This Week in Augusta – 1.26.2015

Date: January 26, 2015

Legislative committees continue with another week of orientation
meetings.

SESSION

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

LEGISLATION

As of today 200 bills have been printed.

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

 

Ideas for new laws can be wide ranging.  These proposals may attract particular
interest:

  • An Act To Recognize the Labrador Retriever as
    the Official State Dog (LD 107)
  • An Act To Designate Maple Syrup as the Official
    State Sweetener (LD 110)
  • An Act To Designate the Friendship Sloop as the
    Official State Maritime Symbol (LD 137)

COMMITTEE MEETINGS

NFIB Maine is one of two groups that will be presenting a
“Business Climate Overview” on Thursday (1/29) afternoon to the Committee on
Labor, Commerce, Research & Economic Development (LCRED).

BUDGET

Governor LePage and other people in his administration are
out speaking at meetings of various groups in an effort to explain and sell his
significant tax reform and tax relief plan that is contained in the proposed
2016-2015 State Budget (Part E to Part K; pages 16-64 of draft
legislation).  Public hearings will
likely be held sometime after mid-February. 
Meantime, lawmakers, lobbyists, and many others continue to digest the
Governor’s proposal.

www.maine.gov/budget/documents/2016-2017BiennialBudgetLanguagea1-9-15.pdf

Tax changes proposed by the Governor include 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 will ask small business owners for
their views after more is known about the provisions and effects on state
finances.

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

 

MINIMUM WAGE

Several bills have been printed and a few more are expected.  NFIB Maine expects to oppose these bills.  No public hearings on them have been
scheduled yet.

  • LD 289 – Increase the minimum wage to $8 an hour
    October 1, 2015
  • LD 36 – Increase the minimum wage to $9 an hour
    October 1, 2015, to $10 October 1, 2016, and index it to automatic increases
    starting October 1, 2017
  • LD 77 – Increase the minimum wage to $9.75 an
    hour October 1, 2015
  • LD 52 – Increase the minimum wage to $9.50 an
    hour October 1, 2015

ABUSIVE WORK ENVIRONMENTS

LD 188 exposes employers to civil suits from employees who
have been harmed psychologically, physically or economically by exposure to
abusive work environments.  Employers
would be held responsible for workplace conduct of their employees.  The legislation is part of a national
“Healthy Workplace” movement.  NFIB Maine
expects to oppose this bill.

www.healthyworkplacebill.org/bill.php

 

RESTRICT CELLPHONE USE WHILE DRIVING

LD 185 prohibits the use of mobile telephones while
operating a motor vehicle unless the driver is using a hands-free mode.  Holders of a commercial driver’s license
(CDL) are exempt while driving within the scope of their employment.  Exemptions exist for certain other drivers,
too.  The National Safety Council claims
that hands-free phones are no safer than hand-held.  NFIB Maine expects to oppose this bill as
well as argue for a more balanced approach to exempting people whose driving is
related to their employment.

 

CHILL CORPORATE POLITICAL ACTIVITY

LD 53 requires a majority vote of a corporation’s
shareholders before the corporation makes a political contribution or
expenditure and requires that once the contribution or expenditure has been
made, the corporation posts notice of the contribution or expenditure on its
website.  The clear intent of this bill
is to have a chilling effect on corporate political activity.  The Veterans & Legal Affairs committee
will hold a public hearing at 10 a.m., February 4, in State House Room 437.

 

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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