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 started on Wed. December 5, 2018 and adjourned early morning on June 20th, 2019.

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

*Please note: Bill summaries were added as bills were released during the legislative process. Reference the bill's chaptered law via the hyperlink to read the passed legislation specifics.

LD 756: An Act To Improve the Maine Workers' Compensation Act of 1992

Category: General Business | Status: Passed

This amendment replaces the bill, which is a concept draft.

The amendment does the following.

It amends the definition of “average weekly wages, earnings or salary” to clarify that, for an injury occurring on or after January 1, 2020, any fringe or other benefit paid by the employer that does not continue during the disability must be included to the extent that the inclusion of the fringe or other benefit will not result in a weekly benefit amount that is greater than 2/3 of 125% of the state average weekly wage at the time of the injury.

It requires that the Workers’ Compensation Board must vote with the support of 5 of the 7 members of the board to contract for the services of or to employ administrative law judges beginning January 1, 2020, except for the reappointment of administrative law judges appointed prior to January 1, 2020.

It allows an exception to the requirement that the first payment must be made by an employer within 14 days after notice of the injury or death if the payment cannot be made due to a factual mistake, an act of God or unavoidable circumstances.

It increases the maximum benefit level to 125% of the state average weekly wage for an injury occurring on or after January 1, 2020.

It requires a cost-of-living adjustment to be applied in cases of total incapacity after 260 weeks of benefits.

It extends the cap of benefits for partial incapacity from 520 weeks to 624 weeks.

It eliminates the provision relating to the extension of benefits for partial incapacity if the whole person impairment resulting from the injury is in excess of 18% for an injury occurring after January 1, 2020.

It clarifies how payments for paid time off are coordinated with workers’ compensation benefits.

It provides that, if a deceased employee has no dependents, the employer must pay benefits to the parents of the deceased employee for a period of 500 weeks.

It extends the notice of injury requirement from 30 days to 60 days.

It caps the maximum percentage of attorney’s fees that may be awarded at 10% in a lump-sum settlement in cases in which the injury occurred on or after January 1, 2020.

It authorizes the Workers’ Compensation Board to consider adopting a rule to establish time frames for the filing of any petition related to a controversy with the board if a full agreement is not reached by the parties after conclusion of any mediation pursuant to the Maine Revised Statutes, Title 39-A, section 313.

It requires the Workers’ Compensation Board to study the advocate program established pursuant to the Maine Revised Statutes, Title 39-A, section 153-A, including the salary paid to advocates, and make recommendations for any changes to improve the advocate program and its representation of injured workers to the Joint Standing Committee on Labor and Housing no later than January 1, 2020.

It directs the Workers’ Compensation Board to convene a working group of stakeholders to evaluate issues related to work search and vocational rehabilitation requirements for injured workers and protections for injured workers whose employers have wrongfully not secured workers’ compensation payments. On behalf of the working group, the Workers’ Compensation Board is required to report to the Joint Standing Committee on Labor and Housing by January 30, 2020 with recommendations and any draft implementing legislation to address these issues.

Updated: July 12, 2019

LD 1826: An Act To Update the Laws Relating to Liquor Licensing and Enforcement

Category: Alcohol & Tobacco | Status: Passed

This bill amends the laws governing alcoholic beverages to change references to “distilled spirits” to “spirits” and “alcoholic beverages” to “liquor” to be consistent with defined terms. The bill also changes references to “list price” to “retail price” to reflect the fact that the Department of Administrative and Financial Services, Bureau of Alcoholic Beverages and Lottery Operations is authorized to discount list prices set by the State Liquor and Lottery Commission, changes references to “list price” to “wholesale price” in the provisions regarding the sale price of spirits sold by a reselling agent to an establishment licensed for on-premises consumption and clarifies the use of “retail price” and “discount retail price.” The bill removes outdated language regarding the control of the spirits business by the bureau and the sale of fortified wines, corrects a reference to “agent” to read “sales representative” and corrects a reference regarding the issuance of licenses to manufacturers, bottlers and rectifiers to clarify that the bureau and not the commission issues those licenses.

The bill clarifies that the bureau does not consider a violation of the laws governing liquor to have occurred unless the violation has been adjudicated by the District Court and requires that the bureau consider a violation of the bureau’s rules as a disqualification for receiving a license.

