2023 State Legislation

Bills That MOFGA Followed In The 2023 Maine Legislative Session

Below is a summary of the state legislation that MOFGA focused on in 2023.

Appropriations

Bill #TitleSummariesMOFGA PositionMOFGA TestimonyStatus
LD 258Governor Mills’ Supplemental BudgetBudget appropriations for fiscal years ending June 30, 2023, June 30, 2024 and June 30, 2025.MOFGA supports various line items relating to Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry.MOFGA TestimonyOn July 6th, mostly along party lines, the Legislature enacted the budget for Fiscal Years Ending June 30, 2023, June 30, 2024 and June 30, 2025. Governor Mills approved the budget on July 11, 2023.

Climate & Energy

Bill #TitleSummariesMOFGA PositionMOFGA TestimonyStatus
LD 220An Act to Support Maine’s Potato Farmers and ProcessorsThis 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 testimonyThe 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 bill was placed on the Appropriations Table and was carried over to the 2024 session of the Legislature.
LD 315An Act to Provide Funding for Drought Relief and Other Programs Benefiting Maine FarmersProvides $35,000 for the Land Use Planning Commission (LUPC) to improve water withdrawal permitting, and provides ongoing funding for 3 positions among the LUPC, the Dept of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, and the Dept of Environment Protection.SupportMOFGA Testimony
Governor Mills signed this bill into law on July 26, 2023.
LD 1227An Act to Balance Renewable Energy Development with Natural and Working Lands ConservationThis 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.SupportMOFGA testimonyThe House and Senate voted in support of this bill. It was placed on the Appropriations Table and carried over to the 2024 session of the Legislature.
LD 1591An Act to Balance Renewable Energy Development with Natural and Working Lands ConservationThis bill would create incentives to place clean energy systems on previously contaminated land, such as farmland irreparably contaminated with PFAS.SupportMOFGA testimonyGovernor Mills signed this bill into law on June 26, 2023.
LD 1678Resolve, Directing the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry to Study and Report on Soil Carbon Sequestration Incentive ProgramsThis resolve directs the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry to study and report on soil carbon sequestration incentive programs that can be applied to land in this State, including but not limited to forest land, agricultural land, conservation land and wetlands.MOFGA supports an amendment to this bill, which adds urban and suburban areas to the list of land areas that may be included in soil carbon sequestration incentive programs.MOFGA testimonyGovernor Mills signed the amended version of this resolve on June 12, 2023.
LD 1895An Act Regarding the Procurement of Energy from Offshore Wind ResourcesThe purpose of the bill is to bring clean offshore wind energy to Maine and create thousands of good-paying jobs in the process.Support. This bill is on the Common Agenda of Maine’s Environmental Priorities Coalition.MOFGA supports this legislation but did not submit official testimony on it.Governor Mills signed this bill into law on July 27, 2023.

