Posts Tagged ‘Pending Legislation’

LURC draws fire, support during legislative hearing

Wednesday, May 18th, 2011

By Christopher Cousins

AUGUSTA, Maine — Supporters and opponents of the Land Use Regulation Commission turned out in droves Tuesday to either trash or sing the praises of the commission and its 40 years of influence over more than 10 million acres of Maine’s Unorganized Territory.

Depending on who was speaking, LURC either protects Maine’s North Woods from rampant and destructive sprawl or stands in the way of economic development that could curb a more than 10 percent average unemployment rate in the Unorganized Territory.

Read Full Story in the Bangor Daily News

LURC abolition bill introduced

Monday, January 10th, 2011

By Mal Leary, Capitol News Service

AUGUSTA, Maine — The 40-year- old Maine Land Use Regulation Commission would be abolished and zoning responsibilities for the state’s Unorganized Territory transferred to the counties under a measure introduced by Rep. Paul Davis, R-Sangerville.

“The issue for me was the Plum Creek hearings and the costs for that permitting,” he said. “My bill would send this whole thing back to the counties and let the counties develop a plan and a permitting process.”

Full Article on:

Measure Aimed at Saving Maine Logging Jobs Moves Forward

Wednesday, March 24th, 2010

The Maine House of Representatives has given initial approval to a bill that could mean big changes for large timberland owners and for loggers who make their living in the North Woods. Lawmakers have voted to penalize landowners enrolled in Maine’s Tree Growth Tax program who then hire Canadian woods workers.

Source: MPBN

PLC Member Input Requested: RE: LD 1543 and LD 1552 (Bonded Labor)

Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010

LD 1552 is scheduled on today’s House calendar.  Status, tabled pending motion to accept majority Ought to Pass committee report.

Click Here to find YOUR State Representative

Click Here for House Audio

As many of you are, aware there are currently two bills currently in legislative committee regarding the use of bonded labor in Maine.  They are:

LD 1545 – An Act To Protect Maine Workers

Sponsored by Senator Troy Jackson (D – Aroostook)

Latest Committee Action: VOTED, Mar 11, 2010, Ant. Div. Rep.

LD 1552 – An Act To Improve Employment Opportunities for Maine Workers in the Forest Industry

Sponsored by Representative John Martin (D – Eagle Lake)

Latest Committee Action: VOTED, Mar 8, 2010, Ant. Div. Rep.

I have attached PDF Versions of each bill for you to review.

I should note that each bill is expected to come out of committee with a divided report along party lines, with the majority party’s recommendation of  “Ought to Pass”, prevailing.

A few points to consider In Favor of the legislation:

– Penalties imposed for use of bonded labor are intended to level the playing field and increase employment of Maine workers

– Bonded Labor effects the labor market, lowering wages, passage would mean landowners would need to pay more for existing labor force

– Fewer workers could limit production leading to an increase in wood prices

– Increased uniformity in bidding of jobs due to similar labor expense

– Bonded Laborers have little to no impact on local economies, because money earned is not spent locally

– Increased employment of Maine workers would help local economy as money earned would be spent locally

A few points to consider Against the proposed legislation:

– Adverse impact of removing land from tree growth may incentivize landowners to sell land outright to a government agency or conservation minded group,

removing land from production.

– These bills now link previously unrelated issues of labor and land ownership. What are the long term implications, is this a door we want to open?

– Government intervention in the right of private land and business owner’s to manage land and run businesses as they see fit.

– Increased costs to meet the administrative requirements for land owners and harvesters with timber rights

– Will this legislation have an unintended impact on exportation of Maine lumber and pulp to Canadian Mills, depressing the market?

– Is there enough available labor? Will this create increased competition for labor, increasing costs?

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