Policy Tracker

MOFGA promotes legislation that is critical to organic farmers and gardeners, addresses climate change, and supports a healthy environment, a strong rural economy, and a socially just, healthy society. Stay up to date on the bills we are following in the current Maine legislative session with our policy tracker. Read our positions, testimonies, and more. 

Bills That MOFGA Followed In The 2024 Maine Legislative Session

Appropriations

Bill # Title Summaries MOFGA Position MOFGA Testimony Status
LD 2214 An Act to Make Supplemental Appropriations and Allocations for the Expenditures of State Government, General Fund and Other Funds and to Change Certain Provisions of the Law Necessary to the Proper Operations of State Government for the Fiscal Years Ending June 30, 2024 and June 30, 2025. Governor Mills' proposal is here. This emergency legislation proposes to make supplemental appropriations and allocations and change certain laws for the proper operations of State Government. MOFGA monitored mission-related legislative activities that appeared as line items in the supplemental budget. MOFGA Testimony The budget was enacted on April 17, 2024, and included some important funding for addressing PFAS contamination, drought relief, public lands protection, and the Maine Healthy Soils Program. Unfortunately, many of the specific bills that the House and Senate passed, died for lack of funding. Please see details below.

Climate & Energy

Bill # Title Summary MOFGA Position MOFGA Testimony Status
LD 220 An Act to Support Maine's Potato Farmers and Processors This bill would provide $3 million for Maine’s Potato Marketing Improvement Fund to be used for grants to potato farmers for the development of sustainable irrigation water sources. MOFGA advocated for an amended version of this bill that would appropriate $6 million for a non-sector-specific fund to be managed by the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry. MOFGA testimony. The House and Senate supported an amended version of this bill which provides one-time funding of $6,000,000 in fiscal year 2023-24 for drought relief for farmers, with $3,000,000 available to potato farmers through the Potato Marketing Improvement Fund (PMIF) for the development of sustainable irrigation water sources, and $3,000,000 going to the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry’s Farmers Drought Relief Grant Program Fund to be used exclusively for farmers who are not eligible for PMIF grants. The Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee did not support this legislative funding request but, instead, voted to provide one-time funding of $1,000,000 for fiscal year 2024-2025 for Maine's Farmers Drought Relief Grant Program Fund.
LD 1227 An Act to Balance Renewable Energy Development with Natural and Working Lands Conservation This bill would help protect natural and working lands from industrial energy projects by directing the Governor's Energy Office to create and maintain a publicly accessible database of fully permitted or constructed energy facilities using renewable resources that may be used to identify land use trends. It also would require the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry to work with other state offices and stakeholders to develop a plan to implement a dual-use energy pilot program. Support MOFGA testimony. The House and Senate voted in support of this bill but the Senate placed it on the special appropriations table for funding consideration. The bill remained on the special appropriations table when the Legislature adjourned on May 10, 2024.
LD 2077 Title changed from "An Act Regarding Customer Costs and the Environmental and Health Effects of Natural Gas" to "Resolve, to Study the Role of Natural Gas in an Equitable Clean Energy Transition for Maine" The bill originally sought to reform Maine’s natural gas distribution system to meet health, climate, and ratepayers’ needs. After eliminating language that would have limited expansion of natural gas infrastructure in Maine, the bill was turned into a state agency assessment of investment planning for gas utilities, a review and evaluation of issues related to the natural gas industry, and a study about the impact on the Maine workforce that would be impacted by a transition away from natural gas. Support. This bill is on the Common Agenda of Maine's Environmental Priorities Coalition, of which MOFGA is a member. MOFGA did not submit formal testimony on this bill. The House and Senate voted in support of this bill but the Senate placed it on the Special Study Table for funding consideration. The bill remained on the special study table when the Legislature adjourned on May 10, 2024.