The bill authorizes the bureau to offer instant redeemable coupons to consumers in addition to suppliers and manufacturers of spirits through the bureau’s publicly accessible website and other digital media platforms. It removes the authorization of the availability of instant redeemable coupons to reselling agents for the benefit of on-premises licensees. The bill increases the number of allowable signs used by retail licensees from 2 to 5 and requires that agency liquor store licensees designate 2 of the 5 signs to advertise that the retail location is an agency liquor store.

The bill repeals the laws governing the purchasing of spirits samples and the payment of taxes on those samples. It enacts new language regarding access by sales representatives to samples of spirits products of the supplier represented by the sales representative. The product must be taken from the supplier’s bailment inventory housed at the warehouse managed by the State’s wholesale liquor provider. The bill also authorizes spirits manufacturers and suppliers to donate spirits to on-premises events in a similar manner as certificate of approval holders and wholesalers.

Updated: July 12, 2019

LD 1798: An Act To Amend the Maine Tax Laws

Category: Taxation | Status: Passed

This bill makes the following changes to the tax laws.

* This bill attempts to make a variety of tax changes please click the link for more information.

Updated: July 12, 2019

LD 1772: An Act To Secure Transitions to Economic Prosperity for Maine Families and Children

Category: SNAP & WIC | Status: Passed

This bill:

1. Increases the income amounts that are disregarded when calculating benefits from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program, or TANF program, for recipients who have earnings from employment. It also replaces for a limited period food assistance lost as a result of increased earnings from employment and the increased income amounts that are disregarded;

2. Increases the transitional food benefits available under the TANF program from $50 per month per family to $100 per month per family;

3. Establishes a whole family economic security initiative as part of the TANF program to increase the economic security of the entire family; and

4. Requires the Department of Health and Human Services to count the participation of a participant in the ASPIRE-TANF program in basic skills education, which includes programs to assist individuals in obtaining a high school equivalency diploma, toward the first 20 hours of the participant’s weekly work participation requirements.

Updated: July 12, 2019

LD 1761: An Act To Assist Small Beer Manufacturers and Small Hard Cider Manufacturers

Category: Alcohol & Tobacco | Status: Passed

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: July 12, 2019

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

Category: Food Production | Status: Passed

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: July 12, 2019

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

Category: Food Production | Status: Defeated

Indefinitely Postponed, May 23, 2019

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: July 12, 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: Passed

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: July 12, 2019

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

Category: Labor | Status: Carry Over

Held by the Governor.

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: July 12, 2019

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

Category: Labor | Status: Passed

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: July 12, 2019

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

Category: Labor | Status: Passed

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: July 12, 2019

LD 1693: An Act To Enhance Enforcement of Employment Laws

Category: Labor | Status: Carry Over

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: July 12, 2019

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

Category: Food Production | Status: Carry Over

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: July 12, 2019

LD 1654: An Act To Create Veteran-friendly Workplaces

Category: Labor | Status: Passed

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: July 12, 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: Passed

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: July 12, 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: Passed

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: July 12, 2019

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

Category: General Business | Status: Carry Over

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: July 12, 2019

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

Category: Environmental | Status: Carry Over

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: June 12, 2019

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

Category: Food Production | Status: Passed

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: July 12, 2019

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

Category: Environmental | Status: Passed

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: July 12, 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: Carry Over

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: July 12, 2019

LD 1529: An Act Concerning Nondisclosure Agreements in Employment

Category: Labor | Status: Carry Over

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: July 12, 2019

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

Category: Labor | Status: Passed

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: July 12, 2019

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

Category: Labor | Status: Defeated

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: July 12, 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: Defeated

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: July 12, 2019

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

Category: Alcohol & Tobacco | Status: Passed

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: July 12, 2019

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

Category: Environmental | Status: Defeated

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: July 12, 2019

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

Category: General Business | Status: Passed

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: July 12, 2019

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

Category: Environmental | Status: Passed

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: July 12, 2019

LD 1431: Resolve, To Support Municipal Recycling Programs

Category: Environmental | Status: Passed

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: July 12, 2019

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

Category: Labor | Status: Carry Over

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: July 12, 2019

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

Category: Alcohol & Tobacco | Status: Defeated

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: July 12, 2019

LD 1345: An Act To Ensure a Fair Workweek

Category: Labor | Status: Defeated

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: July 12, 2019

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

Category: General Business | Status: Passed

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: July 12, 2019

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

Category: Marijuana | Status: Defeated

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: July 12, 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: Carry Over

Held by the Governor.

