislation to the department and the Legislature that will direct investment or establish policies or priorities in carrying out the goals of the program. The program is required to submit a 6-month and a one-year report to the Legislature subsequent to the implementation of the program and an annual report on the progress of and developments regarding the 10-year strategic framework.

Updated: April 7, 2019

LD 1529: An Act Concerning Nondisclosure Agreements in Employment

Category: Labor | Status: Pending

This bill prohibits employers from requiring agreements that prevent an employee or prospective employee from disclosing or discussing discrimination, including harassment, occurring between employees or between an employer and an employee.

The bill prohibits settlement agreements, unless requested by the employee, prospective employee or former employee, from including a provision that prevents the disclosure of factual information relating to a claim of discrimination, including harassment. Agreements may not explicitly or implicitly limit an individual’s ability to provide testimony or evidence, file claims or make reports to any federal or state agency that enforces employment or discrimination laws, including, but not limited to, the Maine Human Rights Commission and the Department of Labor.

An employee, prospective employee or former employee is not liable for damages for breaching a prohibited nondisclosure agreement or a settlement agreement.

Updated: April 7, 2019

LD 1524: An Act To Prevent Wage Theft and Promote Employer Accountability

Category: Labor | Status: Pending

This bill addresses wage theft by an employer by creating additional remedies, including injunctive relief, treble damages to be paid to affected employees and a stop-work order against an employer who is engaging in wage theft. These remedies are in addition to any existing penalties, and the actions may be combined.

“Wage theft” is defined as a violation of specific statutes that include the requirements of timely and full payment of wages, payment of wages upon cessation of employment, payments defined as “unfair agreements” and fringe benefits.

Updated: April 7, 2019

LD 1501: An Act To Change the Law Governing Occupational Disease Claims under the Maine Workers' Compensation Act of 1992

Category: Labor | Status: Pending

This bill amends the law governing occupational disease claims under the Maine Workers’ Compensation Act of 1992. The bill repeals the chapter in the laws governing workers’ compensation entitled “Occupational Disease Law” and:

1. Defines “personal injury” under the laws governing workers’ compensation to include any condition or disease contributed to by an employee’s occupational cumulative trauma or exposure that arises out of and in the course of employment;

2. Specifies that the employer in whose employment the employee was last injuriously exposed to the occupational trauma or exposure is fully liable for all incapacity resulting from the occupational trauma or exposure, and the date of injury for an occupational cumulative trauma or exposure injury is the date that the employee becomes incapacitated from the occupational cumulative trauma or exposure;

3. Provides a method for calculating the amount of the employee’s compensation if, on the date of incapacity resulting from occupational cumulative trauma or exposure, the injured employee no longer works in the same occupation in which the employee worked when the employee incurred the last injurious occupational cumulative trauma or exposure;

4. Specifies that, with respect to a personal injury that involves a condition or disease contributed to by the employee’s occupational cumulative trauma or exposure that arises out of and in the course of employment, the employer in whose employment the employee was last injuriously exposed to the occupational trauma or exposure is fully liable for all incapacity resulting from the occupational trauma or exposure; and

5. Establishes that the date of injury for an occupational cumulative trauma or exposure injury is the date that the employee becomes incapacitated from the occupational cumulative trauma or exposure.

Updated: April 7, 2019

LD 1500: An Act To Improve Workers' Compensation Protection for Injured Workers Whose Employers Have Wrongfully Not Secured Workers' Compensation Insurance

Category: Labor | Status: Pending

This bill amends the Maine Workers’ Compensation Act of 1992 to create protections for injured workers whose employers have not secured workers’ compensation insurance in accordance with current law. The bill creates liability for situations when an employee is injured while working for an uninsured subcontractor. In such situations, the prime contractor will be responsible for payment of workers’ compensation benefits as if it were the direct employer of the injured employee, unless there is an intermediate subcontractor with workers’ compensation insurance coverage, in which case, the intermediate subcontractor is responsible for payment of all benefits due under the Act. These provisions take effect January 1, 2020 and are repealed July 1, 2022.

The bill also amends the laws governing the Employment Rehabilitation Fund. Until July 1, 2022, the fund will be used to pay workers’ compensation benefits to injured employees working for illegally uninsured employers when there is no other prime contractor or subcontractor liable for payment of benefits. Until July 1, 2022, the fund will not transfer a portion of its funds to the General Fund and penalties recovered for violations of the Maine Workers’ Compensation Act of 1992 will be directed to this fund exclusively, instead of being shared with the Workers’ Compensation Board Administrative Fund or the General Fund.

Updated: April 7, 2019

LD 1495: Resolve, Regarding the Revision of Title 28-A of the Maine Revised Statutes

Category: Alcohol & Tobacco | Status: Pending

This resolve, which is reported out by the Joint Standing Committee on Veterans and Legal Affairs pursuant to Joint Order 2019, Senate Paper 381, does the following.

1. It repeals Resolve 2017, chapter 18, which directs legislative staff to prepare a recodification and revision of the Maine Revised Statutes, Title 28-A and to submit it to the Joint Standing Committee on Veterans and Legal Affairs no later than January 15, 2019.

2. It directs the Office of Policy and Legal Analysis to prepare an analysis regarding inconsistencies, duplications and ambiguities contained within the text of Title 28-A and, on or before January 1, 2020, to submit that analysis to the Joint Standing Committee on Veterans and Legal Affairs.

3. It authorizes the Joint Standing Committee on Veterans and Legal Affairs to report out legislation to the Second Regular Session of the 129th Legislature proposing revisions to Title 28-A in response to the analysis submitted by the Office of Policy and Legal Analysis.

Updated: April 7, 2019

LD 1474: An Act To Ensure Water Equity and Accountability for the People of the State

Category: Environmental | Status: Pending

This bill requires certain governmental entities when issuing permits or licenses and setting rates to evaluate the negative externalities resulting from unique uses of water, such as the bulk exportation of water out of a region.

Updated: April 7, 2019

LD 1452: An Act Regarding the Collection of the Sales and Use Tax by Marketplace Facilitators

Category: Taxation | Status: Pending

This bill ensures that persons making sales through physical or electronic marketplaces of tangible personal property and taxable services subject to the sales and use tax are subject to the same sales and use tax collection and remittance responsibilities as other sellers.

Updated: April 1, 2019

LD 1433: An Act To Protect the Environment and Public Health by Further Reducing Toxic Chemicals in Packaging

Category: Environmental | Status: Pending

This bill amends the laws regarding the reduction of toxics in packaging to prohibit the sale of food packaging to which phthalates have been intentionally introduced, effective January 1, 2022. It also authorizes the Department of Environmental Protection to by rule prohibit the sale of food packaging to which perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, have been intentionally introduced upon a determination by the department that a safer alternative to the intentionally introduced PFAS is available, except that such prohibition may not take effect until January 1, 2022 or 2 years following the department’s determination that a safer alternative is available, whichever is later.

The bill provides an exemption from these prohibitions for a manufacturer of a food or beverage product that has annual national sales of all food and beverage products produced by the manufacturer of less than one billion dollars. It also authorizes the department to designate additional chemicals of concern in food packaging; to require manufacturers of food packaging that use such designated chemicals to report regarding its use of the chemical and the availability of safer alternatives; and to prohibit the sale of food packaging to which a designated chemical of concern has been intentionally introduced if safer alternatives are reasonably available, effective and affordable to the consumer.

Updated: March 28, 2019

LD 1431: Resolve, To Support Municipal Recycling Programs

Category: Environmental | Status: Pending

This resolve requires the Department of Environmental Protection to develop proposed legislation to establish a new product stewardship program requiring producers of packaging to assist Maine municipalities in managing and financing packaging waste disposal and recycling programs in the State. The proposed legislation is required also to incentivize producers of packaging to design packaging to be recycled or made of recycled content to strengthen the recycling markets. The resolve requires the department to submit the proposed legislation to the Joint Standing Committee on Environment and Natural Resources no later than December 16, 2019.

Updated: March 28, 2019

LD 1410: An Act To Create Paid Family and Medical Leave Benefits

Category: Labor | Status: Pending

This bill establishes a paid family and medical leave benefits program administered by the Department of Labor. The program provides up to 12 weeks of family leave and up to 20 weeks of medical leave to eligible covered individuals. No more than 20 weeks of family leave and medical leave in the aggregate may be taken in a 12-month period. An individual is eligible for leave under the program after working 26 weeks or more for any employer in the 12 months prior to submitting an application or if the individual is self-employed and has elected to be part of the program.

The maximum weekly benefit amount is capped at 100% of the state average weekly wage. The weekly benefit amount is 90% of the portion of the covered individual’s average weekly wage that is equal to or less than 50% of the state average weekly wage and 67% of the portion of the covered individual’s average weekly wage that is more than 50% of the state average weekly wage.

Covered individuals are required to file claims for benefits in accordance with rules adopted by the department and to provide certification that they qualify for family leave or medical leave.

This bill establishes the Family and Medical Leave Insurance Fund to support the program. The funds for administrative costs and payment of benefits will come from payroll contributions by employees.

The bill requires payroll contributions to begin January 1, 2021, and benefits will be paid out beginning January 1, 2022.

Updated: March 25, 2019

LD 1357: An Act Regarding State Licensure for the Sale of Spirits for Off-premises Consumption

Category: Alcohol & Tobacco | Status: Pending

This bill amends the law regarding the number of agency liquor stores allowed in a municipality from the number being determined based upon the population of the municipality to being determined by the municipality, with existing agency liquor store licenses grandfathered if the municipality authorizes a number of agency liquor stores less than the number of operating liquor stores previously licensed by the Department of Administrative and Financial Services, Bureau of Alcoholic Beverages and Lottery Operations or the municipality does not make a determination. This bill also requires an applicant for an agency liquor store license to be a business licensed in the municipality in which the agency liquor store will be located that has been in existence for at least the 3 years immediately prior to application and that has been in good standing with every agency of the State for the 3 years immediately prior to application.

