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129th Legislature (2019-2020)

An Act To Protect Health Care Coverage for Maine Families (LD 1)

The purpose of this bill is to ensure that consumer protections related to health insurance coverage included in the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act are codified in state law.

Our Recommendation: Ought Not to Pass

To view our testimony on LD 1, click here.

An Act To Provide That Inspections of New Motor Vehicles Are Valid for 2 Years (LD 10)

This bill provides that a new motor vehicle that has had an inspection is not required to have another inspection until 2 years from the last day of the month in which it was initially registered. After this time period has passed, the motor vehicle is required to have an annual motor vehicle safety inspection.

Our Recommendation: Ought to Pass

To view our testimony on LD 10, click here.

An Act To Improve Science and Engineering Education for Maine’s Students (LD 14)

This bill requires the Department of Education to include the so-called Next Generation Science Standards for kindergarten to grade 12 in the State’s system of learning results and assessment and directs the Commissioner of Education to amend Department of Education rules on or before December 31, 2019 in order to include the science standards as part of the State’s system of learning results and assessment beginning with the 2021-2022 school year.

Our Recommendation: Ought Not to Pass

To view our testimony on LD 14, click here.

An Act To Provide for Municipalities To Allow Grocery Stores up to 10,000 Square Feet To Open on Thanksgiving, Easter and Christmas (LD 15)

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.

Our Recommendation: Ought to Pass

To view our testimony on LD 15, click here.

An Act To Improve Health Care Data Analysis (LD 30)

This bill is a concept draft pursuant to Joint Rule 208. This bill proposes to enact measures designed to improve the State’s capacity to use data regarding health care costs and health care systems. The State’s ability to better analyze and use data regarding health care utilization and health care quality will serve to inform the State’s health care policy.

Our Recommendation: Neither support or oppose.

An Act Regarding Rules Adopted by the ConnectME Authority (LD 31)

This bill changes the designation of rules adopted by the ConnectME Authority from major substantive to routine technical.

Our Recommendation: Ought Not to Pass

To view our testimony on LD 31, click here.

An Act To Clarify Local Referendum Ballots (LD 53)

This bill requires that municipal initiative and referendum questions be listed on election ballots using sequential capital letters of the alphabet rather than sequential numbers.

Our Recommendation: Ought to Pass

To view our testimony on LD 53, click here.

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

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.

Our Recommendation: Ought Not to Pass

To read our testimony on LD 65, click here.

An Act To Provide Economic Security to Maine Families Through the Creation of a Paid Family Medical Leave System (LD 69)

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.

Our Recommendation: Ought Not to Pass

To view our testimony on LD 69, click here.

An Act To Facilitate Access to the MaineCare Family Planning Benefit (LD 78)

This bill establishes presumptive eligibility for individuals who are likely to qualify for the family planning benefit under the Maine Revised Statutes, Title 22, section 3173-G and requires the Department of Health and Human Services to provide for presumptive eligibility. It requires the department to automatically review an individual’s eligibility for the family planning benefit if, upon application, the individual is found ineligible under Title 22, section 3174-G, subsection 1, paragraph A, C, D, E, F, G or H and to enroll the individual if found eligible for the family planning benefit.

Our Recommendation: Ought Not to Pass

To view our testimony on LD 78, click here.

Resolve, Directing the Department of Health and Human Services To Allow Spouses To Provide Home and Community-based Services to Eligible MaineCare Members (LD 84)

This resolve requires the Department of Health and Human Services to submit a request to the United States Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to amend the current federal 1915(c) waiver so that eligible members receiving home and community-based services under the department’s rule Chapter 101: MaineCare Benefits Manual, Chapter II, Section 19 will be able to receive services provided by spouses who are employed as personal support specialists to provide those services. 

Our Recommendation: Ought to Pass

To view our testimony on LD 84, click here.

An Act To Lower the Maine Individual Income Tax Incrementally to Zero (LD 107)

This bill provides for the phase-out of the individual income tax.

Our Recommendation: Ought to Pass

To view our testimony on LD 107, click here.

An Act To Create a Public Health Insurance Option (LD 109) 

This bill makes any legally domiciled resident of the State eligible for coverage under the group health plan available to state employees and other eligible persons. The bill permits any resident enrolling in coverage under this provision to do so during an open enrollment period.

Our Recommendation: Ought Not to Pass

To view our testimony on LD 109, click here.

An Act To Establish Open Primaries for Certain Federal and State Offices (LD 114)

This bill provides for open primary elections for the elections for United States Senator, United States Representative to Congress, Governor, State Senator and State Representative. All of the candidates for those offices, including candidates enrolled in a party and unenrolled candidates, must appear on the same open primary ballot. All qualified voters, regardless of enrollment status, are eligible to vote in open primary elections. The votes in an open primary election must be tabulated using ranked-choice voting, except that the 2 candidates who receive the most votes are declared the winners of the open primary and their names must appear on the ballot for the general election.

Our Recommendation: Ought Not to Pass

To view our testimony on LD 114, click here.

An Act To Exempt Motor Vehicles Less Than 5 Years Old from Inspection (LD 117)

This bill provides that a new motor vehicle that has had an inspection is not required to have another inspection until 5 years from the last day of the month in which it was initially registered. After this time period has passed, the motor vehicle is required to have an annual motor vehicle safety inspection.

Our Recommendation: Ought to Pass

To view our testimony on LD 117, click here.

An Act To Ensure Transparency in College Costs (LD 155)

This bill prohibits a postsecondary institution from assessing a student fees unless the institution uses the standardized financial aid offer form developed by the Commissioner of Education. The bill directs the Commissioner of Education to develop a standard format for written and electronic financial aid offers to students enrolled or accepted for enrollment in a postsecondary institution. The bill specifies that the standardized financial aid offer form must clearly identify each student fee to be paid to the postsecondary institution.

Our Recommendation: Ought to Pass

To view our testimony on LD 155, click here.

An Act To Allow Regional Service Center Municipalities To Assess an Additional One Percent Sales Tax for Infrastructure Costs (LD 156)

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.

Our Recommendation: Ought Not to Pass

To read our testimony on LD 156, click here.

An Act To Amend the Laws Governing Car Seats (LD 157)

This bill amends the laws governing the required use of child safety restraints in motor vehicles by changing the weight and age limits for the different types of restraints.

Our Recommendation: Ought Not to Pass

An Act To Provide a Method for a Student To Be Excused from Standardized Testing (LD 185)

This bill requires a school administrative unit to excuse a student from a standardized assessment administered pursuant to the State’s assessment program at the written request of the student’s parent or guardian and establishes requirements for school administrative units and the Department of Education related to excusing a student.

Our Recommendation: Ought to Pass

To view our testimony on LD 185, click here.

An Act To Convene a Working Group To Authorize a Public Trust for Maine’s Groundwater and To Impose a 2-year Moratorium on Large-scale Groundwater Extraction (LD 197)

This bill imposes a 2-year moratorium, beginning November 1, 2019, on new contracts or agreements by a consumer-owned water utility, municipality, state agency or other governmental entity involving the extraction of more than 75,000 gallons of groundwater during any week or more than 50,000 gallons of groundwater on any day. The bill also directs the Commissioner of Environmental Protection to convene a working group to develop the statutory and regulatory framework for the establishment of the Maine Water Trust, which must be designed to ensure a safe and plentiful drinking water supply for all residents of the State by regulating the use of groundwater for commercial purposes under laws that establish the absolute control and dominion of the State over all groundwater supplies in the State.

Our Recommendation: Ought Not to Pass

To view our testimony on LD 197, click here.

An Act To Increase the Required Number of Qualifying Contributions Gubernatorial Candidates Must Obtain To Qualify as Maine Clean Election Act Candidates (LD 202)

This bill increases from 3,200 to 6,000 the number of qualifying contributions verified registered voters must make to a gubernatorial candidate for that candidate to be certified as a Maine Clean Election Act candidate.

Our Recommendation: Ought to Pass

To view our testimony on LD 202, click here.

An Act To Prohibit Municipalities from Prohibiting Short-term Rentals (LD 209)

This bill prohibits municipalities from prohibiting or restricting the use of short-term rentals except for narrowly tailored regulations to protect the public health and safety.