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: July 12, 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: Defeated

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

Updated: July 12, 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: Defeated

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: July 12, 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: Carry Over

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: July 12, 2019

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

Category: General Business | Status: Defeated

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: July 12, 2019

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

Category: Food Production | Status: Defeated

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: July 12, 2019

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

Category: Labor | Status: Carry Over

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: July 12, 2019

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

Category: SNAP & WIC | Status: Passed

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: July 12, 2019

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

Category: General Business | Status: Defeated

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: July 12, 2019

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

Category: General Business | Status: Defeated

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: July 12, 2019

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

Category: Taxation | Status: Carry Over

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: July 12, 2019

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

Category: Alcohol & Tobacco | Status: Passed

This amendment replaces the bill. It provides that it is a Class D crime for a person who is 21 years of age or older to procure, furnish, give, sell or deliver a tobacco product to a minor or allow a minor under that person’s control or in a place under that person’s control to possess or consume a tobacco product. This provision does not apply to a licensee under the Maine Revised Statutes, Title 22, chapter 262-A or an agent of that licensee in the scope of employment. Current law provides that a person is guilty of endangering the welfare of a child if the person knowingly sells, furnishes, gives away or offers to sell, furnish or give away cigarettes to a child under 16 years of age. This amendment instead makes the same conduct illegal with respect to a tobacco product.

Updated: July 12, 2019

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

Category: General Business | Status: Carry Over

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: July 12, 2019

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

Category: Food Production | Status: Carry Over

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: July 12, 2019

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

Category: Food Production | Status: Passed

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: July 12, 2019

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

Category: General Business | Status: Carry Over

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: July 12, 2019

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

Category: SNAP & WIC | Status: Defeated

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: July 12, 2019

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

Category: Beverage Containers | Status: Defeated

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: July 12, 2019

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

Category: Taxation | Status: Defeated

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: July 12, 2019

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

Category: Labor | Status: Defeated

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: July 12, 2019

LD 1087: An Act To Keep Maine Businesses Competitive

Category: General Business | Status: Defeated

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

This bill proposes to keep Maine businesses competitive.

Updated: July 12, 2019

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

Category: Alcohol & Tobacco | Status: Passed

This amendment replaces the bill. The amendment restructures for clarity current law limiting the number of agency liquor stores. Substantively, the amendment allows the Department of Administrative and Financial Services, Bureau of Alcoholic Beverages and Lottery Operations to:

1. 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; and

2. License up to 7 agency liquor stores in a municipality with a population over 15,000 but less than 20,001 and 6 agency liquor stores in a municipality with a population over 10,000 but less than 15,001. Currently, 5 agency liquor stores are allowed in a municipality with a population over 10,000 but less than 20,001.

Updated: July 12, 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: Defeated

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: July 12, 2019

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

Category: Alcohol & Tobacco | Status: Defeated

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: July 12, 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: Defeated

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: July 12, 2019

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

Category: Beverage Containers | Status: Defeated

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: July 12, 2019

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

Category: General Business | Status: Carry Over

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: July 12, 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: Passed

This amendment strikes the bill and instead increases the tax on tobacco products, other than cigarettes, to 43% of the wholesale sales price, beginning January 2, 2020, and includes electronic smoking devices and liquids used in electronic smoking devices in the definition of “tobacco products.” The amendment provides that, if the tax on cigarettes is increased after January 2, 2020, the tax on smokeless tobacco and other tobacco products will be adjusted by a rate that is equivalent to the percentage change in the tax rate for one cigarette.

The amendment provides ongoing funding of $5,100,000 in each year of the biennium 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 in fiscal year 2020-21 for tobacco use cessation medications and counseling for MaineCare members.

This amendment reduces appropriations for tobacco use prevention and cessation and adds provisions increasing reimbursement for certain services under the MaineCare program, providing an income tax deduction for student loan payments made by a taxpayer’s employer directly to a lender on behalf of a qualified health care employee and transferring Other Special Revenue Funds in the Department of Health and Human Services to the unappropriated surplus of the General Fund.