Updated: March 20, 2019

LD 1345: An Act To Ensure a Fair Workweek

Category: Labor | Status: Pending

This bill requires employers who employ 5 or more employees in the State to provide hourly employees at least 2 weeks’ prior notice of the employees’ work schedules, with compensation owed for schedule changes under certain circumstances. The bill also requires these employers to keep certain business records for at least 3 years.

The bill provides that the Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Standards may investigate possible violations and receive complaints of possible violations from the public. A fine of $50 per day is due for any noncompliance. The Attorney General may also file a civil action seeking additional remedies. The department may adopt rules regarding compliance with and enforcement of these provisions, and the bureau is required to report to the Legislature periodically on violations of the law and the bureau’s efforts.

Updated: March 20, 2019

LD 1324: Resolve, To Establish the Committee To Study the Feasibility of Creating Basic Income Security

Category: General Business | Status: Pending

This resolve establishes the Committee To Study the Feasibility of Creating Basic Income Security to examine options to better provide basic economic security to Maine people, including through the development of a direct cash payment system.

Updated: March 18, 2019

LD 1322: An Act To Provide Equitable Tax Treatment to State-licensed Marijuana Businesses

Category: Marijuana | Status: Pending

This bill expands the list of marijuana businesses that are licensed by the State and are eligible to take deductions otherwise allowed under the state income tax laws to include adult use marijuana establishments and testing facilities and medical marijuana manufacturing facilities. This bill also corrects 2 lettering conflicts created when 2 separate public laws enacted new paragraphs with the same letter designations by reallocating the later enacted versions.

Updated: March 18, 2019

LD 1294: Resolve, Directing the Maine Human Rights Commission To Implement a Pilot Program To Investigate and Report on Incidents of Harassment Due to Housing Status, Lack of Employment and Other Issues

Category: General Business | Status: Pending

This resolve directs the Maine Human Rights Commission to create a 2-year pilot program to receive, review and investigate incidents and complaints of harassment due to a person’s lack of employment or housing status and other reports of interference with a person’s access to public accommodations. In carrying out the pilot program, the commission must investigate and respond to incidents and complaints of harassment as set out in the Maine Revised Statutes, Title 5, sections 4611 and 4612. The commission is authorized to use any of its powers under Title 5, section 4566 to carry out the pilot program and may limit its scope. The commission is authorized to establish an advisory board to document and evaluate complaints and to advise the commission as to which incidents and complaints should be acted on and possible solutions. The commission is directed to produce an interim report for submission to the Joint Standing Committee on Judiciary by September 15, 2020 and a final report to the joint standing committee of the Legislature having jurisdiction over judiciary matters by September 15, 2021. The reports are authorized to contain recommendations on changes to the program or for its continuation as well as proposed legislation to carry out any recommendations.

Updated: March 18, 2019

LD 1245: An Act To Protect Victims of Domestic and Sexual Violence in Certain Provisions under the Maine Human Rights Act

Category: General Business | Status: Pending

This bill amends certain portions of the Maine Human Rights Act to provide protections to victims of domestic and sexual violence.

Updated: March 18, 2019

LD 1325: An Act To Allow Workplace Substance Use Testing for Fentanyl, Hydromorphone, Hydrocodone, Oxycodone and Oxymorphone Use at the Employer's Discretion

Category: Labor | Status: Pending

This bill allows an employer to test an employee or an applicant for employment for fentanyl, hydromorphone, hydrocodone, oxycodone and oxymorphone use during any substance use test administered by the employer.

Updated: March 15, 2019

LD 1254: An Act To Authorize a Local Option Sales Tax on Meals and Lodging and Provide Funding To Treat Opioid Use Disorder

Category: Taxation | Status: Pending

This bill allows a municipality to impose a local option sales tax, which may be seasonal, on prepared food, not including marijuana or marijuana products, and short-term lodging of no more than 1% if approved by referendum of the voters in that municipality. Revenue from the local option sales tax is distributed 85% to the municipality and 15% to all other municipalities. The 15% distributed to a municipality must be used by that municipality for the purposes of preventing and treating opioid use disorder in that municipality. Revenue received by a municipality may not be used to reduce or eliminate funding otherwise due the municipality under other provisions of law.

Updated: March 14, 2019

LD 1253: An Act To Fairly Compensate for Fatal Accidents under the Maine Workers' Compensation Act of 1992

Category: General Business | Status: Pending

Current law limits to 500 weeks the duration of death benefits under the laws governing workers’ compensation. This bill removes the 500-week cap.

Updated: March 14, 2019

LD 1251: An Act To Make Agricultural Workers and Other Workers Employees under the Wage and Hour Laws

Category: Food Production | Status: Pending

This bill provides that agricultural employees and seasonal employees are subject to the laws that place limits on mandatory overtime. It also provides that agricultural employees are subject to the laws that set a minimum wage and overtime rate. It provides that the laws that set an overtime rate apply to certain activities related to agricultural produce, meat and fish products and perishable foods.

Updated: March 14, 2019

LD 1250: An Act To Prohibit Sexual Harassment as a Subject Matter of Mandatory Arbitration in Employment Contracts

Category: Labor | Status: Pending

This bill prohibits an employment contract entered into after the effective date of this legislation from including a clause that requires arbitration of a sexual harassment allegation or claim and makes any such clause void. The bill does not affect the ability of an employer to include any other arbitration clause in a contract or to enforce the provisions of a contract other than the prohibited clause.

Updated: March 14, 2019

LD 1247: Resolve, To Change the Work Requirement Rules under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Program

Category: SNAP & WIC | Status: Pending

This resolve directs the Department of Health and Human Services to amend its rules to include a Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program participant’s attendance at the medical and mental health appointments of the participant’s children as a life management skill and job readiness activity.

Updated: March 14, 2019

LD 1243: An Act To Assist Small Businesses in Providing Health Care for Their Employees

Category: General Business | Status: Pending

This bill requires the Bureau of Insurance, Consumer Health Care Division to provide education and resources to employers with 50 or fewer employees to assist with making decisions related to health care coverage for their employees.

Updated: March 14, 2019

LD 1239: An Act To Mandate Paid Maternity and Parental Leave

Category: General Business | Status: Pending

This bill requires employers with one to 49 employees to provide 2 weeks of paid maternity leave, including existing benefits, to an employee who gives birth and one week of paid parental leave to an employee whose spouse or domestic partner gives birth. Employers with more than 49 employees are required to provide 4 weeks of paid maternity leave, including existing benefits, to an employee who gives birth and 2 weeks of paid parental leave to an employee whose spouse or domestic partner gives birth. The bill also includes provisions regarding the protection of existing benefits, position restoration, denial of rights and judicial enforcement similar to the provisions of the family medical leave laws.

Updated: March 14, 2019

LD 1238: An Act To Exempt Certain Print Publications from Sales Tax

Category: Taxation | Status: Pending

This bill expands the sales tax exemption for free publications to also apply to printed publications, including daily newspapers, that are issued at least once every 7 days, on average.

Updated: March 14, 2019

LD 1190: An Act To Prohibit the Sale and Distribution of Flavored Tobacco Products

Category: Alcohol & Tobacco | Status: Pending

This bill prohibits the sale and distribution of flavored tobacco products, including flavored cigars.

Updated: March 7, 2019

LD 1169: An Act To Provide Ready Access to Defibrillators in Businesses and Pharmacies

Category: General Business | Status: Pending

This bill requires the Technical Building Codes and Standards Board to amend the Maine Uniform Building and Energy Code to require that commercial buildings built or renovated on or after January 1, 2020 with occupancy exceeding 200 individuals have an operational automated external defibrillator on the premises. The bill also requires that retail pharmacies, rural health center pharmacies and free clinic pharmacies have an automated external defibrillator on the premises, and that an individual trained in the use of the defibrillator be present at all times the pharmacy is open to the public.

Updated: March 7, 2019

LD 1167: An Act To Increase Consumption of Maine Foods in State Institutions

Category: Food Production | Status: Pending

Current law requires state and school purchasers to buy meat, fish, dairy products, excluding milk and eggs, and species of fruits and fresh vegetables directly from Maine food producers or food brokers. This bill establishes a minimum percentage of Maine foodstuffs, including milk or milk products, eggs, meat or meat products, poultry or poultry products, fish or fish products and fruits and vegetables, that must be purchased, requiring at least 20% by December 31, 2025, at least 30% by December 31, 2030, at least 40% by December 31, 2040 and at least 50% by December 31, 2050. The bill exempts from the requirements school purchasers at schools participating in the National School Lunch Program. The bill also clarifies that “Maine food producer” includes food processors, revises provisions regulating quality standards and requires competitive bidding when more than one producer or broker or wholesaler can supply a given foodstuff.

Updated: March 7, 2019

LD 1159: Resolve, To End Hunger in Maine by 2030

Category: Food Production | Status: Pending

This bill directs the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, in consultation and collaboration with interested parties and stakeholders, to collaborate with the Department of Marine Resources, the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Labor, the Department of Economic and Community Development, the Department of Education, the Department of Defense, Veterans and Emergency Management, Bureau of Maine Veterans’ Services and the University of Maine Cooperative Extension to develop a comprehensive strategic plan to eliminate hunger in the State by 2030. The Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry is required to submit an initial design for the plan by February 10, 2020 to the Joint Standing Committee on Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, which may submit legislation based on the report to the Second Regular Session of the 129th Legislature.

Updated: March 7, 2019

LD 1156: An Act To Create the Savings Account Program for Small Businesses

Category: General Business | Status: Pending

This bill establishes the Savings Account Program for Small Businesses in the Finance Authority of Maine to certify corporations eligible to claim a tax credit for contributions made to qualifying savings accounts. The bill creates the tax credit and establishes that withdrawals from the savings accounts are taxable income.

