2024 Legislative Priorities
MECEP’s legislative priorities in 2024 aim to advance economic justice and racial equity. We want to bring fairness and accountability to the corporate tax code, ensure Mainers have access to affordable child care and paid family leave, and build a budget that helps families who need it most.
MECEP will continue to play a leadership role among partners in understanding the major elements, informing conversations about shared or competing priorities, and providing analysis on need for investments in crucial areas. MECEP’s goals include, but are not limited to:
- Funding several labor protection bills on the table that if enacted would lead to fairer wages and less discrimination (LD 936), compensation for lost time (LD 1190), and more work-life balance (LD 827)
- Bolstering child care providers by funding based on enrollment instead of attendance (LR 2825)
- Funding a bill (LD 512) that provides tuition free education for Pell eligible students in the University of Maine system
- Allowing appropriators to meet state needs by amending or abolishing the current appropriations cap
Corporate Income Tax Transparency — LD 1337
Taxpayers and legislators should know whether or not the millions of dollars spent on tax breaks for corporations are effective and which companies are actually paying what they owe. LD 1337 would allow taxpayers and legislators to know which publicly traded corporations are using loopholes to avoid paying taxes in Maine altogether, or even worse, receiving refundable credits while using the state’s workers and infrastructure to turn a profit.
Farmworker Protections — legislation forthcoming
For nearly a century, farmworkers in Maine have been explicitly excluded from some of the most basic labor laws, including minimum wage. It is a legacy rooted in racism and today means agricultural workers are far more likely to live in poverty. The people who power our agricultural economy deserve the same rights as everyone else. MECEP urges Governor Mills to propose and pass a strong minimum wage bill that honors and protects the value of these workers’ labor.
Tribal Sovereignty — LD 2007
MECEP stands with the Wabanaki Nations’ call to reform the 1980 Maine Indian Claims Settlement Act and the Maine Implementing Act which limit their inherent rights to self-govern. When the Wabanaki Nations have the tools they need to thrive, all who live within Maine borders benefit.
Higher Education Benefits for Direct Care Workers — LD 1718
Despite progress in recent years, direct care workers — who provide skilled supports and services to older and disabled Mainers and those with behavioral health needs — remain deeply undervalued. LD 1718 would begin to address this issue by providing a public higher education benefit to full-time direct care workers, which would be transferable to the worker’s direct family and grandchildren. This is a modest but important step towards honoring overworked direct care providers, retaining them for years to come, and attracting more workers into this critical field.
Other priority bills include
Abuse of dominance (LD 1815). Making it unlawful to abuse market dominance when conducting business and allow individuals, including the state and municipalities, to sue for damages.
Overtime protections (LD 513). Making an additional 26,000 Mainers eligible for overtime pay by increasing the threshold beneath which salaried workers are automatically considered eligible for overtime pay.
Housing (LDs 226, 1074, 1867) including rental assistance (LD 1710) and GA reform (LD 1732)
Expanding access to affordable health care (LD 1955, LD 2174). MECEP will be monitoring the results of a commission to look at a public option in the state, and continue to push for full immigrant inclusion in MaineCare.
Supporting public servants in their fight for a fair contract and pay (LD 2121) and increasing wages for teachers (LD 1064) and support staff (LD 974)