Our Recommendation: Ought to Pass

To view our testimony on LD 209, click here.

An Act To Require Snow Tires or All-weather Tires on Automobiles from October through April (LD 213)

This bill requires automobiles to be equipped with snow tires or all-weather tires from the 2nd day of October to the last day of April and requires the Chief of the State Police within the Department of Public Safety to adopt rules to define “snow tires” and “all-weather tires.”

Our Recommendation: Ought Not to Pass

Update: This bill has been withdrawn by its sponsor.

An Act To Fund the Municipal Gigabit Broadband Network Access Fund (LD 224)

This bill provides funds to the ConnectME Authority to be used to provide grants to municipalities for high-speed broadband infrastructure development and improvement.

Our Recommendation: Ought Not to Pass

An Act To Increase the Minimum Area of Usable Space per Child Required in the Outdoor Area of a Child Care Center (LD 238)

This bill requires a child care facility to provide an outdoor play area that provides a minimum net area of 45 square feet of usable space per child.

Our Recommendation: Ought Not to Pass

To view our testimony on LD 238, click here.

RESOLUTION, Proposing an Amendment to the Constitution of Maine To Prohibit New or Increased Fees or Taxes by Means of Direct Initiatives of Legislation (LD 252)

This resolution proposes to amend the Constitution of Maine to prohibit the imposition of any new or increased taxes or fees through the direct initiative process.

Our Recommendation: Ought to Pass

To view our testimony on LD 252, click here.

Resolution, Proposing an Amendment to the Constitution of Maine To Require That Signatures on a Direct Initiative of Legislation Come from Each Congressional District (LD 255)

This resolution proposes to amend the Constitution of Maine to require that the signatures on a petition to directly initiate legislation be of voters from each of the State’s two congressional districts and that the number of signatures from each congressional district be not less than 10% of the total vote for Governor cast in that congressional district in the previous gubernatorial election. This resolution provides that, if the required votes are cast in favor of the proposed amendment to the Constitution, the proposed amendment becomes part of the Constitution on March 1, 2020 instead of on the date of the Governor’s proclamation.

Our Recommendation: Ought to Pass

To view our testimony on LD 255, click here.

An Act Regarding the Taking of a Blood Sample from an Operator of a Motor Vehicle Involved in a Fatal Accident (LD 264)

This bill allows an emergency medical services person or law enforcement officer whose training allows that person to draw blood samples to draw a specimen of blood from the operator of a motor vehicle involved in a fatal traffic accident for the purpose of determining the blood-alcohol level or the presence of a drug or drug metabolite. This bill extends to those same persons the current law shielding persons from liability for acts done or omitted in collecting or withdrawing specimens of blood.

Our Recommendation: Ought Not to Pass

To view our testimony on LD 264, click here.

An Act To Eliminate Certain Motor Vehicle Inspections in the State (LD 270)

This bill repeals statutory provisions requiring inspections for motor vehicles registered in the State, except that the provisions regarding inspection of commercial vehicles, trailers and semitrailers under the Maine Revised Statutes, Title 29-A, section 1753; inspection of fire trucks under Title 29-A, section 1755; and inspection by dealers and transporters under Title 29-A, section 1754 are not repealed.

Our Recommendation: Ought to Pass

To view our testimony on LD 270, click here.

An Act To Require the Fiscal Impact Estimate of a Direct Initiative of Legislation To Be Included on the Ballot (LD 294)

his bill provides that a ballot for a statewide vote on a direct initiative must include a summary of the fiscal impact estimate prepared by the Office of Fiscal and Program Review for that direct initiative.

Our Recommendation: Ought to Pass

To view our testimony on LD 294, click here.

An Act To Limit the Number of Charter Schools in Maine (LD 307)

Under current law, the number of public charter schools approved by the Maine Charter School Commission that may operate at any time is capped at 10 until July 1, 2022. This bill makes that cap permanent.

Our Recommendation: Ought Not to Pass

To view our testimony on LD 307, click here.

An Act To Strengthen Maine’s Election Laws by Requiring Photographic Identification for the Purpose of Voting (LD 322)

This bill requires that a voter provide proof of identity with photographic identification approved by the Secretary of State by rule for the purpose of voting.

Our Recommendation: Ought to Pass

To view our testimony on LD 322, click here.

An Act To Support Healthy Workplaces and Healthy Families by Providing Earned Paid Sick Leave to Certain Employees (LD 369)

This bill creates a right to earned paid sick leave for employees who are employed by an employer that employs more than 5 employees. The bill also creates a right to earned unpaid sick leave for employees of an employer that employs 5 or fewer employees. This bill takes effect January 1, 2021.

Our Recommendation: Ought Not to Pass

To view our testimony on LD 369, click here.

RESOLUTION, Proposing an Amendment to the Constitution of Maine To Require That Signatures on a Direct Initiative of Legislation Come from Each State Senatorial District (LD 374)

This resolution proposes to amend the Constitution of Maine to require that the signatures on a petition to directly initiate legislation be of voters from each of the State’s senate districts and that the number of signatures from each senate district be not less than 10% of the total votes for Governor cast in that senate district in the previous gubernatorial election. The resolution provides that, if the required votes are cast in favor of the proposed amendment to the Constitution, the proposed amendment becomes part of the Constitution on March 1, 2020 instead of on the date of the Governor’s proclamation.

Our Recommendation: Ought to Pass

To view our testimony on LD 374, click here.

An Act To Require Biennial State Motor Vehicle Inspections (LD 389)

This bill changes noncommercial automobile inspection requirements from an annual inspection to a biennial inspection.

Our Recommendation: Ought to Pass

To view our testimony on LD 389, click here.

An Act To Restore Overtime Protections for Maine Workers (LD 402)

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.

Our Recommendation: Ought Not to Pass

To view our testimony on LD 402, click here.

An Act To Promote Universal Health Care, Including Dental, Vision and Hearing Care (LD 407)

This bill establishes a single-payer health care system in the State, effective July 1, 2022, that finances health care services for most Maine residents. The bill directs the joint standing committee of the Legislature having jurisdiction over health and human services matters and the joint standing committee of the Legislature having jurisdiction over insurance and financial services matters to jointly submit during the 2019 legislative interim legislation to fully implement the single-payer system.

Our Recommendation: Ought Not to Pass

To view our testimony on LD 407, click here.

An Act To Eliminate the Subminimum Wage for Workers with Disabilities and Agricultural and Tipped Workers (LD 410)

This bill eliminates current exemptions from the minimum wage law that allow the payment of wages at less than the minimum wage rate to individuals employed in certain agricultural jobs, to individuals employed in service jobs in which tipping is customary and to certain individuals with disabilities, effective October 1, 2019.

Our Recommendation: Ought Not to Pass

Update: This bill has been indefinitely postponed.

An Act To Implement the National Popular Vote for President (LD 418)

This bill proposes to adopt an interstate compact to elect the President of the United States by national popular vote. Under the compact, the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states and the District of Columbia is elected President. Under the compact, all of a state’s electoral votes would be awarded to the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Our Recommendation: Ought Not to Pass

To view our testimony on LD 418, click here.

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

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.

Our Recommendation: Ought to Pass

To view our testimony on LD 425, click here.

An Act To Price Carbon Pollution in Maine (LD 434)

This bill requires an assessment on the carbon content of fuels sold by a distributor in the State. The bill defines “distributor” and requires a distributor to submit on a monthly basis the required assessment to the Public Utilities Commission. The commission is required to transfer any assessment it receives to the Carbon Content Assessment Fund, which the bill establishes. The bill requires the commission at the end of each fiscal year to transfer funds from the fund to transmission and distribution utilities in the State. The funds are to be used to reduce the rates of those utilities’ customers in a manner that is equitable and that provides maximum benefit to the economy of the State. The bill gives the commission the authority to review the books and records of a distributor and to impose an administrative penalty if necessary. It requires the commission to adopt routine technical rules.

Our Recommendation: Ought Not to Pass

To view our testimony on LD 434, click here.