Updated: March 7, 2019

LD 1132: An Act To Provide Additional Food Supplement Assistance for the Elderly and Persons with Disabilities

Category: SNAP & WIC | Status: Pending

This bill requires the State to ensure that a household that includes a member who is elderly or disabled and that receives a federally funded benefit under the statewide food supplement program receives a minimum benefit of $30 per month by providing a supplemental benefit if necessary.

Updated: March 7, 2019

LD 1115: An Act To Create Fairness in the Redemption of Beverage Containers

Category: Beverage Containers | Status: Pending

This bill amends the bottle redemption laws to require a dealer to accept from a consumer or other person and to pay the refund value on any beverage container that was sold by the dealer if no approved bottle redemption centers are located within 5 miles from the property line of the dealer. Subject to prior approval of the Department of Environmental Protection, a dealer shall affix to the beverage containers it sells a sticker or similar device indicating that the beverage container is sold by the dealer and may refuse to accept from a consumer or other person and to pay the refund value on any beverage container that does not have the sticker or similar device affixed to it. A dealer may also limit the hours or days on which it accepts beverage containers for redemption.

Under the bottle redemption laws, a dealer is a person who sells, offers to sell or engages in the sale of beverages in beverage containers to a consumer, and a dealer may, but is not currently required to, accept from a consumer or other person and pay the refund value on any beverage container.

Updated: March 7, 2019

LD 1110: An Act To Establish a Local Option for Sales Tax

Category: Taxation | Status: Pending

This bill allows a municipality to impose a local option sales tax if approved by referendum of the voters in that municipality. The referendum question must identify the rate of the local option sales tax, the categories of taxable items the local option sales tax will apply to and the purposes for which the revenue will be used. The local option sales tax would be collected and administered by the State in the same manner as the sales and use tax. Revenue from the local option sales tax is distributed to the municipality imposing the local option sales tax. Revenue received by a municipality may not be used to reduce or eliminate funding otherwise due the municipality under other provisions of law.

Updated: March 4, 2019

LD 1098: An Act To Help Small Employers by Making the Minimum Wage Increase More Gradual in Nonurban Areas

Category: Minimum Wage | Status: Pending

This bill creates an alternative minimum hourly wage that applies to certain designated nonurban areas starting on January 1, 2020. Under this bill the minimum hourly wage rate for those areas is $11 per hour and increases by 50¢ each January 1st until it reaches $12 per hour on January 1, 2022. The minimum hourly wage stays the same as in current law for Cumberland County, except for the towns of Baldwin, Bridgton, Harrison and Naples.

The bill also freezes any scheduled increase in the current minimum wage or the new alternative minimum wage if there is in effect an extended benefit period for unemployment compensation benefits, as determined by the Commissioner of Labor. The scheduled increase or increases will resume once there is no longer an extended benefit period in effect as of January 1st of a given year. It also delays the cost-of-living adjustment for the current minimum wage to January 1, 2024, changes the calculation to be the average cost-of-living increase over the prior 3 years and changes the timing of the cost-of-living adjustment to be every 3 years instead of every year.

It also requires the Department of Labor to submit an annual report analyzing job creation and job loss trends in urban and nonurban areas since the initiation of minimum wage increases established by Initiated Bill 2015, chapter 2, section 1.

Updated: March 4, 2019

LD 1087: An Act To Keep Maine Businesses Competitive

Category: General Business | Status: Pending

This bill is a concept draft pursuant to Joint Rule 208.

This bill proposes to keep Maine businesses competitive.

Updated: March 1, 2019

LD 1078: An Act Regarding the Number of Agency Liquor Store Licenses Permitted in a Municipality

Category: Alcohol & Tobacco | Status: Pending

This bill allows the Department of Administrative and Financial Services, Bureau of Alcoholic Beverages and Lottery Operations to license up to 11 agency liquor stores in a municipality with a population over 60,000. Under current law, the maximum number of agency liquor stores that may be licensed in a municipality with a population over 45,000 is 10.

Updated: March 1, 2019

LD 1074: An Act To Establish a Tax on Water Extracted for Bottling in Order To Secure the Economic Future of Rural Maine

Category: Environmental | Status: Pending

This bill creates an excise tax of 12¢ per gallon on the extraction of groundwater or surface water for commercial bottling for sale. Revenue from the tax must be used to improve the economy of the State by supporting the expansion and improvement of high-speed broadband access and by providing tuition grants for up to 2 years for postsecondary education.

Updated: March 1, 2019

LD 1070: An Act To Reduce the Number of Domestic Assaults and Suicides By Increasing the Tax on Alcohol

Category: Alcohol & Tobacco | Status: Pending

This bill, for the purpose of reducing the incidence of domestic violence and suicides, increases the excise taxes imposed on spirits, malt liquor, fortified wines and hard cider and the sales tax imposed on the sale of liquor sold in establishments for consumption on or off premises.

Updated: March 1, 2019

LD 1068: An Act To Increase the Number of Agency Liquor Stores Permitted in Municipalities with 10,000 to 20,000 Residents

Category: Alcohol & Tobacco | Status: Pending

This bill allows the Department of Administrative and Financial Services, Bureau of Alcoholic Beverages and Lottery Operations to license up to 6 agency liquor stores in a municipality with a population of at least 10,001 but less than 20,001; current law allows such a municipality a maximum of 5 agency liquor stores.

Updated: March 1, 2019

LD 1055: An Act To Reduce Fraud in the Redemption of Beverage Containers

Category: Beverage Containers | Status: Pending

This bill amends the State’s bottle redemption laws to authorize initiators of deposit subject to a commingling agreement to include in the agreement authorization to conduct audits of beverage containers presented by a dealer or local redemption center for pickup or payment of refund value and to take certain actions against the dealer or local redemption center in the case of a failed audit. The bill also provides for a grievance process whereby a dealer or local redemption center may file a grievance with the Department of Environmental Protection to challenge an action taken by an initiator of deposit in the case of a failed audit.

Updated: February 28, 2019

LD 1051: An Act To Create the Maine Family First Employer Program

Category: General Business | Status: Pending

This bill creates the Maine Family First Employer Program under the Department of Labor to award employers that create family-friendly workplaces by providing, for all full-time employees, advancement and leadership opportunities; the same pay rates for similar work; stipends or assistance for child care; paid leave for the birth or adoption of a child and medical care for employees or family members of employees; flexible work accommodations for other family obligations; and health insurance and retirement plan options. The awards are presented by the Governor and come with a logo that a designated employer may use for promotional purposes.

Updated: February 28, 2019

LD 1028: An Act To Prevent and Reduce Tobacco Use with Adequate Funding and by Raising the Tax on Tobacco Products

Category: Alcohol & Tobacco | Status: Pending

This bill increases the cigarette tax from $2.00 to $3.50 per pack of 20 cigarettes and increases the tax on all other tobacco products including electronic cigarettes to 81% of the wholesale sales price, beginning November 1, 2019. The bill provides that, if the tax on cigarettes is increased on or after November 1, 2019, the tax on all other tobacco products will be adjusted by a rate that is equivalent to the percentage change in the tax rate for one cigarette. The bill provides ongoing funding, $11,100,000 per year, to the Department of Health and Human Services, Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention for tobacco use prevention and cessation in order to align with the United States Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations. The bill also provides $1,000,000 in fiscal year 2019-20 and $750,000 thereafter for MaineCare members for tobacco use cessation medications and counseling. Finally, the bill provides $250,000 per year in ongoing funding to the Attorney General’s office for increased tobacco enforcement activities.

Updated: February 28, 2019

LD 1020: An Act to Modify the Number of Retail Liquor Licenses Allowed in Certain Municipalities

Category: Alcohol & Tobacco | Status: Pending

This bill allows the Department of Administrative and Financial Services, Bureau of Alcoholic Beverages and Lottery Operations to license up to 8 agency liquor stores in a municipality with a population of at least 16,001 but less than 30,001; current law requires a population of at least 20,001 before a municipality qualifies for 8 agency liquor stores. The population threshold to qualify for 5 agency liquor stores remains at 10,001.

Updated: February 28, 2019

LD 1017: An Act Regarding the Elimination of Highly Toxic and Hazardous Chemicals in the Workplace