Updated: July 12, 2019

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

Category: Alcohol & Tobacco | Status: Defeated

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: July 12, 2019

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

Category: Environmental | Status: Passed

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: July 12, 2019

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

Category: General Business | Status: Passed

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: July 12, 2019

LD 942: An Act To Require Reimbursement for Medical Marijuana

Category: General Business | Status: Defeated

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: July 12, 2019

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

Category: General Business | Status: Defeated

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: July 12, 2019

LD 1015: An Act To Support Maine Craft Distillers

Category: Alcohol & Tobacco | Status: Passed

This amendment strikes and replaces the bill and adds an emergency preamble and emergency clause. The amendment provides that the Department of Administrative and Financial Services, Bureau of Alcoholic Beverages and Lottery Operations is required to set the price of spirits produced by a licensed Maine small distillery and retained by that small distillery for sale directly to customers at a discount of 22.75% off the list price. This discount rate is greater than the discount that an agency liquor store is given off of the list price when it purchases spirits produced by a small distillery because, unlike spirits purchased by an agency liquor store, the spirits retained by the small distillery are not transported to a warehouse operated by the bureau or by a wholesaler contracted by the bureau and then distributed by that wholesaler to another location.

Updated: July 12, 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: Passed

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: July 12, 2019

LD 971: Resolve, To Establish a Specialty Crops Certification Cost-share Pilot Program

Category: Food Production | Status: Passed

This amendment strikes and replaces the bill with a resolve and adds an emergency preamble and emergency clause. The amendment directs the Commissioner of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry to establish a specialty crops certification cost-share pilot program in the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry and authorizes the department to reimburse qualified farms 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 amendment provides that reimbursement of funds under the program is for initial one-time payment and may not be more than $500 per qualified farm. The amendment also directs the commissioner to monitor the 4-year pilot program and to report back to the joint standing committee having jurisdiction over agricultural matters no later than December 15, 2023 with findings and recommendations.

Updated: July 12, 2019

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

Category: Taxation | Status: Defeated

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

Updated: July 12, 2019

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

Category: General Business | Status: Defeated

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: July 12, 2019

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

Category: Environmental | Status: Defeated

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: July 12, 2019

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

Category: SNAP & WIC | Status: Carry Over

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: July 12, 2019

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

Category: Food Production | Status: Defeated

 

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: July 12, 2019

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

Category: General Business | Status: Carry Over

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: July 12, 2019

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

Category: General Business | Status: Defeated

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: July 12, 2019

LD 857: An Act To Increase Accountability for Wage Violations

Category: General Business | Status: Carry Over

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: July 12, 2019

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

Category: General Business | Status: Passed

This amendment strikes the bill and instead provides that after January 1, 2020, new construction of public buildings must include single-occupancy toilet facilities that meet the accessibility requirements established in the Maine Human Rights Act, if the new construction has a maximum occupant capacity exceeding 100 individuals. For example, after January 1, 2020, a restaurant that seats at least 101 individuals is subject to the single-occupancy toilet facilities requirement.

Updated: July 12, 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: Defeated

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: July 12, 2019

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

Category: Food Production | Status: Defeated

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: July 12, 2019

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

Category: General Business | Status: Defeated

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: July 12, 2019

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

Category: Taxation | Status: Carry Over

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: July 12, 2019

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

Category: Alcohol & Tobacco | Status: Passed

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.

This amendment permits retailers licensed for on-premises consumption of malt liquor to purchase malt liquor from retailers licensed for the sale of malt liquor to be consumed off the licensed premises only during weekend hours and only 2 times annually. If an on-premises retailer purchases malt liquor from an off-premises retailer, the on-premises retailer must immediately notify both the Department of Administrative and Financial Services, Bureau of Alcoholic Beverages and Lottery Operations and the retailer’s malt liquor wholesaler of the purchase. The on-premises retailer may not purchase more than 10 gallons of malt liquor in a single weekend and must purchase the malt liquor from an off-premises retailer located within the same malt liquor wholesaler’s sales territory.

Updated: July 12, 2019

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

Category: General Business | Status: Defeated

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: July 12, 2019

LD 808: An Act To Create a Youth Wage

Category: Labor | Status: Defeated

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: July 12, 2019

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

Category: Alcohol & Tobacco | Status: Passed

This amendment strikes and replaces the bill, which is a concept draft. This amendment combines, clarifies and removes several inconsistencies in the laws governing the retail sale and taste testing of Maine-manufactured liquor at farmers’ markets.