An Act To Allow the Creation of New Innovative School Models by Removing the Cap on the Number of Authorized Charter Schools (LD 438)

This bill removes the cap on the number of charter schools the Maine Charter School Commission may authorize.

Our Recommendation: Ought to Pass

To view our testimony on LD 438, click here.

An Act To Improve the Affordability of Higher Education (LD 461)

This bill provides additional funding to the Maine State Grant Program in the 2020-2021 biennium. It requires the Finance Authority of Maine to expand the Maine State Grant Program to enable more low-income residents of the State to attend an institution of higher education within the State. It also requires the Finance Authority of Maine and the Department of Health and Human Services to jointly examine ways to maximize the delivery of federally funded support services to postsecondary students, including, but not limited to, the federal supplemental nutrition assistance program.

Our Recommendation: Ought Not to Pass

An Act To Create a Diesel Fuel Tax Differential (LD 466)

This bill imposes an additional 5¢ per gallon fuel tax on diesel fuel and requires that revenue from the tax be used only for construction, reconstruction, maintenance and repair of public highways and bridges. The additional tax is repealed on November 1, 2022. The Commissioner of Transportation is required to submit a report to the joint standing committee of the Legislature having jurisdiction over transportation matters by March 1, 2022 identifying the amount of revenue collected and the purposes for which the revenue was or will be used. The committee is authorized to submit legislation to the Second Regular Session of the 130th Legislature to retain, repeal or amend provisions relating to the diesel fuel tax differential.

Our Recommendation: Ought Not to Pass

To view our testimony on LD 466, click here.

An Act To Reduce the Participation Thresholds for Various Municipal Referenda and To Change the Measurement of Those Thresholds from Votes Cast for and against the Question to Votes in Favor of the Question (LD 482)

This bill changes the requirements for a municipality to withdraw from a regional school unit following a vote on a withdrawal agreement. Current law requires that the total number of votes cast for and against withdrawal equal or exceed 50% of the total votes cast in the municipality for Governor in the last gubernatorial election. This bill requires instead that the number of votes cast in favor of withdrawal equal or exceed 25% of the total votes cast in the municipality for Governor in the last gubernatorial election.

Our Recommendation: Ought to Pass

To view our testimony on LD 482, click here.

An Act To Improve Efficiencies in Cosmetology Licensing (LD 486)

This bill provides that a person is eligible to obtain a cosmetology license in this State if that person has met the hour and timing requirements in state law by completing a course of instruction or having experience as a trainee out of state that is approved by the Director of the Office of Professional and Occupational Regulation within the Department of Professional and Financial Regulation.

Our Recommendation: Ought to Pass

To view our testimony on LD 486, click here.

An Act To Limit the Number of Students and Prevent the Addition of Grade Levels at Virtual Public Charter Schools (LD 513)

This bill limits total enrollment at all virtual public charter schools authorized by the commission to the total enrollment at the end of the 2018-2019 school year. It also prohibits a virtual public charter school authorized by the commission from expanding to serve a grade level not included in the school’s initial charter contract or, for a school whose charter was renewed prior to November 1, 2019, the renewed charter contract.

Our Recommendation: Ought Not to Pass

To view our testimony on LD 513, click here.

An Act To Change the Exclusion Amount under the Estate Tax (LD 518)

This bill reduces the exclusion amount, below which the Maine estate tax does not apply, to $1,000,000 from $5,600,000 for estates of decedents dying on or after January 1, 2020 and removes the annual adjustment for inflation of that exclusion amount.

Our Recommendation: Ought Not to Pass

To view our testimony on LD 518, click here.

An Act To Prohibit the Imposition by Municipalities of General Restrictions on Rents and Rental Properties (LD 522)

This bill prohibits towns, cities, plantations, village corporations and counties providing municipal services in the unorganized territory of their county from adopting ordinances regulating the rent that may be charged for a rental property, requiring registration of rental properties or imposing fees specific to rental properties.

Our Recommendation: Ought to Pass

To view our testimony on LD 522, click here.

Resolve, Directing Professional Licensing and Certification Boards To Study the Barriers To Obtaining Professional Licensure and Certification (LD 532)

This resolve directs each professional licensing and certification board under the Maine Revised Statutes, Title 32, in consultation with the Department of the Attorney General, to undertake a thorough review of its rules and procedures and survey its licensees and certificate holders and applicants for licensure or certification to research barriers to obtaining licensure and certification, including existing deficiencies in reciprocity provisions. Each board is directed to submit a report to the Joint Standing Committee on Innovation, Development, Economic Advancement and Business by January 15, 2020 with its findings and any proposed changes to its rules and procedures. The joint standing committee is directed to review and suggest alterations to the licensing and certification boards, which may submit rules pursuant to Title 5, chapter 375. The joint standing committee is authorized to submit legislation related to any report under this section to the Second Regular Session of the 129th Legislature.

Our Recommendation: Ought to Pass

To view our testimony on LD 532, click here.

An Act To Make Ballot Questions Easier To Read and Understand for Maine Voters (LD 534)

This bill requires that ballot questions be written in a manner that is understandable to the greatest number of voters possible, determined to be for adult literacy at the 6th-grade reading level, which is the standard used for other important official state documents, including for the Maine Residents Property Tax Program, notices regarding child support, municipal property tax deferral programs for seniors and temporary assistance for needy families. This bill also requires ballot questions to unambiguously state what the effect of a “yes” or “no” vote may have.

Our Recommendation: Ought to Pass

To view our testimony on LD 534, click here.

An Act To Prohibit Extruded Polystyrene Food Service Containers (LD 621)

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.

Our Recommendation: Ought Not to Pass

To view our testimony on LD 621, click here.

An Act To Enact the Campus Free Expression Act (LD 665)

This bill authorizes a person who wishes to engage in an expressive activity, as defined in the bill, in an outdoor area of campus of a public institution of higher education to do so freely as long as the person’s conduct is lawful and does not materially and substantially disrupt the functioning of the public institution of higher education. It prohibits a public institution of higher education from designating an area of campus as a free speech zone or otherwise creating policies restricting expressive activities to a particular outdoor area of campus, except that it allows public institutions of higher education to create and enforce restrictions on time, place and manner of expression that are reasonable and content-neutral. The Attorney General has the authority to enforce compliance, and a person whose rights are violated may bring an action to enjoin violations and to recover compensatory damages, reasonable court costs and attorney’s fees.

Our Recommendation: Ought to Pass

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

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.

Our Recommendation: Ought Not to Pass

To view our testimony on LD 670, click here.

An Act To Require Professional Licensure for Property Inspectors (LD 671) 

This bill requires that all property inspectors be licensed by the Department of Professional and Financial Regulation. The bill also directs the department to adopt rules to establish standards and procedures for licensure.

Our Recommendation: Ought Not to Pass

To view our testimony on LD 671, click here.

An Act Regarding the Licensing of Funeral Practitioners (LD 679)

This bill allows the State Board of Funeral Service to issue a permanent license to engage in the funeral service profession and operate a funeral establishment to an applicant who holds an active license to practice funeral service in another state the license requirements of which are substantially similar to the license requirements in Maine.

Our Recommendation: Ought to Pass

To view our testimony LD 679, click here.

An Act To Fully Fund After-school and Preschool Programs in the School Funding Formula, Increase the Economically Disadvantaged Student Factor in the School Funding Formula and Increase the School Construction Debt Service Limit (LD 712)

This bill amends the school funding formula to fund after-school programs based on the state share percentage and to fund public preschool programs at 50% of the cost of the programs, or if a school administrative unit’s state share percentage is greater than 50%, to fund the unit’s public preschool program at the state share percentage. The bill also increases the additional weight for economically disadvantaged students from 0.15 to 1.5. The bill also raises the maximum debt service limit for school construction projects from $126,000,000 to $150,000,000 beginning in 2020.

Our Recommendation: Ought Not to Pass

An Act To Prohibit Public Charter Schools from Expending Funds for Advertising (LD 714)

This bill prohibits a public charter school from paying for advertising in print media or on television, radio, yard signs or digital or electronic media.

Our Recommendation: Ought Not to Pass

To view our testimony on LD 714, click here.

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

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.