Category: Environmental | Status: Pending

This bill is a concept draft pursuant to Joint Rule 208.This bill proposes to create statutory and regulatory requirements that are designed to prevent harm to employees by substituting for or eliminating highly toxic and hazardous chemicals in the workplace. The bill would:
1. Apply to industries, including, but not limited to, manufacturing, retail and service; automotive; auto body repair; shipbuilding; paper manufacturing; manufacturing of apparel or apparel components; medical equipment; construction; personal care product or feminine product manufacturing; coatings; textiles; lumber; plastics; technology services; and cleaning and janitorial services. The bill would not apply to agricultural employers in the State;
2. Define “highly toxic and hazardous chemical” as a chemical that, based on credible scientific evidence, has a significant potential for harm to human health;
3. Define “priority highly toxic and hazardous chemical” to include a chemical for which there is credible scientific evidence that the chemical is a carcinogen, a mutagen, a reproductive toxin, a developmental toxin, an endocrine disruptor or a neurotoxin;
4. Define “safer alternative” as an alternative that, when compared to a highly toxic and hazardous chemical that it could replace, would reduce the potential for harm to human health or that has not been shown to pose the same or greater potential harm to human health as the highly toxic and hazardous chemical;
5. Require employers in the State to identify and evaluate highly toxic and hazardous chemicals and, if feasible, eliminate those highly toxic and hazardous chemicals or substitute safer alternatives. Specifically, it would require employers to:
A. Identify and evaluate highly toxic and hazardous chemicals and eliminate the highly toxic and hazardous chemicals or substitute safer alternatives if feasible;
B. Implement a plan for the elimination and substitution of highly toxic and hazardous chemicals in the workplace;
C. Consult publicly accessible website lists and online databases that identify highly toxic and hazardous chemicals;
D. Consult safety data sheets required by the federal Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration to identify highly toxic and hazardous chemicals;
E. Consult chemical suppliers and manufacturers to identify highly toxic and hazardous chemicals;
F. Consult publicly accessible websites and databases that identify safer alternatives that may be substituted for highly toxic and hazardous chemicals;
G. Contact chemical suppliers and manufacturers for possible safer alternatives;
H. Identify steps necessary to be followed for the elimination or substitution of a highly toxic and hazardous chemical;
I. Decide, with justification, whether substituting a highly toxic and hazardous chemical is feasible for business operations;
J. In transitioning from a highly toxic and hazardous chemical to a safer alternative, use a transition team composed of employees and management;
K. Together with the transition team, develop a priority ranking for all highly toxic and hazardous chemicals identified for transition to safer alternatives; andL. Conduct an alternatives analysis of the anticipated difficulty of transitioning to a safer alternative and a financial analysis of costs;
6. Require the Commissioner of Labor to adopt rules and provide guidelines to assist employers in how to identify and evaluate highly toxic and hazardous chemicals and how to determine if safer alternatives exist. Specifically, it would require the commissioner to adopt rules:
A. To define terms, including “affected employee,” “alternative chemical,” “alternative chemical work plan” and “chemical”;
B. To develop procedures to assist employers in implementing a program for the substitution of highly toxic and hazardous chemicals in the workplace; and
C. Governing the implementation of safer alternatives; discontinuation of safer alternatives, justification and reporting; self-audits by employers; reporting requirements; records retention requirements; access to information, including employee access and access by the State; and provision of annual employee training and informational materials; and
7. Require the Commissioner of Labor to:
A. Identify publicly accessible website lists of online databases that identify highly toxic and hazardous chemicals;
B. Make employers aware that safety data sheets required by the federal Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration are a source for identifying highly toxic and hazardous chemicals;
C. Identify publicly accessible websites that identify safer alternatives that may be substituted for highly toxic and hazardous chemicals currently employed in industry and business operations;
D. Identify steps required for the elimination or substitution of a highly toxic and hazardous chemical, including the criteria for justification of whether eliminating or substituting for a highly toxic and hazardous chemical is feasible for employers’ business operations; and
E. Enforce the provisions of the law.

Updated: February 25, 2019

LD 946: An Act To Protect the Privacy of Online Customer Information

Category: General Business | Status: Pending

This bill prohibits a provider of broadband Internet access service from using, disclosing, selling or permitting access to customer personal information unless the customer expressly consents to that use, disclosure, sale or access. The bill provides other exceptions under which a provider may use, disclose, sell or permit access to customer personal information. The bill prohibits a provider from refusing to serve a customer, charging a customer a penalty or offering a customer a discount if the customer does or does not consent to the use, disclosure, sale or access. The bill requires providers to take reasonable measures to protect customer personal information from unauthorized use, disclosure, sale or access. The provisions of the bill apply to providers operating within the State when providing broadband Internet access service to customers that are billed for service received in the State and are physically located in the State.

Updated: February 25, 2019

LD 942: An Act To Require Reimbursement for Medical Marijuana

Category: General Business | Status: Pending

Part A of this bill requires a health insurance carrier to provide coverage for marijuana for medical use for a health plan enrollee who has received certification for the medical use of marijuana from an authorized medical provider. Carriers are required to directly reimburse a health plan enrollee for the costs of obtaining a medical marijuana certificate and the costs of medical marijuana. The requirements apply to all individual and group policies and contracts issued or renewed on or after January 1, 2020.

Part A also applies the same requirements to individual and group accidental injury and disability insurance.

Part B of the bill requires an employer to reimburse an employee eligible for workers’ compensation benefits for the costs of obtaining a medical marijuana certificate and the costs of medical marijuana.

Updated: February 25, 2019

LD 919: An Act To Establish a Minimum Mileage Reimbursement Rate for Traveling Sales Representatives

Category: General Business | Status: Pending

This bill requires an employer to provide mileage reimbursement for an employee who travels as a sales representative who is required to use the employee’s private automobile to perform the employee’s duties. This reimbursement is included as wages for purposes of the laws requiring timely and full payment of wages and for wages due at cessation of employment.

Updated: February 25, 2019

LD 1015: An Act To Support Maine Craft Distillers

Category: Alcohol & Tobacco | Status: Pending

This bill exempts the holder of a small distillery license from bailment or other distribution fees if the product sold by that license holder, either for on-premises or off-premises consumption, was not transported to a warehouse operated by the State or a wholesaler contracted by the State.

Updated: February 24, 2019

LD 982: Resolve, To Expand the Use of the Women, Infants and Children Special Supplemental Food Program at Farmers' Markets

Category: SNAP & WIC | Status: Pending

This resolve directs the Commissioner of Health and Human Services to amend the rules regarding the use of the Women, Infants and Children Special Supplemental Food Program at farmers’ markets by expanding the program from seasonal to include all 12 months of the calendar year and by expanding the scope of food products that may be purchased through the program at a farmers’ market from only fresh fruits and vegetables to all food products allowed to be purchased through the program in general.

Updated: February 24, 2019

LD 971: An Act To Encourage the Purchase and Sale of Locally Grown and Raised Crops and Products

Category: Food Production | Status: Pending

This bill establishes the Specialty Crops Certification Cost-share Program in the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry and requires the Commissioner of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry to reimburse farmers for up to 50% of the cost of certification of specialty crops under the “Good Agricultural Practices” and “Good Handling Practices” voluntary audit programs under the United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Marketing Service. The bill also provides that reimbursement to farmers for certification may not be more than $500 per farmer per year.

Updated: February 24, 2019

LD 963: An Act To Exempt Overtime Pay from Individual Income Tax

Category: Taxation | Status: Pending

This bill excludes from income tax overtime compensation if the employer is required by law to pay the overtime compensation to the employee.

Updated: February 24, 2019

LD 947: An Act To Extend the Notice of Injury Period in the Maine Workers' Compensation Act of 1992

Category: General Business | Status: Pending

Under current law governing workers’ compensation, an employee must provide notice of injury to an employer within 30 days after the date of injury. This bill provides that, for claims for which the date of injury is on or after January 1, 2020, an employee must provide to the employer notice of the injury within 180 days after the date of injury.

Updated: February 24, 2019

LD 937: An Act Regarding the Sale and Release or Abandonment of Balloons

Category: Environmental | Status: Pending

This bill amends the State’s litter law to provide that a person who releases or abandons a balloon outdoors is subject to penalties under that law regarding the waste materials resulting from that release or abandonment. It also requires a seller of balloons to register with the Department of Environmental Protection and to display in a conspicuous place at each purchase counter warning information developed by the department concerning the risks to the environment and to wildlife posed by waste materials resulting from the outdoor release of balloons; the choking and suffocation risks to children posed by the unsupervised use of balloons; the risks to individuals with latex allergies posed by exposure to balloons made wholly or partly from latex; and the penalties for littering resulting from the outdoor release of balloons that may be imposed by the State’s litter laws.

The intent of this legislation is to prevent the release into the environment of balloons that pose a danger and a nuisance to the environment, particularly to wildlife and marine animals, and that cause hardship for the municipalities that must clean up the debris from balloons.

Updated: February 24, 2019

LD 920: An Act To Establish the Fund To Support Local Fruits and Vegetables Purchasing

Category: SNAP & WIC | Status: Pending

This bill establishes the Fund To Support Local Fruits and Vegetables Purchasing within the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry to provide incentives to federal food and nutrition assistance program participants for the purchase of locally grown fruits and vegetables and to support outreach for and administration of programs that offer nutrition incentives to participants of federal food and nutrition assistance programs. Fund recipients must be state-based organizations that support local food producers, local food production or low-income individuals in receiving food and nutrition assistance, with priority to organizations that have a demonstrated history of incentivizing the use of federal food and nutrition assistance programs to purchase locally grown fruits and vegetables or that demonstrate the ability to leverage the proceeds to match or receive additional funds from local, state, federal or private sources. The bill provides reporting and audit requirements for recipients to ensure proper use of the funds and appropriates funds to capitalize the fund.

Updated: February 24, 2019

LD 910: An Act To Establish as a Priority the Interests of Maine Farmers, Growers and Food Producers

Category: Food Production | Status: Pending

This bill is a concept draft pursuant to Joint Rule 208.

This bill proposes to require that when the State makes decisions regarding its purchasing of food, the State must consider as a priority in its decision making the interests of Maine farmers, growers and food producers.

Updated: February 18, 2019

LD 903: An Act To Improve Corporate Tax Fairness by Amending the Rates Imposed on Corporate Income

Category: General Business | Status: Pending

This bill establishes 2 new tax brackets and 3 new rates for corporate income tax purposes for tax years beginning on or after January 1, 2020. Under the bill, corporate income between $2,000,000 and $3,000,000 is taxed at the rate of 8.5% and corporate income between $3,000,000 and $3,500,000 is taxed at the rate of 8.75%; such income is taxed under current law at the rate of 8.33%. The top tax rate, which is imposed on corporate income over $3,500,000, is increased from 8.93% to 9%.

Updated: February 18, 2019

LD 901: An Act To Clarify the Statute of Limitations under the Maine Workers' Compensation Act of 1992

Category: General Business | Status: Pending

This bill removes changes that were made by Public Law 2011, chapter 647 to the law governing the statute of limitations for workers’ compensation claims and restores the law to the language that was held by the Law Court in Wilson v. Bath Iron Works, 942 A.2d 1237 (Me. 2008) to mean that, for purposes of filing a petition under the workers’ compensation laws, the statute of limitations expires 2 years after the date of injury or 2 years after the date the employer files the first report of injury, whichever is later.

