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.

Supplemental Budget

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 (LD 2199)
  • 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
Update: The bills above were approved by the legislature, but died due to lawmakers’ failure to act at the end of session.  

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.

Update: LD 1337 was passed by the legislature and became law without the governor’s signature.

Farmworker Protections — LD 2273

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.

Update: LD 2273 was passed by the legislature with bipartisan support, but was vetoed by the governor.

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.

Update: LD 2007 was passed by the legislature and signed by the governor.

Learn more:

MECEP explainer: Tribal Sovereignty
MECEP sit-down: Tribal sovereignty in Maine *featuring Penobscot National Ambassador and MECEP board member Maulian Bryant

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.

Update: LD 1718 was passed by the legislature and on the cusp of making it to the governor’s desk, but died due to lawmakers’ failure to act at the end of session.  

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.

Update: After the committee stripped it of the provisions that would have given Maine’s anti-monopoly laws renewed teeth, LD 1815 was passed by the legislature and signed by the governor.

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.

Update: Lawmakers failed to pass LD 513, but the US Department of Labor recently finalized a rule to update the income threshold from $42,450 to $43,888 per year beginning July 1. On January 1, the threshold will significantly rise to $58,646, meaning workers earning less than that will be compensated for any overtime hours worked. 

Support the passage of new rules that allows the Department of Labor to better enforce important worker protections (LD 2184).

Update: LD 2184 was passed by the legislature and signed by the governor.

Housing (LDs 226, 1074, 1867) including rental assistance (LD 1540) and GA reform (LD 1732)

Update: LDs 226, 1074 and 1867 passed both chambers but died on the appropriations table. LD 1540 failed final enactment, but a version of rental assistance made it into the budget as an $18m pilot program. LD 1732 was passed by the legislature and became law without the governor’s signature.

Expanding access to affordable health care. 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. MECEP also supports bills that increase charity care (LD 1955), increase consumer protections around medical debt (LD 2174) and provide more transparency for hospital facility fees (LD 2271).

Update: LD 1955 was passed by the legislature, but was pocket vetoed by the governor. LD 2174 died between houses. LD 2271 passed the legislature in a much reduced format and became law without the governor’s signature.

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). 

Update: Lawmakers omitted from the budget a measure that would expand recruitment and retention bonuses to state workers and to gradually increase public school teacher minimum salaries to $50,000 per year. The budget did fund a minimum wage for education technicians at 125% of the state minimum wage and other school support staff at 115% beginning in 2025.

MECEP 2022 Legislative PrioritiesMECEP 2023 Legislative Priorities