Farm Viability

Bill # Title Summary MOFGA Position MOFGA Testimony Status
LD 568 An Act to Provide Funding for the Fund to Address Food Insecurity and Provide Nutrition Incentives This bill sought to provide ongoing (annual) funding in the amount of $600,000 for the Fund To Address Food Insecurity and Provide Nutrition Incentives within the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry. Support. MOFGA Testimony. The House and Senate voted in support of this bill, but the Senate placed it on the Special Appropriations Table where it remained when the Legislature adjourned on May 10, 2024. Though the bill itself did not pass, the budget did include one-time funding for the program.
LD 579 An Act to Support Farmland Conservation and Transition Planning for Farmers This bill would authorize Maine’s Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry (DACF) to manage an account for public-private partnership funding in support of the Maine Working Farmland Access and Protection Program. It also would provide permanent funding for a DACF staff position to manage this program. Support MOFGA testimony. The House and Senate initially voted in support of this bill, but the Senate placed it on the Special Appropriations Table and then amended it. The House did not have time to take a final vote before the Legislature adjourned on May 10, 2024.
LD 1274 Resolve, to Establish the Task Force to Support Commercial Dairy Farms in the State This resolve replaced a proposed bill entitled An Act to Increase Land Access for Historically Disinvested Populations (see notes below in Social Justice & Equity Section). The resolve directs Maine's Commissioner of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry to convene a Task Force to Support Commercial Dairy Farms in the State to review and provide recommendations on potential investments and policies to support the long-term sustainability and resiliency of the State's dairy sector. Support The Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Committee did not hold a public hearing for the resolve. The House and Senate passed this resolve and Governor Mills approved it on March 25.
LD 1815 Title changed from "An Act to Protect Maine's Consumers by Establishing an Abuse of Dominance Right of Action and Requiring Notification of Mergers" to "An Act to Increase Penalties for Violations of the Law Governing Monopolies and Profiteering" This bill originally sought to establish a right of action against a person with a dominant position in the conduct of any business, trade or commerce, in any labor market or in the furnishing of any service in this State that abuses that dominant position. It was scaled back significantly by removing both a pre-merger notification and approval requirement and a right of action against abuse of dominance. Instead, the bill would increase the cap on monetary penalties for violations of provisions of law relating to antimonopoly provisions. Support MOFGA testimony. This bill became law on March 14, 2024.
LD 1996 An Act to Regulate Synthetic Hemp-derived Cannabinoids This bill excludes from the definition of "hemp" consumer products, including beverages, that in their final form contain more than 0.5 milligrams of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol per package, regardless of the number of servings per package, and any product intended for human consumption or inhalation containing synthetic hemp derived cannabinoids. Oppose MOFGA Testimony. The Senate rejected this bill on February 15.
LD 2066 An Act to Clarify Liability Under the Uncontrolled Hazardous Substance Site Law and to Waive a Fee Regarding Voluntary Response Action Plans This bill would provide a limited exemption from liability for contamination by per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) if the contamination were caused by Department of Environmental Protection (DEP)-licensed land application of sludge or sludge-derived products. The bill also would waive fees for farmers seeking assistance from DEP in developing an action plan to deal with the PFAS contamination. Support MOFGA Testimony. This bill became law on February 29, 2024.
LD 2093 An Act to Address Food Insecurity by Helping Maine Residents Access Locally Produced Food This bill would provide ongoing funding of $1.2 million annually for the Fund To Address Food Insecurity and Provide Nutrition Incentives to be used to match contributions from private and public sources. Support MOFGA Testimony. Similar to LD 568 above, the House and Senate voted in support of this bill, but the Senate placed it on the Special Appropriations Table where it remained when the Legislature adjourned on May 10, 2024.
LD 2169 An Act to Support the Development of Workforce Housing to Promote Economic Development in Maine This bill would establish the Workforce Housing Development Loan Fund in the Department of Economic and Community Development to provide loans to support the development of affordable workforce housing. Community banks would be able to provide 0% interest loans to housing developers in order to build affordable housing for workers who earn 60% to 120% of the local median income. Support MOFGA Testimony. This bill became law on April 9, 2024.
LD 2188 Resolve, Regarding Legislative Review of Chapter 26: Producer Margins, a Major Substantive Rule of the Maine Milk Commission This legislation would increase the support funding that dairy farmers receive when their pay price falls below the cost of milk production. Based on a new cost of production study conducted by the Maine Milk Commission, dairy farmers would be assured of increased break even payments -- ranging from $28.90 per hundred pounds of milk for small farms to $26.87 per hundred pounds for large farms. The total budget impact was estimated at $35M annually. Support MOFGA Testimony. Recognizing the significant fiscal impact on the state budget, the Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Committee unanimously supported a compromise of 25% of the proposed increase, which was updated in statute on April 22, 2024.
LD 2212 An Act to Strengthen Maine's Agriculture, Food System and Forest Products Infrastructure Investment This bill would provide $10 million in fiscal year 2024 - 2025 for the Maine Agriculture, Food and Forest Products Investment Fund. Support MOFGA Testimony. The House and Senate initially voted in support of this bill, but the Senate placed it on the Special Appropriations Table and then amended it by reducing the appropriation from $10M to $269,924. The House did not have time to take a final vote before the Legislature adjourned on May 10, 2024.
LD 2256 An Act to Provide Emergency One-time Relief from the Wild Blueberry Tax for Growers Recognizing the extremely challenging economic status of Maine's lowbush blueberry sector, this bill would exempt sellers of wild blueberries subject to the blueberry tax under the Maine Revised Statutes, Title 36, section 4303 from imposition of the blueberry tax for the 2024 calendar year. Support MOFGA testimony. Though receiving initial votes of support in the House and Senate, this bill failed to make it through the legislative process because a last minute amendment rendered it in non-concurrence between the House and Senate when the Legislature adjourned.