Updated: February 18, 2019

LD 857: An Act To Increase Accountability for Wage Violations

Category: General Business | Status: Pending

This bill amends the law regarding employment practices by increasing the fine for a violation of certain state wage and benefits laws to $500 for the first violation and $2,500 for each subsequent violation and by providing a private right of action for a person aggrieved of such a violation. It amends the law regarding employees’ remedies to provide that in a judgment for an employee an additional amount of 3 times the unpaid wages must be awarded the employee. It also provides ongoing funds for 10 labor and safety inspector positions within the Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Standards, wage and hour division beginning October 1, 2019.

Updated: February 15, 2019

LD 847: An Act To Ensure Persons with Disabilities Have Access to Public Rest Rooms

Category: General Business | Status: Pending

This bill provides that single-occupancy bathrooms in existing buildings for use by the general public may not be designated as gender specific. It also requires that new construction of buildings for use by the general public include the construction of single-occupancy bathrooms that meet the standards of construction for new buildings and the federal Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. The bathrooms may not be designated as gender specific; the purpose of this provision is to ensure that a person with a disability using the bathroom may be assisted by an attendant of a different gender.

Updated: February 15, 2019

LD 809: An Act To Expand and Clarify the Disqualification from Workers' Compensation Benefits of an Employee Who Is Injured While Under the Influence of Drugs or Alcohol

Category: General Business | Status: Pending

Under current law, workers’ compensation benefits are not allowed for the injury or death of an employee when the injury or death was caused by the employee’s intoxication. This bill eliminates that provision and instead disallows benefits for an employee who was intoxicated at the time of the injury or death. This bill also clarifies that intoxication includes intoxication from an illegal drug, marijuana or alcohol.

Updated: February 15, 2019

LD 889: An Act To Require the Labeling of Foods Made with Nanotechnology

Category: Food Production | Status: Pending

This bill requires that a label be placed on any food or food product offered for sale in the State made with the use of nanotechnology. Nanotechnology is the branch of technology concerned with the control of matter with dimensions of less than 100 nanometers, especially the manipulation of individual atoms and molecules.

Updated: February 15, 2019

LD 883: An Act To Establish the Opt-in Maine Paid Family Leave Insurance Program

Category: General Business | Status: Pending

This bill creates the Maine Paid Family Leave Insurance Program to provide wage-replacement benefits to persons who qualify for family medical leave. The program is funded by employee contributions and provides 2/3 of a person’s average weekly wage or 100% of the state average weekly wage, whichever is lower, for up to 6 weeks in any 12-month period. Employee contributions are collected on a sliding scale based on wages.

Updated: February 15, 2019

LD 863: An Act To Exempt Diapering Products from Sales Tax

Category: Taxation | Status: Pending

This bill provides a sales tax exemption for disposable and reusable diapers for children, including diaper covers, wraps and diaper pins that are used with reusable diapers.

Updated: February 15, 2019

LD 853: An Act To Facilitate Weekend Malt Liquor Purchases by Licensed Establishments

Category: Alcohol & Tobacco | Status: Pending

This bill permits retailers licensed for the sale of malt liquor to be consumed on the premises to purchase malt liquor from retailers licensed for the sale of malt liquor to be consumed off of the premises during weekend hours, when wholesalers and distributors are typically closed.

Updated: February 15, 2019

LD 830: An Act To Balance Maine's Minimum Wage for Small and Large Employers

Category: General Business | Status: Pending

This bill establishes a minimum hourly wage for small employers that is less than the minimum hourly wage for large employers. Beginning October 1, 2019, for an employer with fewer than 50 full-time employees in Maine, the minimum hourly wage is established at $10; the minimum hourly wage for an employer of at least 50 full-time employees in Maine remains at $11 until January 1, 2021, when it increases to $12. This bill also delays the indexing of the minimum hourly wage for cost-of-living adjustments by one year until 2022.

Updated: February 14, 2019

LD 808: An Act To Create a Youth Wage

Category: Labor | Status: Pending

This bill establishes a minimum hourly wage for a person who is under 18 years of age and is enrolled as a student in a school. The wage is 75% of the regular minimum hourly wage.

Updated: February 14, 2019

LD 805: An Act To Clarify the Laws Governing Taste Testing and Retail Sales of Liquor at Farmers' Markets

Category: Alcohol & Tobacco | Status: Pending

This bill is a concept draft pursuant to Joint Rule 208.

This bill proposes to clarify the laws governing the taste testing and retail sale of liquor at farmers’ markets.

Updated: February 14, 2019

LD 796: An Act To Reestablish the Department of Agriculture, Food and Rural Resources and the Department of Conservation

Category: Food Production | Status: Pending

An Act To Reestablish the Department of Agriculture, Food and Rural Resources and the Department of Conservation

Updated: February 14, 2019

LD 795: RESOLUTION, Proposing an Amendment to the Constitution of Maine To Establish a Right to Food

Category: Food Production | Status: Pending

This constitutional resolution declares that all individuals have a natural, inherent and unalienable right to acquire, produce, process, prepare, preserve and consume and to barter, trade and purchase the food of their own choosing for their own nourishment, sustenance, bodily health and well-being.

Updated: February 14, 2019

LD 786: An Act To Reduce Hunger and Promote Maine Agriculture

Category: Food Production | Status: Pending

This bill provides an appropriation to allow the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry to contract with a nonprofit organization that provides statewide hunger relief services to allow that organization to:

1. Engage in statewide hunger relief services, including, but not limited to, the purchase of food from Maine food producers and processors;

2. Provide grants to local hunger relief programs; and

3. Pay its operational and distribution expenses.

Updated: February 11, 2019

LD 757: An Act To Improve Labor Laws for Maine Workers

Category: Labor | Status: Pending

This bill is a concept draft pursuant to Joint Rule 208.

This bill would provide employees more rights under the labor laws.

Updated: February 11, 2019

LD 733: An Act To Promote Keeping Workers in Maine

Category: General Business | Status: Pending

This bill prohibits an employer from requiring or entering into a so-called noncompete agreement with an employee earning wages that are at or below 300% of the federal poverty level. A noncompete agreement is defined as a contract or contract provision that prohibits an employee or prospective employee from working in the same or a similar profession or in a specified geographic area for a certain period of time following termination of employment. If an employer requires a noncompete agreement for a position of employment, the employer must disclose that requirement in any advertisement for that position, and an employer must provide an employee or prospective employee with a copy of a noncompete agreement at least 3 business days before requiring that employee or prospective employee to sign the agreement. An employer that violates this law commits a civil violation for which a fine of not less than $5,000 may be adjudged. The Department of Labor is responsible for enforcement of the law. The terms of a noncompete agreement, except for a noncompete agreement with a physician, are not in effect until after an employee has been employed with the employer for at least one year or a period of 6 months from the date the agreement was signed, whichever is later.

The bill also prohibits a restrictive employment agreement between 2 or more employers that prohibits or restricts one employer from soliciting or hiring another employer’s employees or former employees.

Updated: February 8, 2019

LD 752: An Act To Reduce Food Insecurity and Promote Economic Growth

Category: SNAP & WIC | Status: Pending

This bill accomplishes the following.

1. It directs the Department of Health and Human Services to seek a waiver beginning with federal fiscal year 2020, which begins October 1, 2019, and for each federal fiscal year thereafter to allow individuals otherwise subject to a 3-month limit on federal food supplement program benefits to continue to receive benefits if those individuals reside in counties, labor market areas or other areas that qualify for a waiver because of high unemployment or a lack of a sufficient number of jobs to provide employment for those individuals.

2. It requires the Department of Health and Human Services to calculate the amount of the food stamp standard utility allowance using reliable data reflecting actual utility costs in Maine.

3. It directs the Department of Health and Human Services to request the United States Department of Agriculture to waive the asset test for determining the eligibility for the federal supplemental nutrition assistance program of any household in which there is an individual who is 60 years of age or older or an individual with a disability or that does not include children.

Updated: February 8, 2019

LD 739: An Act To Help Small Businesses by Establishing an Alternate Minimum Wage

Category: General Business | Status: Pending

This bill creates an alternate minimum wage applicable to employees of a small employer, to the first 90 consecutive days of employment for employees who are under 20 years of age and to employees who are under 18 years of age. The wage is $9.75 starting January 1, 2020 and will be increased by any increase in the cost of living starting January 1, 2021 and every subsequent January 1st.

Updated: February 8, 2019

LD 737: An Act To Update Alcohol Taste-testing Requirements

Category: Alcohol & Tobacco | Status: Pending

This bill allows agency liquor stores and off-premises retail licensees to conduct up to 3 tastings per month of distilled spirits, wine and malt liquor each, for a potential total of 9 tastings per month at some retailers.

Updated: February 8, 2019

LD 731: To Amend the Maine Tax Laws

Category: Taxation | Status: Pending

This bill is a concept draft pursuant to Joint Rule 208.

This bill proposes to amend the Maine tax laws.

Updated: February 8, 2019

LD 725: An Act To Provide an Income Tax Credit To Encourage Small Business Hiring

Category: General Business | Status: Pending

This bill provides a new employee hiring incentive by means of an income tax credit for employers with an average of 25 or fewer full-time employees during a tax year. The credit is equal to the amount of federal social security tax and Medicare tax paid by the employer for the first 40 hours of employment for new employees who are employed for at least 12 consecutive months for year-round jobs or at least 2 consecutive seasons for seasonal jobs.

Updated: February 8, 2019

LD 702: An Act Regarding the Pricing of Spirits

Category: Alcohol & Tobacco | Status: Pending

This bill is a concept draft pursuant to Joint Rule 208.