Our Recommendation: Ought to Pass

To view our testimony on LD 739, click here.

An Act To Return Surplus Money to Maine Taxpayers (LD 741)

This bill is a concept draft pursuant to Joint Rule 208. This bill proposes to distribute the funds in the State treasury by: 1. Placing in the General Fund only the amount necessary to cover the outstanding obligations of the State required by law, such as for bond debt and payment of contracts and salaries; 2. After the transfer of funds required to meet the legal obligations of the State, distributing 75% of the remaining funds to Maine taxpayers on a pro rata basis, based on tax data for the 2018 tax year; and 3. After the transfer and the distributions, transferring the remaining 25% to the Maine Budget Stabilization Fund, also known as the Maine Rainy Day Fund.

Our Recommendation: Ought to Pass

To view our testimony on LD 741, click here.

An Act To Increase the Transparency of the “Maine Open Checkbook” Website (LD 749)

This bill requires the State Controller to maintain a publicly accessible website with up-to-date information concerning the State’s payroll and vendor information, which is currently in existence and called the “Maine Open Checkbook.” The bill requires the website to include the names of all recipients of state grants and track and record all payments made by quasi-public entities of the State and the dollar value of credits awarded through all state economic development programs.

Our Recommendation: Ought to Pass

To view our testimony on LD 749, click here.

An Act To Create a Youth Wage  (LD 808)

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.

Our Recommendation: Ought to Pass

To view our testimony on LD 808, click here.

An Act To Implement the National Popular Vote for President of the United States (LD 816)

This bill proposes to adopt an interstate compact to elect the President of the United States by national popular vote. Under the compact, the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states and the District of Columbia is elected President. Under the compact, all of a state’s electoral votes would be awarded to the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Our Recommendation: Ought Not to Pass

To view our testimony on LD 816, click here.

An Act To Balance Maine’s Minimum Wage for Small and Large Employers (LD 830)

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.

Our Recommendation: Ought to Pass

To view our testimony on LD 830, click here.

An Act To Prohibit Driverless Commercial Vehicles (LD 844)

This bill prohibits the operation of a commercial motor vehicle that does not have a driver in the vehicle.

Our Recommendation: Ought Not to Pass

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

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.

Our Recommendation: Ought Not to Pass

An Act To Repeal the Board of Licensing of Dietetic Practice (LD 884)

This bill repeals the law regulating dietitians and the practice of dietetics.

Our Recommendation: Ought to Pass

To view our testimony on LD 884, click here.

An Act To Expand Workforce Access by Creating Apprenticeship Programs To Increase Access to Licensure in Certain Occupations (LD 890)

This bill is a concept draft pursuant to Joint Rule 208. This bill proposes to enact the Expanded Workforce Access Act of 2019, which will authorize the use of apprenticeships as an alternative means of obtaining licenses to perform certain occupations. Occupations included under this Act may include, but are not limited to, barbering or limited barbering and nail technology.

Our Recommendation: Ought to Pass

An Act To Provide for a Professional Wage and Support for New Educators (LD 898)

This bill proposes to improve teacher quality in the State by amending the current statutes related to programs involving teacher preparation, support systems for conditionally certified teachers and educational specialists, teacher certification and teacher salaries and funding college loans for students enrolled in a program of study leading to certification as a teacher.

Our Recommendation: Ought Not to Pass

To view our testimony on LD 898, click here.

An Act To Increase Access to Health Care by Attracting Qualified Physicians to Maine (LD 899)

This bill amends the law regarding the temporary licensure of physicians to require the temporary licensure of a physician within 60 days of application for a temporary license when the Board of Licensure in Medicine determines temporary licensure of the physician is necessary to provide relief for a local or national emergency or for a situation in which the number of physicians is insufficient to supply adequate medical services or for the purpose of permitting the physician to serve as locum tenens for another physician. It reduces the fee for the temporary license from $400 to $100.

Our Recommendation: Ought to Pass

To view our testimony on LD 899, click here.

An Act To Expand the Rights of Public Employees under the Maine Labor Laws (LD 900)

This bill allows public employees, including municipal and county employees, state and legislative employees, university, academy and community college employees and judicial employees, but not including employees whose duties include protecting public safety, to strike pursuant to the official procedures of the employees’ employee organization or under a process in which an affirmative vote to strike is held. The bill requires that notice be given to the public employer stating the dates upon which the strike will begin and end. The bill also provides that the employee organization or public employer may call for emergency bargaining within 3 days prior to the intended start of the strike.

Our Recommendation: Ought Not to Pass

To view our testimony on LD 900, click here.

An Act Increasing Municipal Agent Fees for Motor Vehicle, All-terrain Vehicle, Snowmobile and Watercraft Registrations (LD 917)

This bill allows municipal agents to charge higher service fees for registrations for motor vehicles, from $3 to $5 for renewals and from $4 to $6 for new registrations. It also allows municipal agents to charge higher service fees for registrations for all-terrain vehicles, snowmobiles and watercraft, from $1 to $3 for renewals and from $2 to $5 for new registrations.

Our Recommendation: Ought Not to Pass

To view our testimony on LD 917, click here.

An Act To Implement the State’s Recently Approved Request for a Section 1115 Demonstration for MaineCare (LD 981)

This bill is a concept draft pursuant to Joint Rule 208. This bill proposes to implement the State’s request for approval of a so-called Section 1115 demonstration for MaineCare that was recently granted by the United States Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Under the bill, an individual who receives MaineCare benefits will be required to: 1) Work 20 hours a week; 2) Pay monthly premiums of up to $40; and 3) Contribute $10 if the individual goes to an emergency department for a nonemergency issue.

Our Recommendation: Ought to Pass

To view our testimony on LD 981, click here.

An Act To Maintain High School Diploma Standards by Repealing Proficiency-based Diploma Standards (LD 985)

This bill repeals the provisions of law that allow diplomas indicating graduation from a secondary school to be based on a student’s demonstration of proficiency.

Our Recommendation: Ought to Pass

To view our testimony on LD 985, click here.

An Act Making Unified Appropriations and Allocations for the Expenditures of State Government, General Fund and Other Funds, and Changing Certain Provisions of the Law Necessary to the Proper Operations of State Government for the Fiscal Years Ending June 30, 2019, June 30, 2020 and June 30, 2021 (LD 1001)

This bill as emergency legislation proposes to make unified appropriations and allocations for the expenditures of State Government, General Fund and other funds and change certain provisions of the law necessary to the proper operations of State Government for the fiscal years ending June 30, 2019, June 30, 2020 and June 30, 2021, as submitted by the Governor pursuant to the Maine Revised Statutes, Title 5.

Our Recommendation: Ought Not to Pass

To view our testimony on the Medicaid section of the budget, click here.
To view our testimony on the Education section of the budget, click here.

An Act To Eliminate the 100-megawatt Limit on Hydroelectric Generators under the Renewable Resources Laws (LD 1027)

This bill removes the 100-megawatt capacity limit for a hydroelectric generator that meets all state and federal fish passage requirements applicable to generators to qualify as a renewable capacity resource and for a hydroelectric generator to qualify as a renewable resource for the purpose of meeting the State’s renewable resource portfolio requirement.

Our Recommendation: Ought to Pass

To view our testimony on LD 1027, click here.

An Act To Prevent and Reduce Tobacco Use with Adequate Funding and by Raising the Tax on Tobacco Products (LD 1028)

This bill increases the cigarette tax from $2.00 to $3.50 per pack of 20 cigarettes and increases the tax on all other tobacco products including electronic cigarettes to 81% of the wholesale sales price, beginning November 1, 2019. The bill provides that, if the tax on cigarettes is increased on or after November 1, 2019, the tax on all other tobacco products will be adjusted by a rate that is equivalent to the percentage change in the tax rate for one cigarette. The bill provides ongoing funding, $11,100,000 per year, 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 thereafter for MaineCare members for tobacco use cessation medications and counseling. Finally, the bill provides $250,000 per year in ongoing funding to the Attorney General’s office for increased tobacco enforcement activities.

Our Recommendation: Ought Not to Pass

To view our testimony on LD 1028, click here.

