MGFPA represent the interests of Maine grocers, food producers and their industry partners at local, state and federal levels. We work diligently to establish legislative policy, lead and participate in coalitions, strengthen and continuously grow our active Government Relations Committee, and maintain working relationships with the National Grocers Association and the Food Marketing Institute.
We work to inform the business community on legislative bills that will directly impact their business. We form coalitions of businesses to fight and/or support various proposed laws. With testimony from business owners/managers and the efforts of our advocacy we work to ensure Maine is a retail and food friendly state.
Our advocacy work ensures you can remain competitive, focus on running your business and in return saves you money!
128th Session: LD 725 ‘ An Act To Recognize Local Control Regarding Food Systems’
The Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Committee unanimously voted in support of an amended bill regarding the food sovereignty issue. Although it was a long day, the committee worked diligently to craft a compromise bill that will address not only the USDA’s concerns with meat and poultry, but we were able to include an expanded definition for food products to include milk or milk products, meat or meat products, poultry or poultry products, fish or fish products, seafood or seafood products, cider or juice, canned fruits or vegetables, or acidified foods. It also clarifies that the only allowed transactions are face-to-face transactions at the site of the food production. Lastly, and most importantly, it clarifies that anyone who produces food or food products for purposes other than direct producer-to-consumer transaction in a municipality that has an ordinance must comply with all state and federal food safety laws, rules and regulations.
MGFPA continuously monitors the Maine Legislature, Congress, and State and Federal Agencies.
We are engaged 12-months a year in legislative, regulatory and policy matters impacting our members.
Most recently, we served as a member of the campaign to oppose Question 1 (3.8% income tax surcharge) which we successfully defeated. Additionally, during the 128th legislative biennium, we were successful on a number of initiatives, including:
- Repeal of the 3% income tax surcharge that applied to 11,000 small business owners
- Aided as a small business advocate for communities drafting local ordinances for plastic bag policies and paid sick leave initiatives
- Opposed new taxes on sugar-sweetened beverages, tobacco, and local option sales taxes
- Supported beer, wine and spirits tastings at Farmers’ Markets
- Opposed the delisting of 50mL NIP bottles
- Passage of the “economic nexus” bill to level the playing field on sales tax collection between large online retailers and brick and mortar stores
- Supported amendments to ensure national compliance for meats, poultry and dairy processing for local transactions
- Served as a liaison to ensure unfeasible food waste laws were not implemented
But there is a lot more work to be done. 2019 will usher in a new era for Maine politics with more referendum issues on the horizon. In fact, the Maine People’s Alliance is already starting to gather signatures for a statewide paid sick leave referendum. We anticipate a busy year:
- Wage and labor legislation including paid sick leave, family leave and restrictive scheduling
- Increased taxation whether that be aimed at alcohol, tobacco or other food products
- A movement towards local option sales tax
- Environmental issues such as food waste (composting and reduction), plastic and polystyrene bans
- Chemical and food packaging safety concerns
- Marijuana policy and licensing
Strength is in our numbers, and every membership counts. Your membership investment ensures a stronger voice in Augusta and Washington!