This bill proposes to enact measures designed to ensure a thorough appeals process relating to the pricing of spirits by the Department of Administrative and Financial Services, Bureau of Alcoholic Beverages and Lottery Operations and the State Liquor and Lottery Commission.

Updated: February 8, 2019

LD 670: An Act To Increase the Minimum Wage for Large Employers

Category: General Business | Status: Pending

This bill increases the minimum wage of the employees of employers employing 50 or more full-time employees to $13.00 on January 1, 2021, to $14.00 on January 1, 2022 and to $15.00 on January 1, 2023.

Updated: February 7, 2019

LD 666: An Act To Protect Pregnant Workers

Category: General Business | Status: Pending

This bill provides that it is unlawful employment discrimination for an employer to fail to provide a reasonable accommodation for an employee’s pregnancy-related condition, unless provision of an accommodation would impose an undue hardship on the employer.

Updated: February 7, 2019

LD 630: An Act To Clarify That Food and Food Products Containing Hemp-derived Cannabidiol Produced and Sold within the State Are Not Adulterated and To Match the State's Definition of "Hemp" to the Definition in Federal Law

Category: Food Production | Status: Pending

Part A of this bill provides that food and food products containing hemp-derived cannabidiol that are produced and sold within the State are not considered to be “adulterated” under state law, and the production, marketing, sale or distribution of food or food products containing hemp may not be prohibited.

Part B of this bill changes the term in Maine law “industrial hemp” to “hemp” and defines “hemp” to match the definition of “hemp” in the federal Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018.

Updated: February 7, 2019

LD 567: An Act To Create a Universal Basic Income

Category: General Business | Status: Pending

This bill is a concept draft pursuant to Joint Rule 208.

This bill proposes to enact measures designed to establish a universal basic income for residents of the State.

Updated: February 4, 2019

LD 621: An Act To Prohibit Extruded Polystyrene Food Service Containers

Category: Environmental | Status: Pending

This bill prohibits food establishments from processing, preparing, selling or providing food in or on an extruded polystyrene foam food service container with certain exceptions.

Updated: February 4, 2019

LD 612: An Act To Promote Youth Employment

Category: General Business | Status: Pending

This bill establishes a minimum hourly wage for persons who are 16 or 17 years of age that is $1.00 per hour less than the regular minimum hourly wage, a minimum hourly wage for persons who are 15 years of age that is $2.00 per hour less than the regular minimum hourly wage and a minimum hourly wage for persons who are 14 years of age and under that is $3.00 per hour less than the regular minimum hourly wage.

Updated: February 4, 2019

LD 596: An Act To Prevent the Closure of Maine Businesses

Category: General Business | Status: Pending

This bill requires that a person proposing to permanently shut down an industrial or commercial facility make an offer of sale, at fair market value, of the facility and equipment to an interested employee organization or to a privately owned business entity, government-owned business entity or jointly owned business entity.

Updated: February 4, 2019

LD 579: An Act To Update Beverage Container Deposits and Redemption Values

Category: Beverage Containers | Status: Pending

This bill:

1. Increases to 15¢ the deposit and refund value on refillable and nonrefillable beverage containers whose deposit and refund value is currently 5¢. The bill also increases from 5¢ to 15¢ the deposit and refund value of wine and spirits containers of 50 milliliters or less, and from 15¢ to 45¢ the deposit and refund value of wine and spirits containers of greater than 50 milliliters; and

2. Triples the amount per returned container of reimbursement to the dealer or local redemption center for the cost of handling beverage containers beginning January 1, 2020.

Updated: February 1, 2019

LD 575: An Act To Increase the Bottle Redemption Deposit and the Amount Retained by Bottle Redemption Centers

Category: Beverage Containers | Status: Pending

 

This bill:

1. Increases to 10¢ the deposit and refund value on refillable and nonrefillable beverage containers whose deposit and refund value is currently 5¢. This increase does not apply to wine and spirits containers;

2. Repeals the provision that authorizes the reduced handling fee for small brewers and water bottlers; and

3. Increases by 3¢ per returned container the reimbursement to the dealer or local redemption center for the cost of handling beverage containers beginning January 1, 2020.

 

Updated: January 31, 2019

LD 551: An Act To Ban Nicotine Liquid Containers

Category: Alcohol & Tobacco | Status: Pending

This bill prohibits, beginning January 1, 2020, a person from selling, furnishing or giving away a nicotine liquid container.

Updated: January 30, 2019

LD 552: An Act Relating to Penalties for an Employer for the Retail Sale of Tobacco Products to a Minor when the Employer Possesses a Driver's License Reader

Category: Alcohol & Tobacco | Status: Pending

This bill provides that an employer who sells tobacco products and who has an electronic age verification device is not subject to a civil violation if a person employed by the employer does not use the electronic age verification device to verify a person’s age for the sale of tobacco products and sells a tobacco product to a person who has not attained 21 years of age.

Updated: January 30, 2019

LD 544: An Act To Create Extended Producer Responsibility for Post-consumer Waste Generated from the Use of Tobacco Products

Category: Alcohol & Tobacco | Status: Pending

This bill is a concept draft pursuant to Joint Rule 208.

This bill proposes to establish a system under which producers of tobacco products develop, finance and implement stewardship programs to collect, transport, process and safely dispose of post-consumer tobacco waste to reduce, prevent and mitigate the environmental effects of the disposal of that waste in the State.

The bill proposes to:

1. Prohibit tobacco producers or retailers from selling or offering for sale tobacco products in the State unless they are participating in an approved tobacco waste stewardship program;

2. Require a tobacco producer to provide retailers that sell tobacco products information about the producer’s tobacco waste stewardship program and information regarding available collection opportunities for post-consumer tobacco product waste. Under the bill, a retailer that sells tobacco products would be required to provide that information to its consumers at the time of sale;

3. Require each tobacco producer to submit a plan for its tobacco waste stewardship program to the State for approval. The plan must:
A. Specify educational and outreach activities and materials that promote and increase awareness of the tobacco waste stewardship program, including but not limited to a website and written materials. The outreach materials must identify options for establishing an effective collection system, promote a reduction in the generation of post-consumer tobacco product waste, identify each tobacco producer participating in the program, identify participating brands of tobacco products sold and identify the processors that manage the post-consumer tobacco product waste that is collected;
B. Establish and provide for the implementation of goals to reduce the generation of post-consumer tobacco product waste;
C. Outline the responsibility for negotiating and executing contracts to collect, transport and process post-consumer tobacco product waste for end-of-product management
D. Describe how the end-of-product management of post-consumer tobacco product waste that is collected under the tobacco waste stewardship program will use environmentally sound management practices that are consistent with state laws and other relevant environmental rules and practices for ultimate disposal
E. Establish a timeline for carrying out an annual assessment of the effectiveness of actions taken under the tobacco waste stewardship program
F. Include an anticipated annual operating budget for the tobacco waste stewardship program; and
G. Identify an effective, convenient system for the collection of post-consumer tobacco product waste that ensures sufficient permanent collection sites and provides for collection events in geographically underserved areas

4. Establish a process for tobacco producers to amend their tobacco waste stewardship programs;

5. Require tobacco producers to submit annual reports, which must include the volume of post-consumer tobacco product waste collected, an independent financial audit, an evaluation of the tobacco waste stewardship program’s funding mechanism, an updated budget, samples of educational and outreach materials, documentation of compliance with collection requirements, a description of activities undertaken to achieve the program’s goals as provided for in the program plan and identification of proposed changes to the program;

6. Allow the state agency charged with overseeing tobacco waste stewardship programs to develop a pilot project for a tobacco waste stewardship program;

7. Require the state agency charged with overseeing tobacco waste stewardship programs to establish a schedule of fees;

8. Make financial cost, production or sales data and records confidential and establish a process for disclosure of aggregate information;

9. Require the state agency charged with overseeing tobacco waste stewardship programs to publish by municipality, city or county the total weight of post-consumer tobacco product waste collected; and

10. Establish civil penalties for violations.

Updated: January 30, 2019

LD 542: An Act To Allow a Person To Enter a Place of Public Accommodation Accompanied by a Medically Necessary Assistance Animal That Is a Dog

Category: General Business | Status: Pending

This bill requires a place of public accommodation to allow the use of a dog that is an assistance animal by an individual with a physical or mental disability.

Updated: January 30, 2019

LD 524: Resolve, Regarding the Promotion of Composting

Category: Environmental | Status: Pending

This resolve requires the Department of Environmental Protection and the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry to study the feasibility of establishing incentives or mandates to promote composting in the State. The departments are required to submit a joint report of their findings and recommendations, together with any necessary implementing legislation, to the Joint Standing Committee on Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry and the Joint Standing Committee on Environment and Natural Resources, which may submit legislation relating to the report to the Second Regular Session of the 129th Legislature.

Updated: January 30, 2019

LD 515: An Act To Require Ingredient Lists at Certain Retail Food Locations

Category: Food Production | Status: Pending

This bill requires a commercial food producer with a retail location to provide upon request a list of ingredients of each food and beverage item offered for sale at the retail location.

Updated: January 30, 2019

LD 508: Resolve, To Study the Protection of Youth and Young Adults from Addiction and Premature Death by Restricting Marketing of Tobacco Products

Category: Alcohol & Tobacco | Status: Pending

This resolve requires the Office of the Attorney General to research marketing practices by the tobacco industry and regulatory options for the State to employ to curb youth and young adult use of and addiction to tobacco products, including electronic nicotine delivery systems. The Office of the Attorney General is required to report its findings to the Joint Standing Committee on Health and Human Services by February 1, 2020, and the committee is required to submit a bill to the Second Regular Session of the 129th Legislature related to the report.