An Act To Base the Vehicle and Mobile Home Excise Tax on Actual Value (LD 1031)

This bill changes the method of computing the excise tax that is levied on motor vehicles, including commercial motor vehicles, buses and camper trailers, and mobile homes registered in the State. With the exception of certain commercial motor vehicles and buses and special mobile equipment, current law requires that the excise tax be based upon the maker’s list price for the motor vehicle or mobile home; the excise tax on certain commercial motor vehicles and buses and special mobile equipment is based on the purchase price. This bill requires that the excise tax for all motor vehicles, mobile homes and camper trailers be based upon the actual value of the vehicle or mobile home at the time of delivery to the owner, as determined by sources approved by the State Tax Assessor.

Our Recommendation: Ought to Pass

To view our testimony on LD 1031, click here.

An Act Regarding Collective Bargaining for Public Employees under the Municipal Public Employees Labor Relations Laws (LD 1041)

This bill amends provisions relating to collective bargaining by public employees covered by municipal public employees labor relations laws, including: 1. Repealing the provision that prohibits public employees from stopping or slowing work, striking or blacklisting public employers to prevent the employers from filling vacancies; and 2. Requiring both parties to collective bargaining to have an individual present who is authorized to reach a tentative agreement.

Our Recommendation: Ought Not to Pass

To view our testimony on LD 1041, click here.

An Act To Establish Universal Public Preschool Programs (LD 1043)

This bill specifies that it is the goal of the State to ensure that public preschool programs for children 4 years of age are offered by all school administrative units by the 2020-2021 school year. In order to achieve that goal, this bill requires the Department of Education to develop recommendations and report back to the Joint Standing Committee on Education and Cultural Affairs by January 1, 2020. Recommendations must include: 1. Standards for public preschool programs; 2. A process for approval and certification of programs not operated by a school administrative unit, including, but not limited to, a Head Start program or other program affiliated with the school administrative unit; and 3. Funding for public preschool programs. The Joint Standing Committee on Education and Cultural Affairs may report out legislation to the Second Regular Session of the 129th Legislature to implement the recommendations in the report.

Our Recommendation: Ought Not to Pass

An Act To Support the Role of Municipalities in Expanding Broadband Infrastructure (LD 1063)

This bill recognizes broadband Internet as a public necessity. It designates a community broadband system or part of that system as a revenue-producing municipal facility. It allows a municipality to construct, maintain and operate a municipal or multimunicipal system composed of infrastructure capable of being utilized by communications service providers for the provision of communications services. The bill prohibits a municipality from providing retail communications services through community broadband systems to nonmunicipal entities. The bill exempts community broadband systems from taxation.

Our Recommendation: Ought Not to Pass

To view our testimony on LD 1063, click here.

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

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.

Our Recommendation: Ought Not to Pass

To view our testimony on LD 1070, click here.

An Act To Implement Ranked-choice Voting for Presidential Primary and General Elections in Maine (LD 1083)

This bill provides that, whenever the state committee of a qualified political party certifies that there is a contest among candidates for nomination as the presidential candidate of the party and that the committee has voted to conduct a presidential primary election, the State shall hold a presidential primary election on a date in March of the presidential election year chosen by the Secretary of State in consultation with the parties. Only voters who are enrolled in the party may vote in that party’s presidential primary election. The votes cast in the presidential primary for each party must be tabulated according to the ranked-choice method of tabulating votes. The selection of delegates to the national presidential nominating convention for each party and allocation of those delegates among primary candidates must be in accordance with any reasonable procedures established at the state party convention. This bill also requires the ballots cast for presidential electors during the general election to be tabulated according to the ranked-choice method of tabulating votes.

Our Recommendation: Ought Not to Pass

To view our testimony on LD 1083, click here.

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

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.

Our Recommendation: Ought to Pass

To view our testimony on LD 1098, click here.

An Act To Improve the Health and Economic Security of Older Residents (LD 1106)

This bill removes the asset test for the Medicare savings program and the elderly low-cost drug program. It also increases the income eligibility levels for the Medicare savings program and the elderly low-cost drug program to the levels in effect prior to Public Law 2011, chapter 657. The Department of Health and Human Services is required to submit any necessary state plan amendments for approval for the increases in income eligibility.

Our Recommendation: Ought Not to Pass

To view our testimony on LD 1106, click here.

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

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.

Our Recommendation; Ought Not to Pass

To view our testimony on LD 1110, click here.

An Act To Make the Maine Educational Assessment Optional for Kindergarten to Grade 8 (LD 1152)

This bill makes the currently mandatory state assessment program for schools optional for kindergarten to grade 8.

Our Recommendation: Ought to Pass

To view our testimony on LD 1152, click here.

An Act To Fix Maine’s Roads and Bridges by Establishing a Seasonal Gasoline Tax Adjustment (LD 1157)

This bill adjusts the tax imposed on gasoline on a seasonal basis, so that the tax is 27¢ per gallon from November 1st to May 31st and 37¢ per gallon from June 1st to October 31st annually. The current tax rate on gasoline is 30¢ per gallon. This bill also repeals the requirement that an inventory tax be paid on gasoline on hand whenever there is an increase in the tax.

Our Recommendation: Ought Not to Pass

TO view our testimony on LD 1157, click here.

An Act To Improve Public Sector Labor Relations (LD 1177)

This bill: 1) Amends the labor relations laws governing municipal public employees and University of Maine System employees to provide that determinations by arbitrators with respect to controversies over all subjects, including salaries, pensions and insurance, are final and binding on the parties; 2) Amends the labor relations laws governing state employees to provide that, with respect to controversies over salaries, an arbitrator’s determinations are final and binding on the parties; and 3) Amends the labor relations laws governing judicial employees to provide that an arbitrator’s determinations with respect to controversies over all subjects, including salaries, pensions and insurance, are final and binding on the parties and that, with respect to controversies over salaries, determinations by mediator-arbitrators are final and binding on the parties.

Our Recommendation: Ought Not to Pass

To view our testimony on LD 1177, click here.

RESOLUTION, Proposing an Amendment to the Constitution of Maine To Implement Ranked-choice Voting (LD 1196)

This resolution proposes to amend the Constitution of Maine to require candidates for the political offices of Governor, State Senator and State Representative to be elected by a majority of the votes cast for that office.

Our Recommendation: Ought Not to Pass

To view our testimony on LD 1196, click here.

An Act To Require Legislative Hearings on Citizen-initiated Legislation (LD 1209)

This bill requires a petition for the direct initiative of legislation, once it has been certified by the Secretary of State to be submitted to the Legislature for consideration by the Legislature to receive a public hearing before a joint standing committee of the Legislature or a special legislative committee established by the Legislative Council. The public hearing must be conducted in the same manner as other public hearings.

Our Recommendation: Ought to Pass

To view our testimony on LD 1209, click here.

An Act To Repeal the Ranked-choice Voting Law (LD 1213)

This bill repeals the laws governing ranked-choice voting.

Our Recommendation: Ought to Pass

To view our testimony on LD 1213, click here.

An Act To Fund Energy Efficiency Programs through a Fee on the Sale of Unregulated Heating Fuels (LD 1231)

Starting July 1, 2020, this bill imposes a fee of 1% on the wholesale sale price of heating oil, propane, coal, kerosene and dyed diesel fuel that is intended for residential or commercial heating purposes. The bill requires the revenue raised through the imposition of this fee to be used to provide additional funding for the Heating Fuels Efficiency and Weatherization Fund, which is administered by the Efficiency Maine Trust for the purpose of reducing heating fuel consumption and providing energy efficiency and weatherization products and services to consumers.

Our Recommendation: Ought Not to Pass

To view our testimony on LD 1231, click here.

An Act To Ensure the Right To Work without Payment of Dues or Fees to a Labor Union as a Condition of Employment (LD 1232)

This bill prohibits a person, either in the public or private sector, from being required to join a labor organization or pay any labor organization dues or fees as a condition of employment or continuation of employment, notwithstanding any state law to the contrary. A violation is a Class D crime and is also subject to civil damages and injunctive relief. The Attorney General is responsible for enforcement and is required to prosecute all violations.

Our Recommendation: Ought to Pass

To view our testimony on LD 1232, click here.

