Maine Food Policy News
#8 April 5, 2021
Published weekly with support from
an Elmina B. Sewall Foundation grant to Maine Farm to Institution

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.

Please encourage others to subscribe to the Maine Food Policy News, by sharing this Op-In Subscription Link
Key Committee Schedules 4/5 - 4/16

Note: 1357 Bills have been published as of 4/2. We continue to monitor over 50 Bills. As this # continues to grow, its harder to present Committee dynamics. 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
  • YouTube links takes you to present and past hearings

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:

Farming Bills

LD 151 An Act To Protect Farm Workers by Allowing Them To Organize for the Purpose of Collective Bargaining sponsored by Rep. Harnett, Hearing April 7, 10am Labor and Housing Comm. This bill proposes to allow persons working in agriculture to organize for the purposes of collectively bargaining for wages, hours, other working conditions and benefits without fear of reprisal. The bill would exempt farms under a certain size with a limited number of employees.  LBHS YouTube

LD 1022  An Act To Make Agricultural Workers and Other Workers Employees under the Wage and Hour Laws sponsored by Rep Thom Harnett Hearing April 7, 10 am before Labor and Housing Comm. 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.  LBHS YouTube

LD 558  Resolve, Directing the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry To Study Alternative Cropping Systems for Farmers Affected by Perfluoroalkyl and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances Contamination, sponsored by Rep. Pluecker, Work Session April 8, 9am before AFC Committee  ACF YouTube

LD 568 An Act To Establish a Working Farmland Access and Protection Program within the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry and a Working Farmland Access and Protection Fund within the Land for Maine's Future Program sponsored by Rep Bill Pluecker, Work Session April 6, 10am before AFC Committee.   ACF YouTube

Food Right Bills

LD 574 An Act To Clarify the Maine Food Sovereignty Act  sponsored by Rep. Pluecker, Hearing April 6, 9:15 am before AFC Committee. The bill amends the definition of "direct producer-to-consumer transaction" to mean any exchange of food or food products directly between a producer and a consumer in a manner mutually agreed upon by the producer and consumer of the food or food products rather than face-to-face transactions at the site of production. ACF YouTube

Pollution Bills

LD 602 An Act To Prevent Pollution from Single-use Plastic Straws, Splash Sticks and Beverage Lid Plugs sponsored by Sen Miramant, Hearing April 7, 11 am before ENR Committee. This bill prohibits the manufacture and the sale and distribution, at retail or wholesale, of single-use drinking straws, splash sticks and beverage lid plugs made wholly or partly of plastic and prohibits food establishments and eating establishments from providing such items to customers at a point of sale  ENR YouTube

LD 640  An Act To Ban Single-serving, Disposable Plastic Water Bottles sponsored by Rep. Gramlich, Work Session April 7, 11 am before ENR Committee This bill prohibits the sale, offering for sale and distribution for promotional purposes of uncarbonated, unflavored drinking water in containers of one liter or less that are made of plastic except during proclaimed a emergency.  ENR YouTube

LD 815  An Act to Support School Decarbonization, sponsored by Sen. Maxmin, Hearing April 6, 9 am before EUT Committee. Current law requires the Efficiency Maine Trust to develop and administer a school energy savings program. This bill changes the program to a school decarbonization program and requires the trust to provide technical and financial support to help kindergarten to grade 12 schools become carbon neutral. EUT YouTube

Food Security Bills
LD 691 An Act to Support Farms and Address Food Insecurity Due to Covid-19 sponsored by Rep. Pluecker, Work Session April 8, 9 am before ACF Committee. This bill establishes the Fund To Address Food Insecurity and Provide Nutrition Incentives 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.  ACF YouTube

LD 1046 An Act To Create an Income Tax Return Checkoff for Hunger Prevention  Rep. Maureen Terry, Hearing April 6, 9 am before before TAX Committee. This bill requires the inclusion of a check-off provision on Maine income tax forms for taxpayers who wish to contribute to support the emergency food assistance program.  TAX YouTube

Climate Bills

LD 1100 An Act To Support the Continued Access to Solar Energy and Battery Storage by Maine Homes and Businesses  Sponsored by Sen. Woodsome, Hearing April 13, 9 am before EUT CommitteeEUT YouTube

LD 1231  An Act Concerning Climate and Community Investment Projects Sponsored by Rep. Cuddy, Hearing April 9, 10 am Labor and Housing Comm. LBHS YouTube

LD 1107 An Act To Create Needed Broadband Infrastructure in Rural Maine through the Establishment of a Satellite-based Broadband Grant Program  Sponsored by Sen. Harold Stewart Hearing April 6, 9 am before EUT Committee. This bill establishes a satellite-based broadband grant program, to be developed and administered by the Public Utilities Commission, to provide grants of up to $500 to individuals for installation costs. Under the program, grant priority is to be given to applicants from unserved or underserved areas of the State. This grant program is capitalized under the bill through a one-time General Fund appropriation of $1,000,000.  EUT YouTube

Marine Bills

LD 1146  An Act To Protect Maine's Ocean Waters and Support Regulatory Oversight and the Long-term Health of the Aquaculture Industry  Sponsored by Rep Robert Alley Hearing April 13, 9 am before Marine Resources Comm.  MAR YouTube

LD 1182   An Act To Allow Commercial Lobster License Holders To Possess a Marine Harvesting Demonstration License  Sponsored by Rep. Faulkingham Hearing April 13, 9 am Marine Resources Comm MAR YouTube

Results of Hearings 3/29-4/2

LD 636: An Act To Encourage the Purchase of Local Foods for Public Schools, Tabled at Work Session EDU Committee,

LD 655: An Act to Require at Least 30-minute Lunch Period for Public Schools, Divided Report from EDU Committee

LD 80 An Act To Provide Critical Communications for Family Farms, Businesses and Residences by Strategic Public Investment in High-speed Internet and Broadband Infrastructure, sponsor Rep. McCrea, Tabled by Work Session Apr 1, 9am before TAX Committee TAX Youtube link

Newly Published Bills
LD 1118 An Act To Promote Reliable Rural High-speed Internet Sponsored by Sen. Lawrence, referred to TAX Committee, TAX Youtube link

LD 1159 An Act To Amend the Membership Requirements of the Board of Pesticides Control Sponsored by Representative Laurie Osher, referred to ACF Committee ACF Youtube link

LD 1163 An Act To Reduce Pollution by Prohibiting Metallic Mineral Mining Sponsored by Rep. O'Neil, referred to ENR Committee.

Federal Food and Agriculture Bills

Rep. Pingree and others introduced 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.

USDA AMS has set up a listening session for stakeholders to provide feedback on implementing the additional funding for food purchases and distribution. There is also an opportunity to submit written comments. Here are the details: March 22, 2021 from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. ET Register in advance for this webinar.


Farm-Based Education Network
3-4:30pm, April 15, and 29, 2021

Hosted by Food Tank
April 28, 2021
For more information, contact Ken Morse, Coordinator of the Maine Food Policy Work Group