Updated: January 30, 2019

LD 507: An Act To Amend the Laws Governing Employer Recovery of Overcompensation Paid to an Employee

Category: General Business | Status: Pending

This bill amends the definition of “overcompensation” by an employer to include compensation in the form of paid leave. It changes the maximum amount an employer can withhold from an employee’s pay to recover overcompensation from 10% to 5%. It prohibits an employer from recovering more than the amount of overcompensation paid to an employee in the 3 years preceding the discovery of the overcompensation. The bill also specifies that the section of law regarding overcompensation by employers that includes these provisions does not limit or affect an employee’s general civil remedies against an employer.

Updated: January 30, 2019

LD 505: An Act To Require the Use of Reusable Food Ware at Eating Establishments

Category: Environmental | Status: Pending

This bill requires that a prepared food vendor may sell or provide prepared food to a customer for consumption on the vendor’s premises only if the prepared food is served to the customer using reusable food ware. The bill also requires that a prepared food vendor may sell or provide prepared food to a customer for consumption off the vendor’s premises using single-use disposable food ware only if the prepared food is served to the customer using single-use disposable food ware approved by the Department of Environmental Protection as recyclable or compostable.

The bill also requires that a prepared food vendor selling take-out food to a customer for consumption off the vendor’s premises must require payment by the customer of a fee, retained by the prepared food vendor, of 25¢ for certain items of single-use disposable food ware in which the customer’s take-out food is served or for each take-out meal served to the customer, whichever is less. The provisions of this bill also apply to a prepared food vendor or other food server providing or serving prepared food to customers at a state facility or state function.

This legislation takes effect January 1, 2021.

Updated: January 30, 2019

LD 463: An Act To Reduce Obesity Rates in Maine

Category: Miscellaneous | Status: Pending

This bill requires the Department of Health and Human Services, Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention to develop a comprehensive state plan relating to the reduction of unhealthy weight and obesity. The plan must include coordination of activities within the Department of Health and Human Services and among state departments, efforts to monitor rates of unhealthy weight and obesity, including a survey of food and drink consumption and physical exercise, and a media plan to reduce the consumption of sugary drinks. The department is required to submit the plan to the joint standing committee of the Legislature having jurisdiction over health and human services matters no later than January 1, 2020 and every 2 years thereafter. The bill also includes a position within the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, or contracted for by the department, as a coordinator of the state plan. The bill also appropriates funds to develop and implement the plan, to improve surveillance and epidemiology related to obesity and to fund one Obesity Care Coordinator position in the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Updated: January 29, 2019

LD 156: An Act To Allow Regional Service Center Municipalities To Assess an Additional One Percent Sales Tax for Infrastructure Costs

Category: Taxation | Status: Pending

This bill allows a municipality that is a service center community to impose a local option sales tax of no more than 1% by local referendum for the purpose of funding local infrastructure costs.

Updated: January 25, 2019

LD 454: An Act To Encourage the Purchase of Local Produce for Public Schools

Category: Food Production | Status: Pending

This bill provides funds to the Department of Education to administer the Local Produce Fund and to provide a $1 match for every $3 expended by a school administrative unit for produce or minimally processed foods purchased directly from a farmer, farmers’ cooperative or local food hub in this State.

Updated: January 25, 2019

LD 426: An Act To Increase the Beverage Container Redemption Reimbursement To Offset Minimum Wage Increases

Category: Beverage Containers | Status: Pending

This bill increases by 1/2¢ per returned container the handling costs to be reimbursed to the dealer or local redemption center for the cost of handling beverage containers beginning March 1, 2020.

Updated: January 25, 2019

LD 425: An Act To Strengthen Small Businesses in Rural Maine by Changing the Minimum Wage

Category: General Business | Status: Pending

This bill sets the minimum wage at $10.00 per hour and removes the provision that requires the minimum wage to be increased annually by the increase, if any, in the cost of living.

Updated: January 25, 2019

LD 421: Resolve, To Amend the State Plan Regarding the Processing of Vouchers under the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children by Farmers' Markets

Category: SNAP & WIC | Status: Pending

This resolve directs the Department of Health and Human Services to amend its state plan to authorize farmers’ markets to redeem coupons from the federal Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children.

Updated: January 25, 2019

LD 402: An Act To Restore Overtime Protections for Maine Workers

Category: General Business | Status: Pending

This bill annually raises the minimum salary that an employee who works in an executive, administrative or professional capacity must earn in order for that employee to be exempt from the laws governing the minimum wage and overtime pay until it is $55,224 on January 1, 2022. The bill provides for an annual adjustment, beginning January 1, 2023, based on the percentage annual increase in certain earnings as published by the United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Updated: January 25, 2019

LD 400: An Act To Authorize a General Fund Bond Issue for Food Processing Infrastructure in Targeted Areas of the State

Category: Food Production | Status: Pending

The funds provided by this bond issue, in the amount of $20,000,000, will be used for food processing infrastructure in targeted areas of the State.

Updated: January 25, 2019

LD 378 : An Act To Amend Maine's Bottle Deposit Law

Category: Beverage Containers | Status: Pending

This bill is a concept draft pursuant to Joint Rule 208.

This bill proposes to make changes designed to improve the State’s laws governing deposits on beverage containers.

Updated: January 23, 2019

LD 377: An Act To Protect Small Redemption Centers

Category: Beverage Containers | Status: Pending

This bill:

1. Increases, beginning June 1, 2019, by one cent per returned container the handling costs to be reimbursed to the dealer or local redemption center for the cost of handling beverage containers;

2. Repeals the provision that authorizes the reduced handling fee for small brewers and water bottlers; and

3. Requires the Commissioner of Environmental Protection, beginning in September 2021, and every 2 years thereafter, to convene a panel to review the adequacy of the reimbursement amount for beverage container handling costs and make any necessary recommendations regarding the reimbursement.

(Emergency)

Updated: January 23, 2019

LD 369: An Act To Support Healthy Workplaces and Healthy Families by Providing Earned Paid Sick Leave to Certain Employees

Category: General Business | Status: Pending

This bill creates a right to earned paid sick leave for employees who are employed by an employer that employs more than 5 employees. The bill also creates a right to earned unpaid sick leave for employees of an employer that employs 5 or fewer employees. This bill takes effect January 1, 2021.

Updated: January 23, 2019

LD 365: An Act To Allow Flexible Business Hours for Certain Agency Liquor Stores

Category: Alcohol & Tobacco | Status: Pending

This bill allows an agency liquor store flexibility in setting seasonal hours if the agency liquor store is subject to a substantial seasonal variation in business or retail customers based upon tourism or other factors.

Updated: January 23, 2019

LD 360: An Act To Increase the Reimbursement to Bottle Redemption Centers

Category: Beverage Containers | Status: Pending

This bill increases the reimbursement to the dealer or local redemption center for the cost of handling beverage containers by one cent beginning May 1, 2019 and by an additional one cent beginning January 1, 2020. (Emergency)

Updated: January 23, 2019

LD 351: An Act To Ensure Accuracy in the Labeling of Maine Meat and Poultry

Category: Food Production | Status: Pending

This bill provides that:

1. Poultry and poultry products sold or offered for sale may not be labeled with a certified “Maine” trademark or labeled or advertised as “Maine-raised” or by a similar designation unless the poultry was raised solely in the State from no later than the 7th day after hatching; and

2. Meat and meat products sold or offered for sale may not be labeled with a certified “Maine” trademark or labeled or advertised as “Maine-raised” or by a similar designation unless the animal was born in the State and raised solely in the State.

The bill also requires the Commissioner of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, under the Maine Revised Statutes, Title 22, chapter 562-A relating to preparation of livestock and poultry products for human consumption, to enforce the prohibition on labeling or advertising poultry, poultry products, meat and meat products sold or offered for sale as “Maine-raised” unless the requirements in this bill are met.

Updated: January 23, 2019

LD 343: An Act To Promote Equity in Business Opportunity for Tobacco Specialty Stores

Category: Alcohol & Tobacco | Status: Pending

This bill allows a tobacco specialty store to be licensed as a cigar lounge, which may serve nonalcoholic and alcoholic beverages. A cigar lounge may not sell cigarettes or prepare food on premises for sale. A tobacco specialty store that is a cigar lounge must provide notice about the dangers of environmental tobacco smoke to applicants for employment and employees. The cigar lounge license fee is $100 per year.

Updated: January 23, 2019

LD 338: An Act To Allow Flexibility in the Deposit Labeling of Metal Returnable Beverage Containers

Category: Beverage Containers | Status: Pending

Current law requires that returnable metal beverage containers be labeled with the refund value and the word “Maine” or “ME” embossed or stamped on the tops of the containers. This bill allows that information to appear anywhere except on the bottom of the container.

Updated: January 23, 2019

LD 60: An Act To Require the Disclosure of the Names of Members of a Limited Liability Company

Category: General Business | Status: Defeated

Jan 23, 2019 Reported Out LTW

This bill requires the disclosure of the name of each member of a limited liability company formed in Maine to be included in the company’s certificate of formation and the name of each member to be included in the company’s annual report to the Secretary of State. The bill also requires the disclosure of the name of each member of a foreign limited liability company in the company’s statement of foreign qualifications to conduct activities. The bill also requires that if any member of a limited liability company or foreign limited liability company is an organization, the names of each person who forms that organization’s governing body be listed.

Updated: January 23, 2019

LD 305: An Act To Protect Job Applicants from Identity Theft

Category: General Business | Status: Pending

This bill prohibits the request of a social security number from a prospective employee by an employer on an employment application or during the application process. Under this bill, an employer may still request a social security number from a prospective employee for purposes of a substance abuse test or preemployment background check, and an employer is not prohibited from asking for a social security number from an individual for any reason after the individual has been hired.