As in current law, under the amendment a licensed Maine small brewery, small winery or small distillery may conduct retail sales or taste-testing events at a farmers’ market subject to the applicable bylaws of the farmers’ market. The amendment clarifies that approval from the Department of Administrative and Financial Services, Bureau of Alcoholic Beverages and Lottery Operations and the municipality where the farmers’ market will be held is required for both retail sales and taste-testing events. The amendment removes the provision of current law that limits to 2 the number of taste-testing events that may be held by a licensee at a farmers’ market each month.

The amendment eliminates the provisions of current law that allow a Maine brewery, winery or distillery that produces more than 50,000 gallons per year, which is not authorized under current law to sell its products at a farmers’ market, to conduct taste-testing events at a farmers’ market.

The amendment also allows a licensed Maine brewery, small brewery, winery, small winery, distillery or small distillery that participates in a taste-testing event under the Maine Revised Statutes, Title 28-A, section 1052-D to conduct retail sales of malt liquor, wine or spirits produced by that manufacturer during the taste-testing event.

Updated: July 12, 2019

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

Category: Food Production | Status: Defeated

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

Updated: July 12, 2019

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

Category: Food Production | Status: Carry Over

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: July 12, 2019

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

Category: Food Production | Status: Passed

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: July 12, 2019

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

Category: Labor | Status: Passed

This amendment strikes the bill, which is a concept draft, and replaces it with an amendment to the labor relations laws governing municipal public employees. When employees in a collective bargaining unit file a request with their public employer to be represented by a certain organization as their collective bargaining agent, current law allows the public employer to request an election from the Maine Labor Relations Board in order to determine whether the organization indeed represents a majority of the members in the collective bargaining unit. Instead, this amendment would require an election only in such cases if, after examining the demonstration of majority support, the Maine Labor Relations Board finds majority support for the organization to be in question.

Updated: July 12, 2019

LD 733: An Act To Promote Keeping Workers in Maine

Category: General Business | Status: Passed

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: July 12, 2019

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

Category: SNAP & WIC | Status: Defeated

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: July 12, 2019

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

Category: General Business | Status: Defeated

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: July 12, 2019

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

Category: Alcohol & Tobacco | Status: Passed

This amendment adds an emergency preamble and emergency clause and authorizes agency liquor stores and off-premises retail licensees to conduct up to 15 taste-testing events per month of spirits, wine and malt liquor. The amendment allows, but does not require, agency liquor stores and off-premises retail licensees to submit a single request to the Department of Administrative and Financial Services, Bureau of Alcoholic Beverages and Lottery Operations listing all of the taste-testing events the agency liquor store or off-premises retail licensee plans to conduct in a single calendar month. The amendment also allows agency liquor stores and off-premises retail licensees to conduct taste testing of spirits, wine and malt liquor at the same taste-testing event, as long as the agency liquor store or off-premises retail licensee is licensed to sell the types of liquor being offered at the event.

Updated: July 12, 2019

LD 731: To Amend the Maine Tax Laws

Category: Taxation | Status: Carry Over

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

This bill proposes to amend the Maine tax laws.

Updated: July 12, 2019

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

Category: General Business | Status: Defeated

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: July 12, 2019

LD 702: An Act Regarding the Pricing of Spirits

Category: Alcohol & Tobacco | Status: Defeated

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: July 12, 2019

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

Category: General Business | Status: Defeated

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: July 12, 2019

LD 666: An Act To Protect Pregnant Workers

Category: General Business | Status: Passed

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.

This amendment clarifies the definition of “pregnancy-related condition” to provide that the limitation on the pregnant employee’s ability to perform the functions of a job due to pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions, including lactation, must be known. The amendment revises the description of unlawful employment discrimination to apply to an employer’s failure to provide a reasonable accommodation after it has been requested. An exception to the reasonable accommodation requirement is based on the employer’s demonstration that the accommodation would impose an undue hardship on the operation of the business of the employer. The amendment provides examples of reasonable accommodations

