Maine Food Policy News
#11 April 26, 2021
Published weekly with support from
an Elmina B. Sewall Foundation grant to Maine Farm to Institution

The Maine Food Policy Website is now live. It includes an archive of all Newsletters, along with complete listings of all Bills we are tracking sorted by topics, tips on Taking Action and more. We continue to build this site as a toolbox for Food Justice and Democracy.

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The Food Policy Work Group relies on many advocacy partners to help us learn about high priority Legislative initiatives. We urge you to tune in to these groups.
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Key Committee Schedules 4/26 - 5/7

Note: We urge you to subscribe to Take Action Alerts from various stakeholder groups to learn more (see links below).

Note: Each Bill listed has 3 clickable links:
  • LD # link takes you to PDF text for the Bill
  • Committee links takes you to Committee Page which includes:
  • schedules
  • links to testimony documents
  • YouTube links takes you to hearings & Work Sessions, both live and earlier sessions.

We urge you to consider viewing Committee work and submit testimony for Bills that are important to you. Here is info on participating in Committees.
Abbreviations used for Committees:

Hunger, Food Rights Bills

LD 174 An Act To Implement the Recommendations of the Ending Hunger by 2030 Advisory Group sponsored by Rep. Pluecker, Work Session 9am Apr 27 ACF Committee. This bill proposes to implement the recommendations of the advisory group assembled pursuant to Resolve 2019, chapter 32 to end hunger in Maine by 2030.  ACF YouTube

LD 961 An Act To Provide Equity in Access to Applications for the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program sponsored by Sen. Eloise Vitelli, Hearing 10am Apr 26  EDU Committee. Create a statewide school meal benefit online application, housed on the Department of Education’s website, so families can easily apply for school meals online. The data submitted via the application would not be visible to the Department of Education, but would be transferred directly to local districts.  EDU YouTube

LD 95 Resolution, Proposing an Amendment to the Constitution of Maine to Establish a Right to Food, sponsored by Rep. Billy Bob Faulkingham, Work Session 9am Apr 27 ACF Committee This constitutional resolution declares that all individuals have a natural, inherent and unalienable right to grow, raise, harvest, produce and consume the food of their own choosing for their own nourishment, sustenance, bodily health and well-being.  ACF YouTube

LD 1299   An Act To Permit Emergency Funding for Food Banks When a State of Emergency is Declared Sponsored by Rep Paulhus, Hearing 9am Apr 29  ACF Committee. This bill authorizes the Governor to distribute up to $400,000 from the Maine Budget Stabilization Fund during a state of emergency to nonprofit entities, including food banks, food pantries and soup kitchens, that provide or distribute food to low-income, indigent or unemployed individuals or households without charge. ACF YouTube

LD 822 An Act To Affirm That Food Seeds Are a Necessity in Maine sponsored by Sen. Lisa Keim, Work Session 10am Apr 29  HHS Committee.  HHS YouTube

Pesticides, Pollutants, Recycling Bills

LD 125 An Act To Prohibit the Aerial Spraying of Glyphosate and Other Synthetic Herbicides for the Purpose of Silviculture, sponsored by Pres. Troy Jackson, Work Session 9am Apr 27 ACF Committee This bill prohibits the aerial application of glyphosate or other synthetic herbicides for the purpose of silviculture, including reforestation, regeneration or vegetation control after a timber harvest.  ACF YouTube

LD 264 An Act to Prohibit Aerial Application of Perfluoroalkyl and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances" Sponsored by Rep Pluecker Hearing 9am Apr 29 ACF Committee  ACF YouTube

LD 1163  An Act To Reduce Pollution by Prohibiting Metallic Mineral Mining Sponsored by Rep O'Neil Hearing 9am Apr 26 ENR Committee.  ENR YouTube

LD 1388 An Act To Require Testing of Public Drinking Water Supplies for Toxic Perfluoroalkyl and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances and To Establish Maximum Contaminant Levels, sponsored by Rep. Pluecker Work Session 9am Apr 27 HHS Committee.  HHS YouTube

LD 1467  An Act To Promote a Circular Economy through Increased Post-consumer Recycled Plastic Content in Plastic Beverage Containers,  sponsored by Rep. Doudera  Hearing 9am Apr 26  ENR Committee.  ENR YouTube