Updated: January 18, 2019

LD 292: An Act To Feed Maine's Residents by Allowing Dairy Dealers and Producers in the State To Donate Fresh Milk to Food Banks in the State

Category: Milk & Milk Products | Status: Pending

This bill exempts from the Maine Milk Commission’s minimum price requirements donations of fresh milk by a dealer or producer-dealer to an incorporated nonprofit organization established for the purpose of reducing hunger and increasing food security.

Updated: January 18, 2019

LD 289: An Act To Prohibit the Use of Certain Disposable Food Service Containers

Category: Environmental | Status: Pending

Beginning January 1, 2020, this bill prohibits the sale or distribution in the State of disposable food service containers composed in whole or in part of polystyrene foam. The bill requires the Department of Environmental Protection to adopt rules to implement these statutory provisions.

Updated: January 18, 2019

LD 286: An Act To Provide a Sales Tax Exemption for Feminine Hygiene Products

Category: Taxation | Status: Pending

This bill provides a sales tax exemption on the purchase of feminine hygiene products.

Updated: January 18, 2019

LD 278: An Act Regarding Pay Equality

Category: General Business | Status: Pending

This bill amends the Maine Human Rights Act to provide that evidence of discrimination with respect to compensation includes an employer seeking information about a prospective employee’s prior wage history before an offer of employment, including all compensation, to the prospective employee has been made. It provides that this discrimination is also evidenced by an employer requiring that a prospective employee’s prior compensation history meet certain criteria. The bill broadens a provision in the current equal pay law to prohibit an employer from preventing employees from discussing or disclosing other employees’ wages and makes the practice a violation of the Maine Human Rights Act as well.

Updated: January 18, 2019

LD 254: An Act To Clarify Liquor Label Approval and Registration Requirements

Category: Beverage Containers | Status: Pending

This bill requires that all malt liquor, wine and low-alcohol spirits products imported to, exported from or sold in Maine bear a label approved by the United States Department of the Treasury, Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau unless the malt liquor, wine or low-alcohol spirits products are manufactured in Maine and are not shipped, distributed or sold in interstate commerce.

The bill also requires manufacturers to register the labels of all malt liquor, wine and low-alcohol spirits products sold in the State with the Department of Administrative and Financial Services, Bureau of Alcoholic Beverages and Lottery Operations unless the malt liquor, wine or low-alcohol spirits products are sold by a Maine manufacturer directly to consumers for on-premises consumption or in a keg to a Maine retailer licensed to sell liquor for on-premises consumption. The Bureau of Alcoholic Beverages and Lottery Operations is required to adopt rules establishing requirements for label registration that are consistent with the regulations promulgated by the United States Department of the Treasury, Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau pursuant to the Federal Alcohol Administration Act, 27 United States Code, Section 205(e).

Updated: January 18, 2019

LD 248: An Act To Increase the Handling Fee for Beverage Containers Reimbursed to Redemption Centers

Category: Beverage Containers | Status: Pending

This bill increases by 2¢ per returned container the reimbursement to the dealer or local redemption center for the cost of handling beverage containers beginning March 1, 2020.

Updated: January 18, 2019

LD 122: An Act To Prohibit an Employer from Asking a Prospective Hire about the Person's Compensation History until after a Job Offer Is Made

Category: General Business | Status: Pending

 

This bill prohibits an employer from inquiring about a prospective employee’s compensation history until after an offer of employment that includes all terms of compensation has been negotiated and made to the prospective employee. The bill also prohibits an employer from requiring that a prospective employee’s compensation history meet certain criteria. An employer that violates this provision is subject to a fine of not less than $100 and not more than $500 per violation and is also subject to a civil action that may be brought by or on behalf of an affected prospective employee by the Department of Labor or the affected employee.

 

Updated: January 17, 2019

LD 104: An Act To Expand the Earned Income Tax Credit in Maine

Category: Taxation | Status: Pending

This bill expands the earned income tax credit by increasing the credit from 5% to 15% of the federal earned income tax credit and extending the credit to persons from 18 to 24 years of age who have no qualifying child.

This bill also requires the Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Standards to provide a poster or notice to employers that states that employees may be eligible for the earned income tax credit. This bill requires employers to post the poster or notice in a place that is accessible to the employers’ employees.

Updated: January 17, 2019

LD 102: An Act To Improve the Manufacturing of Plastic Bottles and Bottle Caps

Category: Beverage Containers | Status: Carry Over

Mar 6, 2019 Carry Over Requested CARRY OVER

This bill prohibits, beginning January 1, 2020, a manufacturer from selling, offering for sale or distributing for sale in the State a single-use plastic beverage container unless the container is composed of at least 15% postconsumer recycled plastic. Beginning January 1, 2022, this threshold for the percentage of postconsumer recycled plastic in single-use plastic beverage containers increases to 20% and, beginning January 1, 2024, the threshold increases to 25%.

The bill also prohibits, beginning January 1, 2020, a manufacturer from selling, offering for sale or distributing for sale in the State a single-use plastic beverage container with a plastic beverage cap unless the cap is composed of the same plastic as the beverage container and the cap is tethered to the container in a manner that prevents the separation of the cap from the container when the cap is removed or the cap includes an opening from which the beverage can be consumed while the cap remains screwed onto or otherwise affixed to the container.

Updated: March 6, 2019

LD 93: An Act To Amend the Laws Governing Bottle Redemption To Counterbalance for Redemption Centers the Increase in Minimum Wage

Category: Beverage Containers | Status: Pending

This bill increases by 1¢ per returned container the handling costs to be reimbursed to the dealer or local redemption center for the cost of handling beverage containers beginning March 1, 2020.

Updated: January 11, 2019

LD 88: An Act To Require the Truthful Display of Gasoline Prices

Category: General Business | Status: Pending

This bill requires posted gasoline prices on pumps or on roadside signs of a retail seller to be the full price of the fuel and prohibits posting a price reduced due to factors such as method of payment, participation in a rewards program or a discount for the purchase of other goods or services from the retail seller.

Updated: January 11, 2019

LD 87: An Act To Increase the Bottle Redemption Deposit

Category: Beverage Containers | Status: Pending

This bill increases to 25¢ the deposit and refund value on refillable and nonrefillable beverage containers whose deposit and refund value is currently 5¢. This increase does not apply to wine and spirits containers.

Updated: January 11, 2019

LD 86: An Act To Provide That Persons Who Produce Maple Syrup and Honey Commercially Are Eligible for the Sales Tax Refund and Exemption for Commercial Agricultural Production

Category: Food Production | Status: Pending

This bill expands the sales tax refund and exemption for commercial agricultural production to include the commercial production of maple syrup and honey. (Emergency)

Updated: January 11, 2019

LD 75: An Act To Protect Earned Pay

Category: General Business | Status: Pending

Under current law, a person who receives or is scheduled to receive remuneration in the form of vacation pay in excess of 4 weeks’ wages or holiday pay is disqualified from receiving unemployment benefits for the week that remuneration is due. This bill removes those disqualifications.

Updated: January 11, 2019

LD 69: An Act To Provide Economic Security to Maine Families through the Creation of a Paid Family Medical Leave System

Category: General Business | Status: Pending

This bill creates a paid family medical leave program, patterned after the unpaid family medical leave program existing in current law but requiring a contribution from an eligible employee, or a self-employed person on a voluntary basis, of no more than 0.5% of the employee’s or self-employed person’s wages or earnings. The program requires employers to deduct the contributions from employee paychecks and requires the employers and self-employed persons to submit contributions to the Department of Labor, Bureau of Unemployment Compensation, which is charged with administering the program. The program pays benefits of up to 66% of an employee’s wages or self-employed person’s earnings, capped at the same maximum amount as unemployment benefits for leave taken by the employee or self-employed person for various family-related medical issues. The bill makes participation optional for employers that employ fewer than 15 employees. The bill also directs the Department of Labor to develop an implementation plan dealing with staffing, technology, start-up expenses, rulemaking and scheduling to begin the program on its effective date of October 1, 2020.

Updated: January 11, 2019

LD 65: An Act To Allow Municipalities To Impose a Seasonal or Year-round Local Option Sales Tax

Category: Taxation | Status: Pending

This bill allows a municipality to impose a local option sales tax, which may be seasonal, if approved by referendum of the voters in that municipality. The referendum question must identify the rate of the local option sales tax, specify the months during which it will be imposed if not year-round and identify the purposes for which the revenue will be used. The local option sales tax would be collected and administered by the State in the same manner as the sales and use tax. Revenue from the local option sales tax is distributed to the municipality imposing the local option sales tax. Revenue received by a municipality may not be used to reduce or eliminate funding otherwise due the municipality under other provisions of law.

Updated: January 11, 2019

LD 61: An Act To Improve the Maine Bottle Redemption Process

Category: Beverage Containers | Status: Pending

This bill is a concept draft pursuant to Joint Rule 208.

This bill proposes to simplify and improve the efficiency of the bottle redemption process.

Updated: January 11, 2019

LD 50: An Act To Implement the Recommendations of the Government Oversight Committee To Improve the Development of a Long-range Strategic Plan for Economic Improvement in the State

Category: General Business | Status: Pending

This bill provides additional clarity, requirements and resources for the Maine Economic Growth Council’s efforts to fulfill its current statutory mandate to develop, monitor and maintain a long-range strategic economic improvement plan for the State. It also includes provisions to support the State’s achievement of the goals and objectives in that plan by establishing requirements for the Governor, Legislature and agencies with relevant programs and activities to consider the long-range strategic economic improvement plan and provide information to the Maine Economic Growth Council at the request of the council.

Updated: January 11, 2019

LD 15: An Act To Provide for Municipalities To Allow Grocery Stores up to 10,000 Square Feet To Open on Thanksgiving, Easter and Christmas

Category: General Business | Status: Pending

This bill allows a municipality by ordinance to allow grocery stores with no more than 10,000 square feet of interior customer selling space to be open on Easter Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day. (Emergency)

Updated: January 9, 2019