Legislative Watch List Catch-up


Time flies away some times. This post will update the various “An Act To”s, (AAT) that are working their way through the Second Regular Session of the 127th Maine State Legislature.  The clock is still ticking as AATs trickle through the process.As of this typing, the Legislature as 2 months and 13 days to complete its work.

Judiciary Standing Committee:

LD1163: AAT Amend the Garnishment Laws of the State: No HR impact. The intent is to use the debtor’s income tax refund when/if prompt payments are not made.  Committee Status: TABLED

WGHR: Action/Analysis:  Final report, no longer on the Watch List.

Committee on Labor, Commerce, Research and Investigation

LD1137: AAT Promote Reemployment of Unemployed Workers…proposes to improve Reemployment opportunities for workers who are between jobs in several ways.

Committee Status:

  • The public hearing was held on Monday, April 13, 2015.
  • Voted Ought to Pass on January 21. 2016.  Not Reported Out.

WGHR Action/Analysis

  • Keep on the Watch List
  • Concur with Ought to Pass

LD1240: AAT to Phase Out the Payment of Subminimum Wages to Workers with Disabilities…this Act will phase out the permitted practice of paying disabled workers a wage less than the minimum wage.

Committee Status:

  • The public hearing was on Thursday, May 14, 2015, 29 items of Public Testimony submitted.
  • Work Session: January 21, 2016, TABLED
  • Work Session scheduled for February 11, 2016

WGHR Action/Analysis:

  • Keep on the Watch List
  • Further reading of bill language and testimony.  This ought to be a No Brainer Ought to Pass. The devil is in the nuances.

LD1384: AAT Improve Workplace Safety by Simplifying and Improving Employer’s Substance Abuse Policy Requirements.

Committee Status:

  • Public Hearing: May 18, 2015: 6 items of Public Testimony
  • Work Session: May 20, 2015: TABLED
  • Work Session: May 28, 2015
  • Work Session: January 21, 2016: TABLED

WGHR Action/Analysis:

  • Keep on the Watch List
  • The original legislation dates from 1989 and has been amended once. In other words, may have been become functionally antiquated.  The time for modernization is now. Further analysis pending.

LD1389: AAT Conform Maine Law to Federal Law Reqarding Closings and Mass Layoffs and To Strengthen Employee Severance Pay Protections. This bill seeks to resolve ambiguities between Federal and State law.

Committee Status:

  • Public Hearing: May 18, 2015. Four items of Public Testimony submitted. (Possible link corruption)
  • Work Session: May 20, 2015 TABLED
  • Work Session: May 28, 2015
  • Work Session: January 21, 2016: TABLED

WGHR Action/Analysis:

  • Keep on Watch List
  • One of the banes of business operations is the ambiguities and incongruities between Federal & State laws. In the case, human resources consistent compliance practices come into consideration. Further research and analysis pending.

LD1480: AAT Create and Sustain High-quality Maine Jobs.  Creates a Maine Capital Investment Program within the Finance Authority of Maine. Caveats include $50M minimum business development project cost and create at lease 250 full-time employment positions that pay at least 125% of the state average weekly wage.

Committee Status:

  • Public Hearing: January 12, 2016.  4 items of Public Testimony.
  • Work Session: January 26, 2016. TABLED
  • Work Session: February 9, 2016

WGHR: Action/Analysis

  • Keep on the Watch List as an interest item.
  • This is for larger projects that create at least 250 jobs.  Whether this is truly needed and/or is feasible has yet to be determined.

LD1501: AAT Amend the Law Regarding Disqualification for Unemployment Benefits during Stoppages of Work. The intent is to not pay unemployment benefits when unemployment is due to a stoppage of work that exists because of a labor dispute…  The purpose is to correct an ambiguity that dates from 1985. See ME DOL Public Hearing Testimony.

Committee Status:

  • Public Hearing: Thursday, January 28, 2016
  • Work session scheduled for Thursday, February 11, 2016

WGHR Action/Analysis

  • Keep on the Watch List
  • Ought to Pass

LD1553: AAT Improve the Workers Compensation System. Upon first reading, the AAT focuses on the the predetermination of independent contractor and construction contractor status:

Committee Status:

  • Public Hearing: February 2, 2016: Six items of Public Testimony.
  • Work Session: February 11, 2016

There!  The WGHR Watch List is now caught up and current.  Some of the bills do require further review and analysis.

What are your thoughts?

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