An Act To Simplify Municipal Collective Bargaining by Removing the 120-Day Notice Required Prior to Certain Negotiations (LD 1237)

This bill repeals the requirement that a bargaining agent for municipal public employees submit a written request for collective bargaining to the public employer of those municipal public employees at least 120 days before the conclusion of the current fiscal operating budget.

Our Recommendation: Ought Not to Pass

An Act To Authorize a Local Option Sales Tax on Meals and Lodging and Provide Funding To Treat Opioid Use Disorder (LD 1254)

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.

Our Recommendation: Ought Not to Pass

To view our testimony on LD 1254, click here.

RESOLUTION, Proposing an Amendment to the Constitution of Maine To Require Referenda To Receive 60 Percent of the Vote To Become Law (LD 1255)

This resolution proposes to amend the Constitution of Maine to require that a direct initiative of legislation or a competing measure receive at least 60% of the votes cast to become law.

Our Recommendation: Ought to Pass

To view our testimony on LD 1255, click here.

An Act To Prepare Maine for a Low-carbon Transportation Future (LD 1257) 

This bill authorizes the Secretary of State to require the owner of an electric vehicle to pay an electric vehicle registration surcharge of $25 per year when at least 3,000 electric vehicles are annually registered in the State. The amount of the surcharge increases to $50 per year when at least 10,000 electric vehicles are annually registered in the State. The municipality that collects the annual electric vehicle registration surcharge is required to expend no less than 50% of the surcharge to construct or modify public infrastructure that facilitates the charging of electric vehicles for use by the general public or for other purposes that encourage or support the purchase and use by the general public of electric vehicles. The bill also directs the Governor’s Energy Office to convene an electric vehicle task force, which is charged with reviewing a number of matters relating to electric vehicles and electric vehicle infrastructure. The director of the office is required to report by February 15, 2020 to the Joint Standing Committee on Energy, Utilities and Technology and the Joint Standing Committee on Transportation regarding any recommendations of the task force, including proposed legislation. After reviewing the report, the committees may report out legislation to the Second Regular Session of the 129th Legislature. The bill also directs the Commissioner of Transportation to take a number of actions regarding short-term and long-term planning for road infrastructure and highway funding, including a review of potential new vehicle or road use fees. The commissioner is directed to report by February 15, 2021 to the joint standing committees of the Legislature having jurisdiction over energy, utilities and technology matters and transportation matters regarding those actions and including any findings and recommendations and proposed legislation necessary to implement those recommendations. After reviewing the report, the committees may report out legislation to the First Regular Session of the 130th Legislature.

Our Recommendation: Ought Not to Pass

An Act Regarding Telehealth (LD 1263)

This bill does the following: 1) It provides immunity from liability to health care practitioners who voluntarily provide health care services through telehealth in the same manner as immunity is provided to health care practitioners who voluntarily provide health care services in person; 2) It requires carriers that offer health plans in this State to provide coverage for health care services provided through telehealth services in the same manner as coverage is provided for services provided in person and sets forth certain standards for coverage of telehealth services; 3) It clarifies that carriers may apply prior approval and credentialing requirements for providers for services provided through telehealth services only if the requirements are the same as are applied for services provided in person; 4) It makes the bill’s provisions apply to health insurance policies issued or renewed on or after January 1, 2020.

Our Recommendation: Ought to Pass

To view our testimony on LD 1263, click here.

An Act To Establish a Green New Deal for Maine (LD 1282)

This bill does the following. Part A requires competitive electricity providers to demonstrate, by 2040, that their portfolios of supply sources for retail electricity sales in this State are 80% accounted for by renewable resources. It also amends the State’s goals for long-term reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Part B creates the Task Force for a Green New Deal, which consists of 11 members including representatives of State Government, climate science, renewable energy, youth, labor and business. The task force is charged with creating a plan to advance environmental sustainability, renewable energy and economic growth for the State. The plan must include, but is not limited to, a renewable resources strategy to achieve 80% reliance on renewable resources for electricity supply by 2040; a job training strategy, including a training program to prepare workers for green jobs; and a residential energy strategy that provides incentives for installation of solar energy systems and heat pumps. The task force is required to submit a report on its plan by January 15, 2020 to the Governor, the Joint Standing Committee on Innovation, Development, Economic Advancement and Business, the Joint Standing Committee on Energy, Utilities and Technology and the Joint Standing Committee on Environment and Natural Resources. Part C requires the Public Utilities Commission and the Efficiency Maine Trust to submit a report by January 1, 2020 that includes draft legislation to establish a virtual net metering program to encourage installation of solar photovoltaic energy systems on public school buildings. Part D creates the Commission on a Just Transition to a Low-carbon Economy. The commission includes 13 members. The purpose of the commission is to ensure that the State’s transition to a low-carbon economy benefits all residents fairly and equitably. The commission is required to submit an annual report to the Legislature.

Our Recommendation: Ought Not to Pass

An Act To Lower Maine’s Individual Income Tax (LD 1292)

This bill decreases over 3 years the rate of taxation imposed on individual income by: 1. Decreasing the lowest rate from 5.8% to 5.2% for tax years 2020 and 2021 and to 5% beginning in 2022; 2. Decreasing the middle rate from 6.75% to 6.3% for tax years 2020 and 2021 and to 6% beginning in 2022; and 3. Decreasing the highest rate from 7.15% to 7.05% for tax years 2020 and 2021 and to 7% beginning in 2022. This bill also changes cross-references in the Tax Relief Fund for Maine Residents and inflation adjustment statutes.

Our Recommendation: Ought to Pass

RESOLUTION, Proposing an Amendment to the Constitution of Maine To Require State and Congressional Elections To Be Decided by a Plurality of Votes Cast (LD 1332) 

This resolution proposes to amend the Constitution of Maine to provide that a primary election for State Representative, State Senator or Governor must be decided by a plurality of votes cast. It also provides that a primary, general or special election for United States Representative or United States Senator must be decided by a plurality of votes cast.

Our Recommendation: Ought to Pass

To view our testimony on LD 1332, click here.

An Act To Protect Teachers from Unfair Evaluations (LD 1338)

This bill removes the requirement in current law that the criteria to establish the order of layoff and recall of teachers must include the teacher’s effectiveness rating as a factor. It also amends the provisions in current law governing the use of teacher effectiveness ratings.

Our Recommendation: Ought Not to Pass

An Act To Ensure a Fair Workweek (LD 1345)

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.

Our Recommendation: Ought Not to Pass

To view our testimony on LD 1345, click here.

An Act Regarding Net Neutrality and Internet Policy (LD 1364)

This bill prohibits a state agency or instrumentality from committing state funds in a manner that the agency or instrumentality knows would result in a direct payment to an Internet service provider unless the Internet service provider agrees in writing to conform to the requirements of the Federal Communications Commission order, FCC 15-24, adopted on February 26, 2015, known as the Open Internet Order.

Our Recommendation: Ought Not to Pass

To view our testimony on LD 1364, click here.

RESOLUTION, Proposing an Amendment to the Constitution of Maine To Provide for the Election of the Governor by Majority Vote (LD 1365)

This resolution proposes to amend the Constitution of Maine to require that the Governor be elected by majority vote.

Our Recommendation: Ought Not to Pass

To view our testimony on LD 1365, click here.

An Act Regarding the Determination of the Prevailing Wage Rate for Public Works Projects (LD 1386)

This bill directs the Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Standards, when determining prevailing hourly wages and benefits, to collect one set of data through conducting a survey of wages and benefits and a 2nd set of data through certified payroll submissions on state construction projects during 2 weeks in July of each year and to use the higher wage and benefit information of the 2 data sets to determine the prevailing hourly wage and benefit rate. This bill also increases from $50 to $250 the penalty for failing to provide requested information to the bureau.

Our Recommendation: Ought Not to Pass

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

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.