Human Health & Environment

Bill # Title Summary MOFGA Position MOFGA Testimony Status
LD 295 Title changed from "An Act Regarding Plastic Pollution" to "An Act to Incentivize Accurate Recyclability Labeling on Packaging Material". The bill originally sought to require that any plastic container or plastic packaging with the "chasing arrows" label used in the Maine actually would be recyclable in Maine. The amended bill would establish a stewardship program for packaging material administered by the Department of Environmental Protection that would create incentives for accuracy in package labeling claims of recyclability in order to reduce consumer confusion. Support MOFGA Testimony. This bill became law on April 2, 2024.
LD 928 Resolution, Proposing an Amendment to the Constitution of Maine to Establish a Right to a Healthy Environment [The Pine Tree Amendment] This resolution proposes to amend the Constitution of Maine to grant the people of the State a right to a clean and healthy environment and to the preservation of the natural, cultural and healthful qualities of the environment. Support. MOFGA Testimony. As this bill sought to amend the state's constitution, it required 2/3 support in the House and Senate to pass. Champions of the bill in the House did not have enough votes to pass the bill in that chamber so the legislation never came up for a roll call.
LD 993 An Act to Facilitate Stakeholder Input Regarding Forest Policy in Maine This bill creates the Maine Forest Advisory Board to advise Maine's Bureau of Forestry on a variety of forestry issues and to provide input on the state forest action plan required under the federal Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008. Support. This bill is on the Common Agenda of Maine's Environmental Priorities Coalition. MOFGA Testimony. The House and Senate voted in support of this bill but the Senate placed it on the Special Appropriations Table and it died because the Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee would not approve the mere $5,130 fiscal note attached to the legislation. The Senate voted to remove the fiscal note rendering the bill in non-concurrence between the House and Senate. The House did not have time to vote on the amendment when the Legislature adjourned on May 10, 2024.
LD 1006 An Act to Ensure Access to Safe Drinking Water from Household Wells in Rural Areas by Expanding Testing This bill would add PFAS contaminants to the Department of Health and Human Services' uniform testing recommendation for private wells. It would provide educational outreach and free testing for PFAS in household well water of low-income residents. Support. MOFGA supports this legislation but did not submit official testimony. The House and Senate voted in support of this bill but the Senate placed it on the Special Appropriations Table and the Financial Affairs Committee did not agree to fund it.
LD 1009 An Act Regarding the Reduction and Recycling of Food Waste This bill establishes a decision tree for managing food scraps – first, minimizing waste at the point of generation, then directing edible food scraps to establishments that can use them for human consumption, then diverting scraps for agricultural use including for consumption by animals, then using food scraps for composting or anaerobic digestion for soil amendments, and finally subjecting the food scraps to anaerobic digestion not followed by soil application. Support. MOFGA Testimony. The House and Senate voted in support of this bill but the Senate placed it on the Special Appropriations Table and the Financial Affairs Committee did not agree to fund it.
LD 1215 An Act to End the Sale of Flavored Tobacco Products This bill would prohibit the sale and distribution of flavored tobacco products, including flavored cigars and electronic smoking devices. Support. This bill is on the Common Agenda of Maine's Environmental Priorities Coalition, of which MOFGA is a member. MOFGA did not submit official testimony. The Senate passed this bill in the 2023 legislative session but it never came up for a vote in the House in the 2024 session.
LD 1285 An Act to Extend Funding for the Land for Maine's Future Program This bill sought to provide ongoing funding ($10 million a year) in fiscal years 23-24 and 24-25 for Maine's Land for Maine's Future program. Support. MOFGA testimony. The House and Senate voted in support of this bill but the Senate placed it on the Special Appropriations Table and the Financial Affairs Committee did not agree to fund this particular legislation. Fortunately, the budget includes one-time funding for the Land for Maine's Future Program.
LD 1537 An Act to Amend the Laws Relating to the Prevention of Perfluoroalkyl and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances Pollution The amended bill would create different sunset dates (ranging from 2025 to 2040 to never) for various product/industry sectors. It would allow manufacturers to keep their products in the marketplace if they could demonstrate "currently unavoidable use", i.e. "that the products are essential for health, safety or the functioning of society and for which alternatives are not reasonably available." The bill also would immediately eliminate PFAS reporting requirements for product manufacturers unless they were to obtain a currently unavoidable use designation allowing them to keep their products on the market after the sector's respective sunset deadline. Support. This bill is on the Common Agenda of Maine's Environmental Priorities Coalition. While we appreciate the good faith effort to make Maine's PFAS Products law work for all stakeholders, we are disappointed by the broad exemption for PFAS medications given to livestock raised for human consumption. We need to get PFAS out of Maine food. MOFGA testimony on the original bill introduced in 2023. This bill became law on April 16, 2024.
LD 1960 An Act to Support Farming in Maine by Extending the Deadline for Manufacturers of Products Containing PFAS to Report on Those Products This bill seeks to overturn Maine's landmark laws that regulate the registration of PFAS pesticides and set a sunset date of 2030 for the products. Oppose MOFGA testimony. The House rejected this bill on April 10, 2024.
LD 2189 Resolve, Regarding Legislative Review of Portions of Chapter 41: Special Restrictions on Pesticide Use, a Major Substantive Rule of the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, Board of Pesticides Control This legislation originally sought to weaken current regulations for planting seeds that have been genetically modified to be resistant to pests and herbicides. It would have broadened the range of approved crops and genetically engineered traits, it would have reduced the training requirements for licensure to plant, and it would have allowed people to plant in quantities small enough for a homestead or home garden. Oppose. MOFGA Testimony The Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Committee amended the resolve not to authorize weakening of the current rules on planting seeds that are genetically engineered to be pesticides. The House and Senate passed the amended resolve and Governor Mills approved it on March 25, 2024.