Updated: July 12, 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: Passed

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: July 12, 2019

LD 567: An Act To Create a Universal Basic Income

Category: General Business | Status: Defeated

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: July 12, 2019

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

Category: Environmental | Status: Defeated

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: July 12, 2019

LD 612: An Act To Promote Youth Employment

Category: General Business | Status: Defeated

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: July 12, 2019

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

Category: General Business | Status: Defeated

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: July 12, 2019

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

Category: Beverage Containers | Status: Defeated

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: July 12, 2019

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

Category: Beverage Containers | Status: Defeated

 

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: July 12, 2019

LD 551: An Act To Ban Nicotine Liquid Containers

Category: Alcohol & Tobacco | Status: Defeated

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

Updated: July 12, 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: Defeated

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: July 12, 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: Carry Over

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: July 12, 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: Defeated

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: July 12, 2019

LD 524: Resolve, Regarding the Promotion of Composting

Category: Environmental | Status: Defeated

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: July 12, 2019

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

Category: Food Production | Status: Defeated

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: July 12, 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: Carry Over

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: July 12, 2019

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

Category: General Business | Status: Defeated

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: July 12, 2019

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

Category: Environmental | Status: Defeated

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: July 12, 2019

LD 463: An Act To Reduce Obesity Rates in Maine

Category: Miscellaneous | Status: Defeated

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: July 12, 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: Defeated

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: July 12, 2019

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

Category: Food Production | Status: Passed

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: July 12, 2019

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

Category: Beverage Containers | Status: Defeated

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: July 12, 2019

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

Category: General Business | Status: Defeated

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: July 12, 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: Defeated

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: July 12, 2019

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

Category: General Business | Status: Carry Over

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: July 12, 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: Carry Over

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: July 12, 2019

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

Category: Beverage Containers | Status: Defeated

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: July 12, 2019

LD 377: An Act To Protect Small Redemption Centers

Category: Beverage Containers | Status: Defeated

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: July 12, 2019

LD 369: An Act Authorizing Earned Employee Leave

Category: General Business | Status: Passed

This amendment, which is the majority report of the Joint Standing Committee on Labor and Housing, replaces the title and the bill. This amendment does the following:

1. It requires an employer, except in a seasonal industry, that employs more than 10 employees for more than 120 days in any calendar year to permit each employee to earn paid leave based on the employee’s base pay;

2. It specifies that an employee is entitled to earn one hour of paid leave from a single employer for every 40 hours worked, up to 40 hours in one year of employment, with accrual of leave beginning at the start of employment;

3. It requires an employee to work for 120 days before an employer is required to permit use of accrued earned paid leave;

4. It requires an employer to pay an employee taking earned leave at least the same base rate of pay that employee received immediately prior to taking earned leave and provide the same benefits as those provided under established policies of the employer pertaining to other types of paid leave;

5. It requires an employee, absent an emergency, illness or other sudden necessity for taking earned leave, to give reasonable notice to the employee’s supervisor of the employee’s intent to use leave;

6. It specifies that an employee taking earned leave maintains any employee benefits accrued before the date on which the leave commenced and the leave may not affect the employee’s right to health insurance benefits on the same terms and conditions as applicable to similarly situated employees;

7. It provides the Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Standards the exclusive authority to enforce the law and requires the Department of Labor to adopt routine technical rules to implement and enforce the law;

8. It allows for the imposition of penalties currently established in the Maine Revised Statutes, Title 26, section 53;

9. It preempts the authority of a municipality or other political subdivision to enact any ordinance or other rule purporting to have the force of law under its home rule or other authority regulating earned paid leave;

10. It requires the Department of Labor to adopt routine technical rules to implement and enforce provisions regarding earned paid leave;

11. It specifies that earned paid leave does not apply to an employee covered by a collective bargaining agreement during the period between January 1, 2021 and the expiration of the collective bargaining agreement; and

12. It requires the Department of Labor, beginning January 1, 2022 and annually thereafter, to report progress to the joint standing committee of the Legislature having jurisdiction over labor matters.

Updated: July 12, 2019

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

Category: Alcohol & Tobacco | Status: Passed

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: July 12, 2019

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

Category: Beverage Containers | Status: Defeated

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: July 12, 2019

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

Category: Food Production | Status: Passed

This amendment, which is the majority report, replaces the bill. It provides that poultry, poultry products, meat and meat products labeled or advertised as Maine-raised or by a similar designation are considered misbranded if offered for sale, sold or distributed within the State unless the poultry or animals were raised in Maine, as defined in the amendment. The Commissioner of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry may grant a waiver of the determination that such poultry, poultry products, meat and meat products are misbranded upon consideration of economic factors, including, but not limited to, the proximity of processing facilities to the in-state poultry producer or meat producer and the availability of poultry processing facilities or meat processing facilities in the State.