Our Recommendation: Ought Not to Pass

An Act To Maintain the Integrity of the Department of Education by Prohibiting Its Promotion of Policies and Practices That Are Not Based on Rigorous Peer Review and Analysis, Limiting Acceptance of Private Funding in Implementing and Influencing State Policy and Retaining the Home Rule Powers to School Administrative Units (LD 1425)

This bill prohibits the Commissioner of Education and Department of Education personnel from promoting policies, programs, procedures or experiments in schools that do not adhere to rigorous standards of peer review and established statistical procedures for determining the effectiveness in producing clearly identified outcomes and from contracting with and accepting funding from private entities to implement state policies. This bill also directs the commissioner to withdraw from the New England Secondary School Consortium and prohibits the commissioner from maintaining membership in regional or national groups that are funded by private entities. The bill also directs the Department of Education, in consultation with school administrative units and the Maine Municipal Association, to study how to return home rule powers to school administrative units.

Our Recommendation: Ought to Pass

An Act To Require Corporate Transparency When Taxpayer Funding Is Provided (LD 1423)

This bill changes the standards of conduct for directors under the Maine Nonprofit Corporation Act and for directors and officers under the Maine Business Corporation Act to add compliance with the laws governing monopolies and profiteering and acting in accordance with the purpose for which the corporation is organized and not in a manner that facilitates bias and partiality in governance. It specifies that officers and directors of business corporations may not act to cause a detrimental effect on the purpose of nonprofit corporations. It requires a corporation under the Maine Nonprofit Corporation Act to include a list of private contributions received in its annual report. It requires a corporation under the Maine Business Corporation Act that receives a business equipment tax exemption or participates in a tax increment financing or credit enhancement program to include a list of all donations distributed to nonprofit corporations or public entities in its annual report.

Our Recommendation: Ought Not to Pass

To view our testimony on LD 1423, click here.

An Act To Require the State To Fund 50 Percent of Public Preschool Programs (LD 1428)

This bill requires the State to fund a minimum of 50% of the costs of an approved public preschool program for each year a school administrative unit operates the program, other than the year in which the school administrative unit receives start-up funds for the program. If funds for essential programs and services do not provide the funding necessary to fund a minimum of 50% of approved public preschool programs, the State is directed to use other funding sources and the Commissioner of Education is directed to include the funding levels necessary in the Department of Education’s request to the Legislature for appropriations from the General Fund.

Our Recommendation: Ought Not to Pass

An Act To Clarify the Intent of Referendum Questions for Voters (LD 1438)

his bill requires the Secretary of State, with the assistance of the Attorney General and the Revisor of Statutes, to prepare a summary of each referendum question that explains the referendum question to the voter and to place this summary on the ballot after the corresponding referendum question. This summary may not exceed 250 words, except that additional words may be used if the Secretary of State considers it necessary and space on the ballot permits.

Our Recommendation: Ought to Pass

To view our testimony on LD 1438, click here.

An Act To Provide Debt-free Educational Opportunities for Maine Residents (LD 1445)

This bill establishes the Debt-free Educational Opportunities for Maine Residents program. The bill requires, beginning in fiscal year 2019-20, the Finance Authority of Maine to provide eligible Maine residents a grant in the amount of the cost of tuition and other expenses related to the cost of attendance at an eligible school, including the cost of room and board, books, supplies and fees, charged to a student enrolled in courses leading to completion of an eligible program of study on at least a part-time basis at a public institution of higher education in the State in which the student is enrolled, less all other gift aid. An eligible program of study means a curriculum leading to a baccalaureate degree, associate degree or certificate. An eligible full-time or part-time student may receive a grant for one academic year and may receive grants for the equivalent of a 4-year baccalaureate program at the eligible school the student is attending.

Our Recommendation: Ought Not to Pass

An Act To Simplify Voting in Maine by Placing a Moratorium on Ranked-choice Voting (LD 1447)

This bill suspends the use of ranked-choice voting until elections held after December 1, 2023. The bill provides that the laws governing ranked-choice voting are repealed December 1, 2023 unless the Constitution of Maine is amended to authorize the Legislature to determine the method by which the Governor and members of the Legislature are elected.

Our Recommendation: Ought to Pass

To view our testimony on LD 1447, click here.

An Act Providing Labor Unions with Reasonable Access to Current and Newly Hired Public Sector Workers (LD 1451)

This bill makes changes to the laws governing collective bargaining for municipal employees, state employees, judicial employees and employees of the University of Maine System, the Maine Maritime Academy and the Maine Community College System to provide a collective bargaining agent with greater access to employees and employee information for those employees represented by that collective bargaining agent. It also provides a collective bargaining agent with the right to use any government building or facility to conduct meetings with its members, as long as that use does not interfere with governmental operations. The government entity may charge the collective bargaining agent for any additional costs that use may incur.

Our Recommendation: Ought Not to Pass

To view our testimony on LD 1451, click here.

An Act Concerning Elections in Maine Congressional Districts (LD 1454)

This bill provides that the voters of a congressional district must determine by referendum vote the method used in that congressional district to elect their Representative to Congress. The voters of a congressional district may choose to elect their Representative to Congress by plurality voting or by ranked-choice voting. The bill requires that such a referendum be held in each congressional district on a date established by the Secretary of State, but not later than 180 days after the effective date of the legislation.

Our Recommendation: Ought to Pass

To view our testimony on LD 1454, click here.

An Act To Create an Automatic Voter Registration System (LD 1463)

This bill establishes, beginning January 1, 2022, a method of automatically registering eligible individuals to vote. The Department of the Secretary of State, Bureau of Motor Vehicles, when receiving any documentation from an individual doing business with the bureau, including applying for or renewing a driver’s license or nondriver identification card, is required to scan and electronically store the documentation provided by the individual. If the documentation provides proof of eligibility to vote, including citizenship, age and residency, that individual is added to the central voter registration system and relevant information is transmitted to election officials unless the individual, at the time of the collection of the documentation, chooses not to be registered to vote, which the Secretary of State is required to ensure that an individual is given the opportunity to do. An application or document used to collect information that may be used to register an individual must contain a notice that the individual’s information may be used to register that individual to vote, meaning that the information would be available by persons other than the State or election officials. An election official must provide the same notice to an individual upon receipt of the registration record from the Bureau of Motor Vehicles and also must inform the individual of the ability to choose not to be registered to vote and to pick a party affiliation. If the individual fails to respond within 21 days, the individual is considered a registered voter if that individual meets the qualifications to be registered as a voter. The Secretary of State and the Governor are allowed to designate other state agencies and departments and public and private entities, such as colleges and municipal clerk offices, as so-called source agencies that are allowed to submit registration information to the bureau for inclusion in the central voter registration system, but only if those agencies, as part of their normal course of business, collect information that provides proof of eligibility to vote, including an entity that, as of January 1, 2022, is designated under the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 as a voter registration agency that collects information that provides proof of voter eligibility. A source agency is required to comply with the same restrictions regarding sharing and use of documentation as the bureau. Information from a source agency may also be used to update an individual’s voter registration. This bill exempts from liability an individual who is not qualified to be a registered voter but who becomes a registered voter by operation of the automatic registration, as long as that individual has not knowingly or willfully provided false information. This bill also requires the Secretary of State to adopt major substantive rules to implement the new automatic voter registration system and submit those rules, along with any proposed legislation necessary for the proper implementation of the new system, to the Second Regular Session of the 129th Legislature. Finally, this bill lowers the age at which a person may submit a conditional registration to vote and enrollment in a political party from 17 years of age to 16 years of age.