Social Justice & Equity

Bill # Title Summary MOFGA Position MOFGA Testimony Status
LD 25 An Act to Provide Indigenous Peoples Free Access to State Parks This bill provides that a member of a federally recognized Indian nation, tribe or band is not required to pay a fee for admission to or use of any state-owned park or historic site managed by the State. Support. MOFGA Testimony. The House and Senate passed this bill with support from the Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee. Governor Mills held the bill without signing so unless the Legislature reconvenes for a special session, the bill will die under "pocket veto".
LD 294 An Act to Include a Tribal Member in the Baxter State Park Authority This bill adds one member of a federally recognized Indian nation, tribe or band in this State to the Baxter State Park Authority, which has full power in the control and management of Baxter State Park. Support. MOFGA did not submit formal testimony on this bill. Though the majority of the Agriculture, Conservation & Forestry Committee voted in support of this bill, in never came up for a vote in the House of Representatives.
LD 525 An Act to Enact the Agricultural Employees Concerted Activity Protection Act - Note that this amended bill replaced An Act to Protect Farm Workers by Allowing Them to Organize for the Purposes of Collective Bargaining. The original bill sought to give employees of agricultural employers the right to bargain collectively. The Labor and Housing Committee scaled back the language to simply protect a farmworker's right to concerted activity, i.e. the right to discuss workplace conditions and terms of employment with coworkers and employers. Support. MOFGA testimony. Note that testimony focused on the original bill regarding collective bargaining. MOFGA also supports the basic protection of concerted activity, a right that nearly all workers in Maine enjoy. This bill passed the House and Senate but Governor Mills vetoed it. The House did not have the necessary two-thirds majority to override the veto so the bill died.
LD 536 An Act to Provide Natural Organic Reduction Facilities for Maine Residents for the Conversion of Human Remains to Soil This bill provides for the treatment of human remains by natural organic reduction as an alternative to burial in a casket or cremation. Natural organic reduction is the contained accelerated conversion of human remains to soil. Support. MOFGA Testimony. This bill became law on April 27, 2024.
LD 1274 An Act to Increase Land Access for Historically Disinvested Populations (note - this bill changed themes) This bill establishes the Black Farmer Restoration Program within the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry to support Black farmers and to encourage the growth of Black farmers in the field of agriculture through agricultural land grants. The bill also establishes the Farm Conservation Corps within the department to provide residents between the ages of 18 and 29 from socially disadvantaged groups the academic, vocational and social skills necessary to pursue long-term and productive careers in agriculture through apprenticeships. Support. MOFGA Testimony. The bill's sponsor agreed to replace the language with a Resolve to Establish the Task Force to Support Commercial Dairy Farms in the State. See LD 1274 in the Farm Viability Section above.
LD 1483 An Act to Protect the Rights of Agricultural Workers This bill would provides that an agricultural employer may not interfere with reasonable access to a key service provider by agricultural employees during work time, and specifies that only the agricultural employee may prohibit or bar individuals from the employee's residence. MOFGA supported the intent of this bill but appreciated concerns raised in testimony of Pine Tree Legal Assistance explaining that constitutional guarantees and legal precedent already provides the access on a practical level and that passage of a new law could compromise existing protections. MOFGA testimony. The Labor and Housing Committee voted unanimously against the bill after receiving testimony from Pine Tree Legal Assistance. The Committee did not report out the bill in accordance with the Legislature's reporting deadlines so the bill died.
LD 1488 An Act to Expand Testing for Perfluoroalkyl and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances to Private Drinking Water Wells This bill adds PFAS to the list of contaminants in the Department of Health and Human Services uniform testing recommendations for private drinking water wells. It also requires PFAS testing and disclosure by a landlord of a residential building supplied by a private drinking water well. Support. MOFGA supports this legislation but has not posted official testimony. The House and Senate supported this bill but the Senate placed it on the Special Appropriations Table for funding consideration and the Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee did not fund it.
