This Week in Augusta – 1.20.2015

Date: January 21, 2015

Legislative committee continue this week with organizational
and orientation meetings.

SESSION

Senate & House Sessions – 10 a.m. Tuesday and Wednesday

BUDGET

Lawmakers, lobbyists, and many others are still digesting
the Governor’s proposed 2016-2107 State Budget and the significant tax reform
and tax relief proposal.

Governor LePage is proposing tax changes that NFIB members
have supported in the past, changes members have opposed, and changes on which they
have not yet expressed their opinion.  NFIB
Maine is working on an outline of the tax proposal in advance of asking business
owners for their views.

Meantime, here is a link to a spreadsheet prepared by Maine
Revenue Services that shows a four-year analysis of the expected fiscal
effects.

www.maine.gov/legis/ofpr/appropriations_committee/materials/index.htm

Addition information is available on the Bureau of the
Budget website as well as that of the Appropriations Committee.

www.maine.gov/budget

www.maine.gov/legis/ofpr/appropriations_committee/materials/index.htm

 

LEGISLATION

A list of legislators requested bills (by title) is now
available.  The list contains 1,514
titles.  Another 147 titles were
submitted by state agencies and departments.

http://legislature.maine.gov/uploads/originals/127th-1st-reg-legislator-requests-by-sponsor.pdf

http://legislature.maine.gov/uploads/originals/agency-department-bills-127th-legislature-1st-reg-revised.pdf

 

Legislation expected to be considered includes:

Business

·        
Changing penalties for writing bad checks

·        
Making it a crime to intentionally interfere
with business operations

·        
Prohibiting the delegation of eminent domain to
a private entity

Energy/Environment

·        
Reducing waste caused by use of disposable bags
and  polystyrene food containers

·        
Lowering energy costs

Healthcare

·        
Expanding access to Medicaid and health
insurance

·        
Expanding what treatments are covered by health
insurance

Employment

·        
Establishing a paid family leave insurance
program

·        
Simplifying and standardizing process for
employers to establish a drug-free workplace

·        
Requiring at least 2 week’s advance notice of
work schedule changes for certain hourly workers

·        
Providing workers with advance work schedules

·        
Protecting workers from abusive work
environments

·        
Adopting a Retail Workers Bill of Rights

·        
Requiring adequate rest breaks for employees

·        
Assisting working families with young children

·        
Protecting pre-employment credit privacy

·        
Encouraging greater efficiency in the
unemployment insurance system

·        
Promoting re-employment of unemployed workers

·        
Ensuring that membership in public employee
unions is voluntary

·        
Increasing the minimum wage and adjusting it
annually

·        
Clarifying the responsibilities of the executive
director of the Workers Compensation Board

Economic Development

·        
Modernizing Maine’s economy and its workforce

·        
Attracting entrepreneurs to Maine

·        
Strengthening Maine’s economy and promoting job
growth

·        
Developing high-wage, highly-skilled jobs in
Maine

Taxes

·        
Establishing a local option sales tax

·        
Establishing a sales tax holiday

·        
Limiting property tax increases

·        
Providing income tax relief

·        
Making the income tax more progressive

·        
Reducing property taxes by increasing the sales
tax

·        
Ensuring that tax expenditures (business
incentives) create high-quality jobs

Miscellaneous

·        
Prohibiting tax-subsidized competition

·        
Evaluating state contracts quantitatively

·        
Improving the process of awarding state
contracts

·        
Establishing a commission to study
transportation funding reform

 

Democrats announced last week their policy focus this
session will be on workforce development, job training, college affordability,
attracting young people to Maine, and creating jobs and building public-private
partnerships with businesses.  This focus
is similar to what Democrats announced two years ago.

www.speakereves.com/speaker-eves-maines-comeback-story-starts-with-good-jobs-and-strong-wages/

As of today 107 bills have been printed.

www.mainelegislature.org/legis/bills/bills_127th/billtexts/

LOOKING AHEAD

Governor LePage is scheduled to deliver a “State of the
Budget” message to a joint session of the legislature at 7 p.m. on Tuesday,
February 3rd.

KEY WEBSITES

Governor – www.maine.gov/governor

Legislature – http://legislature.maine.gov

Related Content: Small Business News | Maine

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