Our Recommendation: Ought Not to Pass

An Act To Diversify Maine’s Energy Portfolio with Renewable Energy (LD 1465)

This bill does the following. 1. It increases the portfolio requirement for new renewable resources from 10% to 50% by 2030 and makes several changes to resource eligibility for the requirement to encourage solar generation and highly productive hydropower resources and to provide minimum efficiency standards for biomass resources. 2. It directs the Public Utilities Commission to procure long-term contracts over a 5-year period for 800 megawatts of grid-scale renewable resources, 90 megawatts of community-based renewable resources and 135 megawatts of renewable resources owned by commercial and industrial electricity customers. For each of these 3 types of renewable resources, the bill requires the commission to conduct annual solicitations for the long-term contracts and specifies requirements for the procurement process, resulting contracts and resource qualification. 3. It requires that the Public Utilities Commission rules governing net energy billing allow up to 200 customers to share ownership of an electricity generating facility for net energy billing, allow electricity generating facilities of up to one megawatt installed capacity to qualify for net energy billing and require the commission to review net energy billing when the cumulative capacity of electricity generating facilities that participate in net energy billing in the service territory of a transmission and distribution utility reaches 10% of the utility’s peak demand. 4. It directs the Public Utilities Commission to develop a plan for implementing a thermal renewable resource portfolio standard to encourage commercial and industrial pellet and wood heating systems, residential biomass systems and combined heat and power systems fueled by biomass. It requires the commission to submit a plan for the thermal renewable resource portfolio standard by January 1, 2020. 5. It directs the Public Utilities Commission to develop, implement and evaluate a distributed generation pilot program to encourage on-site renewable energy generation. It requires the commission to evaluate the pilot program after 3 years of operation and report its findings and recommendations to the joint standing committee of the Legislature having jurisdiction over energy matters by April 15, 2023.

Our Recommendation: Ought Not to Pass

RESOLUTION, Proposing an Amendment to the Constitution of Maine To Facilitate the Use of Ranked-choice Voting for Governor and Members of the Legislature (LD 1477)

This resolution proposes an amendment to the Constitution of Maine to allow the Legislature, or the people by using the direct initiative, to determine whether the Governor, State Senators and State Representatives are elected by a plurality or majority of the votes.

Our Recommendation: Ought Not to Pass

To view our testimony on LD 1477, click here.

An Act To Reform Maine’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (LD 1494)

This bill increases the percentage of supply sources for retail electricity sales in the State that must be accounted for by new renewable capacity resources from 10% to 50% by 2030. It also makes several changes to resource eligibility to meet these requirements. The bill also creates a renewable portfolio standard for thermal energy resources. The bill also directs the Public Utilities Commission to procure long-term contracts for an amount of renewable capacity resources that is equal to 1/2 the amount of the portfolio requirements for these resources. The bill requires the commission to conduct annual competitive solicitations for the long-term contracts.

Our Recommendation: Ought Not to Pass

An Act To Protect the Maine Budget Stabilization Fund (LD 1496)

Under Public Law 2017, chapter 284, Part EEEEEEE, the State Controller is required to transfer up to $65,000,000 from the Maine Budget Stabilization Fund, also known as the Rainy Day Fund, to provide General Fund resources to cover any federal disallowance in federal financial participation for Medicaid services and disproportionate share hospital payments related to the Riverview Psychiatric Center. A payment of $10,524,817 was made in early 2019. This bill requires instead that the transfer be made from the Tax Relief Fund for Maine Residents and requires the State Controller to reimburse the Rainy Day Fund for the amount transferred for the federal disallowance related to Riverview Psychiatric Center earlier this year. In the event that sufficient funds do not exist in the Tax Relief Fund for Maine Residents to cover future payments, the funds must come from the Rainy Day Fund, and the Tax Relief Fund for Maine Residents must be used to reimburse the Rainy Day Fund as soon as funds become available.

Our Recommendation: Ought Not to Pass

An Act To Respect the Will of Maine Voters by Implementing a 3 Percent Income Tax Surcharge To Fund Education (LD 1508)

This bill restores provisions of Initiated Bill 2015, chapter 4. It establishes the Fund to Advance Public Kindergarten to Grade 12 Education for the purpose of improving the ability of the State to reach the annual target of 55%, as specified in statute, for the state share of the total cost of funding public education from kindergarten to grade 12 and for increasing direct support for student learning, but not for administrative costs. Revenue for the fund is generated by a 3% surcharge on Maine income tax over $200,000, beginning with tax years beginning on or after January 1, 2020.

Our Recommendation: Ought Not to Pass

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

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.

Our Recommendation: Ought Not to Pass

An Act Regarding Compensation Equity for Positions in the Maine Community College System (LD 1538)

This bill requires that the rate of compensation for comparable positions in the Maine Community College System for employees of comparable qualifications, including positions in the occupational groups of faculty and instructors, administrative staff, supervisory, support services, institutional services and police, be the same at every community college in the system. The bill directs the bargaining units of the occupational groups of the system to collectively bargain with the system, its agent or its representative to amend the agreed terms and conditions of employment for employees within the occupational groups to implement the provisions of this bill by January 1, 2020.

Our Recommendation: Ought Not to Pass

An Act To Provide Maine Children Access to Affordable Health Care (LD 1539)

This bill makes the following changes to the Cub Care program. 1) It changes the maximum eligibility level for family income from 200% of the federal poverty level to 325% of the federal poverty level; 2) It removes the 3-month waiting period for enrollment in the Cub Care program following the loss of health insurance or coverage under an employer-based plan; 3) It establishes that eligibility is not subject to an asset test; 4) It provides coverage to persons 19 and 20 years of age and to noncitizens under 21 years of age. The Department of Health and Human Services is required to use state funds to fund the program but may apply for waivers or state plan amendments to the United States Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to receive federal matching funds; 5) It repeals the provisions regarding premium payments for the Cub Care program; 6) It requires the department to contract for outreach activities rather than providing them directly. The department must have a contract or contracts in place no later than January 1, 2020. The department is also required to seek federal grant funds for additional outreach activities under the federal Helping Ensure Access for Little Ones, Toddlers, and Hopeful Youth by Keeping Insurance Delivery Stable Act, Public Law 115-120 and the federal Advancing Chronic Care, Extenders and Social Services (ACCESS) Act, Public Law 115-123; and 7) It requires the department to submit a state plan amendment to the United States Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to implement the use of the express lane eligibility option no later than January 1, 2020 and to implement it no later than 6 months after receiving approval.

Our Recommendation: Ought Not to Pass

An Act To Protect State Employees When Their Contracts Have Expired (LD 1546)

This bill provides that, during an interim between the expiration of a state employee collective bargaining agreement and before the effective date of any subsequent collective bargaining agreement, state employees covered by the expired collective bargaining agreement remain eligible for and must receive merit increases in accordance with the terms and conditions set forth in the expired collective bargaining agreement and the public employer is required to pay any increase in employee health insurance premiums occurring during the interim.

Our Recommendation: Ought Not to Pass

An Act To Encourage the Use of Renewable Energy (LD 1562)

This bill: 1) Establishes the Renewable Energy Program to promote the achievement of the following goal: that, by January 1, 2050, 100% of the energy consumed in this State will be supplied by renewable resources; 2) Directs that, no later than January 1, 2030, all electricity purchased by state agencies must be supplied by renewable resources and that, no later than January 1, 2050, all heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems in state-owned or state-leased buildings must be electrical and the electricity must be supplied by renewable resources; and 3) Directs that, no later than January 1, 2050, all vehicles acquired for the state vehicle fleet must be electric vehicles.

Our Recommendation: Ought Not to Pass

An Act To Encourage the Development of Broadband Coverage in Rural Maine (LD 1563)

This bill is a concept draft pursuant to Joint Rule 208. This bill proposes to establish the Maine Broadband Initiative to encourage, promote, stimulate, invest in and support universal high-speed broadband to unserved and underserved areas of the State. The bill would also establish the Maine Broadband Initiative Fund to provide ongoing funding for high-speed broadband through funding sources that would be identified in the bill.

Our Recommendation: Ought Not to Pass

RESOLUTION, Proposing an Amendment to the Constitution of Maine To Protect Voter-approved Measures (LD 1565)

This resolution proposes an amendment to the Constitution of Maine to allow the Legislature to change a direct initiative approved by the voters at referendum if the change clarifies or further advances the original intent of the direct initiative. A change to such a direct initiative made by the Legislature no later than one year after the direct initiative takes effect that frustrates the effectuation or implementation of the direct initiative does not go into effect until submitted to the voters at referendum and approved by a majority of those voting on the question. The resolution also authorizes the Legislature to provide a process for the review of a direct initiative before petition forms are furnished or approved by the Secretary of State.

Our Recommendation: Ought Not to Pass

An Act To Allow Residents To Register Online To Vote (LD 1570)

This bill allows online application for voter registration by an eligible resident of the State through the Secretary of State’s publicly accessible website.

Our Recommendation: Ought Not to Pass