LEGISLATIVE IMPACT REPORT JANUARY 13, 2021

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LEGISLATIVE COMMITTEE CHAIR AND EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR REVIEW 1,812 BILL TITLES

Clark Granger, BOD Vice President and Legislative Committee Chair and Julie Ann Smith, Executive Director, spent the last week reviewing the 1,812 bill titles recently published. Over 300 bill titles have been identified as potentially impacting Maine agriculture. While the language for most of the bills has not yet been published, the subject matter is wide-ranging. Maine Farm Bureau anticipates advocating for farmers on critical issues such as: labor, crop management tools, energy, environment, land management, wildlife management, broadband access, and regulation.

Of significance to all members are the bills that will shape the future of voting in Maine. The scope is broad, from changing how the Secretary of State is elected to voter registration standards. While these issues are important to our members, because they do not directly impact agriculture and we do not have established policy on voting standards, MEFB will not be taking a position on these bills. However, we encourage our members to stay informed by tracking these bills on the Maine State Legislature website.

A Maine Farm Bureau exclusive spreadsheet that details bill titles and sponsors is available to all members via our MEFB News E-Newsletter (published on Wednesdays). The spreadsheet will be updated weekly with positions MEFB takes to support, oppose or monitor bills as they are published, as well as tracking bills as they move through committees and chambers.

WANT ACCESS TO THE SPREADSHEET?

JOINT STANDING COMMITTEE ON APPROPRIATIONS AND FINANCIAL AFFAIRS
The Joint Standing Committee on Appropriations and Financial Affairs will receive reports on Land for Maine’s Future and the Governor’s Climate Council Report on Thursday, January 14th at 1:00 pm. To watch the meeting live (or a recording after the meeting) via YouTube, click HERE.

Land For Maine’s Future Sarah Demers, Director, Land for Maine’s Future, will present a history of funding, sources of revenue, and investment goals. MEFB participated in a stakeholder group which reviewed and discussed the priorities and goals for LMF’s farmland conservation initiative, and how the easement terms should assist the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry in implementing those goals and priorities. We look forward to the Department’s findings, and especially how tax dollars are being invested in agriculture.

Governor’s Climate Council Report Hannah Pingree, Director, Governor’s Office of Policy Innovation and the Future, will present an overview and related funding requirements for the Climate Council Report, which was published in December. A copy of the report can be found HERE

COMMITTEE SUBJECT MATTER FOR THE 130TH LEGISLATURE

The Senate President, Troy Jackson, and Speaker of the House, Ryan Fecteau, recently published the Committee Subject Matter for the 130th Legislature. This is perhaps of more significance this session, as committee assignments will primarily be made by Darek Grant, Secretary of the Senate, and Robert Hunt, Clerk of the House. The description of the subject matter handled by each joint standing committee can be found HERE. It is based on direction from the Presiding Officers, as well as bills referred to committees during the 129th Legislature.  

FIRST 119 BILLS RECIEVE LD#s AND LANGUAGE
As of January 12, 2021, 119 bills have progressed on the path to legislation, transitioning from an LR# (Legislative Reference – bill request) to an LD# (Legislative Document – bill reviewed and approved by the Revisor’s Office). The Legislative Committee will begin meeting to review LDs very soon. If you would like to read any of the published bills, you can search for them HERE by selecting 130 for Session and entering 1 to 200 in LD Number box (see above).

FIRST BILLS SENT TO JOINT STANDING COMMITTEES

118 of the bills have been referred to Joint Standing Committees. The list of those bills and respective committee assignments can be found HERE