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Here’s a look at highlights of the bill’s we engaged on this week in Augusta.

In the ACF Committee there was a work session on Wednesday for LD 1849, "An Act to Ensure Fair and Timely Payment in the Harvesting of Wood Products." Senator Jackson presented an amendment to the bill, approved by PLC, that states all wood cut under a service contract must be paid for in 30 days. The Council believed this could be problematic and suggested language that stated “unless parties have agreed to payment terms in the service contract." We should see language for the bill and keep members posted. The divided report we believe was 9 to 4 in favor of the bill.

Also in ACF was a work session on LD 1874, "An Act to Support Maine Loggers’ and Truckers Right to Work in Maine by Improving Labor Standards." Pat Sirois, SFI State Implementation Committee Director, explained the role of the SIC in supporting the SFI program. Ultimately, Senator Jackson proclaimed SFI was an industry standard that did not support loggers right to work. The committee voted along party lines with the majority approving the bill. BPL will need to determine next steps in their SFI membership.

In the ENR committee there was a work session on LD 1926, "An Act to Impose a Moratorium on New Point Source Discharge Licenses on the Lower Presumpscot River." The DEP testified against this provision explaining that the river classification process has historically been used to control discharge licensing in Maine’s Rivers. The bill has implications for future forest manufacturing processing and was tabled.

In the Labor Committee on Wednesday LD 1190, "An Act to Ensure a Fair Workweek by Requiring Notice of Work Schedules." MFPC has been part of a larger business coalition that has been opposed to this bill. Committee Chair Senator Tipping introduced a new sweeping amendment that continues to be troubling to the business community. The bill was tabled in work session.

Also in a Labor committee work session was LD 1794, "An Act to Enhance the Predictability of Mandated Overtime for Pulp and Paper Manufacturing Facility Employees." It was an interesting session because the committee heard from the union president from the Woodland Mill that it was inappropriate for the legislature to be interfering with labor negotiations. The bill was tabled for future action.

LD 1964, "An Act to Implement the Recommendations of the Commission to Develop a Paid Family Medical Leave Benefits Program" had a hearing in the Labor Committee (see MFPC testimony). The debate on this bill has been highly anticipated with many views expressed. The Governor weighed in with testimony suggesting changes in the proposal that were needed based on her conversations with the business community. It's likely that something will move forward before the end of the session.

The Week Ahead

Disclaimer! The activity in committees is coming to an end but there are many last-minute additions to the committee schedules. In some cases, bills will be carried over into the next session, but others may be on a fast track for passage. We will switch our attention to full-time monitoring of bills as they go through the House and Senate for debate and enactment. Please be on standby to answer any calls for action!

The full schedule is provided below. If you have any questions, or need help submitting testimony, please don't hesitate to reach out to me for assistance. 



Bills scheduled for a work session

Work Sessions are livestreamed and archived here on the Legislature's Website.

LD 1726 - "An Act To Build Maine's Economy By Supporting Child Care For Working Families"

Work Session in HHS on Thursday June 1, 2023 @ 1:00 PM in Cross Building, Room 209

MFPC Position: Support

Sponsored by Senator Troy Jackson, LD 1726 would establish the Maine Child Care Scholarship Program within the Department of Health and Human Services to encompass the former child care subsidy program and new eligibility for child care providers. The bill directs the department to amend its procedures regarding eligibility and reimbursement, submit an annual report relating to child care subsidies to the joint standing committee of the Legislature having jurisdiction over health and human services matters and to implement various departmental improvements to the child care subsidy program. The bill establishes the Child Care Task Force to make recommendations to the department regarding quality child care. The bill provides funding to increase eligibility and wages for child care services and to implement the improvements to child care subsidies. The bill also directs the department, by 2030, to implement a program to achieve affordable child care.

LD 1964 - "An Act To Implement The Recommendations Of The Commission To Develop A Paid Family And Medical Leave Benefits Program"

Work Session in LAH on Thursday June 1, 2023 @ 1:00 PM in Cross Building, Room 202

MFPC Position: Oppose

Sponsored by Sen. Matthea Daughtry this bill implements a paid family and medical leave benefits program based on the recommendations of the Commission to Develop a Paid Family and Medical Leave Benefits Program established by the 130th Legislature. The program provides up to 12 weeks of family leave and up to 12 weeks of medical leave to eligible covered individuals. No more than 16 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 earning at least 6 times the state average weekly wage in the preceding 4 calendar quarters 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 120% of the state average weekly wage. The weekly benefit amount is 90% of the covered individual's average weekly wage. Covered individuals are required to file claims for benefits in accordance with rules adopted by the department administering the program and to provide certification that they qualify for family leave or medical leave. The bill establishes the Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance Fund to support the program. The funds for administrative costs and payment of benefits come from payroll contributions of no more than 1% of wages shared by employers and employees, except that employers with fewer than 15 employees are not required to make employer contributions to the program. The bill also authorizes employers to provide these benefits through a private plan as long as the benefits for family and medical leave provided to their employees are the same as provided in the program. The bill establishes the Paid Family and Medical Leave Benefits Authority to advise the administrator on the implementation and administration of the program. The bill requires payroll contributions to begin January 1, 2025 and benefit claims to be processed beginning January 1, 2026. The bill authorizes the Department of Economic and Community Development to conduct outreach with businesses about the paid family and medical leave benefits program. The bill requires the program to be reviewed under the State Government Evaluation Act in 2029.

About MFPC

Since 1961, the Maine Forest Products Council has been the voice of Maine's forest economy. MFPC's members are landowners, loggers, truckers, paper mills, tree farmers, foresters, lumber processors and the owners of more than 8 million acres of commercial forestland, but they are also bankers, lawyers and insurance executives. The Council represents members at the Maine Legislature throughout the state, in Washington D.C. and the U.S.

Patrick Strauch, Executive Director

Krysta West, Deputy Director

Pat SiroisSFI Coordinator

Stacy Bettencourt, Office Manager


535 Civic Center Drive, Augusta, Maine 04330


Thanks to MFPC's sponsors!

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