Updated: July 12, 2019

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

Category: Alcohol & Tobacco | Status: Defeated

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: July 12, 2019

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

Category: Beverage Containers | Status: Passed

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: July 12, 2019

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

Category: General Business | Status: Defeated

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: July 12, 2019

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

Category: General Business | Status: Passed

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: July 12, 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: Food Production | Status: Passed

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: July 12, 2019

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

Category: Environmental | Status: Passed

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: July 12, 2019

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

Category: Taxation | Status: Carry Over

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

Updated: July 12, 2019

LD 278: An Act Regarding Pay Equality

Category: General Business | Status: Passed

This amendment strikes and replaces the bill. The amendment 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. It creates an exception for compensation history sought pursuant to any federal or state law that specifically requires the disclosure or verification of compensation history for employment purposes, for example, when such information is related to economic development programs that specifically create employment opportunities for persons with low incomes. 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 employee or applicant by the Department of Labor or the affected employee or applicant.

This amendment also amends the Maine Human Rights Act to provide that evidence of unlawful employment discrimination includes an employer’s seeking information about a prospective employee’s compensation history before an offer of employment, including all terms of compensation, to the applicant has been made. It also creates an exception for compensation history sought pursuant to any federal or state law that specifically requires the disclosure or verification of compensation history for employment purposes.

Updated: July 12, 2019

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

Category: Beverage Containers | Status: Passed

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: July 12, 2019

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

Category: Beverage Containers | Status: Passed

This amendment, which is the majority report of the committee, increases the reimbursement to the dealer or local redemption center for the cost of handling beverage containers by one-half cent beginning May 1, 2019 and by an additional one-half cent beginning January 1, 2020. It also adds an emergency preamble and emergency clause and an appropriations and allocations section.

This amendment amends Committee Amendment “A” to:

1. Increase the reimbursement to the dealer or local redemption center for the cost of handling beverage containers by 1/2¢ beginning January 1, 2020;

2. Eliminates a provision reducing by 1/2¢ the reimbursement to the dealer or local redemption center for the cost of handling beverage containers subject to a qualified commingling agreement;

3. Places a moratorium from May 1, 2019 to January 15, 2020 on the issuance by the Department of Environmental Protection of redemption center licenses to redemption centers not licensed prior to May 1, 2019 unless the department determines that a new redemption center is needed to serve an area in which an existing redemption center ceases to operate. This licensing prohibition does not apply to renewal of redemption center licenses issued prior to May 1, 2019; and

4. Direct the Commissioner of Environmental Protection to require each initiator of deposit that has entered into a commingling agreement, and its contracted agent, if any, to no later than July 1, 2019 report to the department the number of beverage containers picked up from each redemption center on each pick-up date in calendar year 2018. Upon receipt of this data, the department shall assess the efficiency and convenience of the beverage container redemption system and develop recommendations to improve efficiencies in the handling and transportation of beverage containers and to ensure convenient collection of beverage containers for consumers. On or before January 15, 2020, the commissioner shall submit a report to the Joint Standing Committee on Environment and Natural Resources detailing the department’s findings and recommendations, including any proposed legislation. It authorizes the committee to report out legislation to implement recommendations contained in the report.

Updated: July 12, 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: Defeated

 

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: July 12, 2019

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

Category: Taxation | Status: Carry Over

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: July 12, 2019

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

Category: Beverage Containers | Status: 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: July 12, 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: Defeated

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: July 12, 2019

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

Category: General Business | Status: Defeated

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: July 12, 2019

LD 87: An Act To Increase the Bottle Redemption Deposit

Category: Beverage Containers | Status: Defeated

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: July 12, 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: Passed

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: July 12, 2019

LD 75: An Act To Protect Earned Pay

Category: General Business | Status: Passed

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: July 12, 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: Defeated

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: July 12, 2019

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

Category: Taxation | Status: Defeated

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: July 12, 2019

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

Category: Beverage Containers | Status: Defeated

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: July 12, 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: Defeated

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: July 12, 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: Defeated

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: July 12, 2019