LD 1505  An Act to Restrict the Use of Perfluoroalkyl and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances in Firefighting Foam, sponsored by   Hearing May 3, 9am in the ENR Committee.  ENR YouTube

Farming Bills

LD 282  An Act Regarding Maine Agriculture sponsored by Rep. Maggie O’Neil, Hearing 9am Apr 29 ACF Committee  ACF YouTube

LD 586 An Act to Amend the Laws Governing Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry sponsored by Rep. Maggie O’Neil, Hearing 9am Apr 29  ACF Committee  ACF YouTube

LD 219 An Act To Enhance the Agricultural Marketing Loan Fund by Establishing a Variable Interest Rate for Loans and To Allow Participants in the Maine Farms for the Future Program To Borrow at That Rate sponsored by Rep. Bill Pluecker, Work Session 9am Apr 27 ACF Committee. This bill allows the Commissioner of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, in consultation with the Finance Authority of Maine, to periodically review interest rates and establish an interest rate for agricultural marketing loans that varies with the prime rate of interest and is a competitive interest rate at the time of loan origination. It prohibits the rate from being less than 1% per year. It also allows participants in the Maine Farms for the Future Program to borrow at that rate.  ACF YouTube

Equity Bills

LD 585 An Act To Restore to the Penobscot Nation and Passamaquoddy Tribe the Authority To Exercise Jurisdiction under the Federal Tribal Law and Order Act of 2010, sponsored by Rep. Rachel Talbot Ross, Hearing 9am May 4 Judiciary Committee.  JUD YouTube

LD 906  An Act to Provide Passamaquoddy Tribal Members Access to Clean Drinking Watersponsored by Rep. Rena Newell, Hearing 9am May 4 Judiciary Committee.  JUD YouTube

LD 1309  An Act To Address Systemic Racism and Improve Economic Prosperity Sponsored by Rep Talbot Ross, Hearing 9:30 am Apr 27 IDEA & Business Comm. IDEA YouTube

Land, Environment & Rural Support Bills

LD 983  An Act To Authorize a General Fund Bond Issue To Promote Land Conservation, Working Waterfronts, Water Access and Outdoor Recreation  sponsored by Sen. Catherine Breen, Hearing 10am Apr 26 Appropriations and Financial Affairs Comm.   AFA YouTube

LD 1118    An Act To Promote Reliable Rural High-speed Internet Sponsored by Sen. Lawrence Work Session 9am Apr 29 TAX CommitteeTAX YouTube

LD 1432  An Act To Update the Municipal Gigabit Broadband Network Access Fund sponsored by Rep. Berry, Hearing 9am Apr 27 EUT Committee EUT YouTube
Federal Food and Agriculture Bills
The News is beginning to expand coverage of national legislation. Bills listed below have links to PDFs for each.

Food and Nutrition Education in Schools Act will be introduced by Senators Cory Booker and John Cornyn this week and features:
  • Provides funding for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to establish a pilot grant program to create food and nutrition education positions in a range of rural, urban, and tribal schools. 
  • Food and nutrition educators will implement evidence-based practices proven to maximize students’ consumption—and enjoyment—of healthy meals. 
  • Priority will be given to schools in neighborhoods with high rates of childhood diet-related illnesses and schools in which 40 percent or more of students qualify for free or reduced price meals.

HR 7554, American Farmers, Food Banks, and Families Act

HR 5861: Agricullture Resilience Act.

HR 5845: Break Free from Plastic Pollutions Act

HR 5841: Food Recovery Act

Rep. Pingree and others introduced HR 1258: The Strengthening Local Processing Act will increase options for local livestock and poultry producers and assist smaller facilities as they adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic and expand to meet consumer demand. See the 2/23 Press Release for more information.

Rep. Alma Adams (D-NC-12) introduced the Local and Regional Farmer and Market Support Act (H.R. 8096), and it will help meet the needs of farmers who've been left out during the pandemic. Here are THREE big reasons to support this bill:
  • It offers direct support for producers selling into local and regional markets based on the losses they've experienced. 
  • It prioritizes funding for BIPOC farmers and low-income communities of color and includes robust outreach, technical assistance, and data collection to ensure that aid is distributed equitably. 
  • It provides emergency response grants for farmers markets and local food enterprises to allow those operations to adapt to new market conditions, implement public health and safety protections, and further support communities experiencing food insecurity.
For more information, contact Ken Morse, Coordinator of the Maine Food Policy Work Group