LD 1621 An Act Regarding Environmental Justice This bill creates a legal framework that requires state agencies to meaningfully engage environmental justice populations, incorporate equity and environmental justice considerations into decision making and ensure the equitable distribution of environmental, energy and transportation benefits and burdens. Support. This bill is on the Common Agenda of Maine's Environmental Priorities Coalition. MOFGA testimony. The House and Senate supported this bill but the Senate placed it on the Special Appropriations Table for funding consideration and the Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee did not fund it.
LD 1682 An Act to Create the Maine Experiential Education Program This bill would establish the Maine Experiential Education Program within the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry to provide public schools with outdoor, hands-on, experiential learning opportunities related to gardens, food and agriculture to improve healthy academic, physical and emotional development for students. Support. MOFGA testimony. The House and Senate supported this bill but the Senate placed it on the Special Appropriations Table for funding consideration and the Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee did not fund it.
LD 1817 An Act to Support Outdoor Education by Establishing the Outdoor School for All Maine Students Program This bill sought to establish the Outdoor School for All Maine Students Program to provide immersive outdoor education to serve students enrolled in grade 4 to grade 8 in the State. It pledged to provide equitable access to the program to all students. Support. MOFGA testimony. The House and Senate supported this bill but the Senate placed it on the Special Appropriations Table for funding consideration. The Senate approved a dramatically reduced fiscal note (from $6.2M to $500) but the House did not have time to vote on it when the Legislature adjourned on May 10, 2024.
LD 1823 An Act to Respect and Protect the Right to Food This omnibus bill sought to protect Maine people’s constitutional right to food and clarify terms of the Maine Food Sovereignty Act, encouraging food self-sufficiency through education and land access, and limiting State involvement and/or interference with local food ordinances. Support. MOFGA testimony. Though receiving initial votes of support in the House and Senate, this bill failed to make it through the legislative process because a last minute amendment rendered it in non-concurrence between the House and Senate when the Legislature adjourned.
LD 2007 Title changed from "An Act to Advance Self-determination for Wabanaki Nations" to "An Act Regarding the Criminal Jurisdiction of Tribal Courts and to Extend the Time for the Penobscot Nation to Certify its Agreement to Public Law 2023, chapter 369". This original bill sought to restore the Wabanaki Nations’ inherent rights to self govern, including restoring their jurisdiction over their lands and waters. The amended bill has a narrower scope but still addresses some of the important amendments to the Maine Indian Land Claims Settlement Act, specifically regarding the criminal jurisdiction of tribal courts. This is a central and crucial step in seeing Wabanaki sovereignty respected by the State of Maine. Support. This is a top priority of the Wabanaki Alliance. It also is on the Common Agenda of Maine's Environmental Priorities Coalition. MOFGA testimony. The scaled back bill became law on April 22, 2024.
LD 2273 An Act to Establish a State Minimum Hourly Wage for Agricultural Workers Governor Mills' office drafted this bill, which, at long last calls for Maine farmworkers to be eligible for Maine's minimum wage. The bill fell short by prohibiting a private right of action for farmworkers who felt their rights had been violated. Further it did not allow farmworkers to have an unpaid rest break after six hours of work. Nor did it protect a farmworker's job should they wish to take a break after working 160 hours in a two-week period. MOFGA supports an amended version of this bill, which ensures a private right of action. MOFGA testimony. The House and Senate passed this bill but Governor Mills, once again, vetoed the legislation insisting that farmworkers should not have a private right of action, a right to which all other Maine employees are entitled.
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