Farm Viability

Bill #TitleSummariesMOFGA PositionMOFGA TestimonyStatus
LD 24An Act to Prohibit Open Burning Under a Red Flag Warning and Regulate Recreational CampfiresThis bill prohibits open burning, including recreational campfires, whether the open burning is permitted or not, during periods in which a red flag warning is in effect. It also limits the size of recreational campfires, including those that do not require a permit.Support, though request exemption for blueberry growers as long as they follow safety protocols.MOFGA TestimonyGovernor Mills signed this bill into law on May 8, 2023.
LD 54An Act to Require Compliance with Natural or Agricultural Resource Protection OrdinancesThis bill seeks to uphold municipal ordinances designed to protect natural and agricultural resources when housing development is under consideration.SupportMOFGA TestimonyThe bill’s committee reference bounced from Labor & Housing to Housing to Environment & Natural Resources (ENR), which did not understand why it wound up there. Disappointingly, ENR voted unanimously against the bill.
LD 384An Act to Provide Emergency Aid to Dairy Farmers Affected by the Crisis in Production CostsThis legislation originally sought to provide $5.5 million in pandemic volatility payments to Maine milk producers.SupportMOFGA TestimonyThe Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee scaled back this emergency aid package to $500,000, and Governor Mills approved this on July 26, 2023.
LD 568An Act to Provide Funding for the Fund to Address Food Insecurity and Provide Nutrition IncentivesThis bill provides $600,000 to the Fund To Address Food Insecurity and Provide Nutrition Incentives within the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry.SupportMOFGA TestimonyThe House and Senate have voted in support of this bill. The bill was placed on the Appropriations Table and carried over to the 2024 legislative session.
LD 579An Act to Support Farmland Conservation and Transition Planning for FarmersThis bill was a concept draft.MOFGA anticipates supporting this bill.To be posted.The Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Committee carried over this bill to the 2024 legislative session.
LD 782An Act to Support Statewide Economic Opportunities Through Strategic Investments of Property and Funds, Including Emergency Relief FundsThis bill authorizes the Commissioner of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry to apply for and accept emergency relief funds (as well as property) for the purpose of economic opportunity, business growth and other strategic investments. It allows the commissioner to hold hearings and adopt routine technical rules with respect to the implementation and administration of authorized grant or fund disbursement programs of the Department.SupportMOFGA TestimonyThis bill became public law on June 1.
LD 834An Act to Ensure Transparency in the Labeling of Meat as Grass-fedThis bill prohibits a person from selling, offering for sale or distributing within the State or selling, offering for sale or serving in any retail food establishment or eating establishment any meat or meat product labeled or advertised as “grass-fed” or by similar designation unless the ruminant animal was grass-fed.SupportMOFGA TestimonyThis bill became public law on May 8, 2023.
LD 901An Act to Expand the Maine Apprenticeship Program to Include Apprenticeships with Seasonal Agricultural BusinessesThis bill sought to establish a pilot project within the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry to support farm apprenticeships.SupportMOFGA TestimonyThe Legislature and Governor Mills approved an amended version of the bill that provides $20,000 to establish and facilitate a stakeholder group to inform the development of a pilot program. A facilitator will work with the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, the Department of Labor, the Department of Economic and Community Development and other stakeholders.
LD 1511An Act to Update the Laws Governing the University of Maine System’s Board of Agriculture and to Rename the Maine Agricultural Experiment StationThis bill makes important updates to the 1998 law that established the University of Maine System’s Board of Agriculture, which is comprised of various representatives of the state’s agricultural community and advises the Chancellor of the U Maine System and the President of the University of Maine at Orono. It amends the membership of the Board and requires the Board to invite appropriate individuals and conduct a public, facilitated discussion at least annually to better understand the needs and trends in Maine agriculture. It improves Board reporting to the Legislature, Board request for funding, and regular (every five years) long-range planning for the Maine Agricultural and Forest Experiment Station.Support (MOFGA has had a seat on the Board since the Board’s inception)MOFGA testimonyThe Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Committee carried over this bill to the 2024 legislative session.
LD 1670An Act to Strengthen Maine’s Agriculture, Food & Forest Economy by Funding the Maine Agriculture, Food and Forest Products Investment Fund and Amending Related Provisions of LawThis bill originally sought to capitalize (with $20 million a year in fiscal years 23-24 and 24-25) the Maine Agriculture, Food and Forest Products Fund with statewide infrastructure investments in value-added natural resource sectors. It sought to create access to technical assistance and capital for Maine’s racially diverse food system producers and processors.SupportMOFGA testimonyThe House and Senate voted in support of this bill and the Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee scaled it back to $500,000. Governor Mills approved the funding on July 27, 2023.
LD 1767An Act to Require the University of Maine to Provide Education Regarding Meat and Poultry ProcessingThis bill would promote processing and marketing of Maine meat and poultry by: establishing a cooperative extension education program regarding meat and poultry processing; prioritizing workforce training for meat and poultry processing; and assessing the financial, physical, regulatory, marketing and cultural barriers to increasing meat and poultry slaughter and processing in the State.SupportMOFGA supported this legislation but did not submit formal testimony.Governor Mills approved this program funding on July 27, 2023,

Human Health & Environment

Bill #TitleSummariesMOFGA PositionMOFGA TestimonyStatus
LD 8Governor Mills’ Supplemental BudgetAn Act to Increase Support for the Modernization of the Board of Pesticides Control by Increasing the Annual Pesticide Registration FeeSupportMOFGA TestimonyThis bill was enacted into law on April 10.
LD 75An Act to Establish Maximum Contaminant Levels Under the State’s Drinking Water Rules to Prohibit Certain Perfluoroalkyl and Polyfluoroalkyl SubstancesThis bill would establish a maximum contamination level (MCL) for several kinds of PFAS in water of zero nanograms per liter.Because current technology makes implementing the original bill difficult, MOFGA supports an amended version that sets an acceptable technology-based standard at which none of the regulated PFAS is detectable using standard laboratory methods established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.To be posted.The Health and Human Services Committee carried over this bill to the 2024 legislative session.
LD 188An Act to Require the Department of Environmental Protection to Pay for Certain Water Tests for Perfluoroalkyl and Polyfluoroalkyl SubstancesThis bill establishes that, if the Department of Environmental Protection requires a person licensed to discharge wastewater to sample the effluent discharged for PFAS, all costs associated with the sampling must be paid by the department.OpposeMOFGA TestimonyThe Legislature rejected this bill on March 23.
LD 217An Act to Support Manufacturers Whose Products Contain Perfluoroalkyl and Polyfluoroalkyl SubstancesThis bill would retroactively extend the January 1, 2023 deadline for reporting the use of PFAS in products to January 1, 2025.OpposeMOFGA testimonyAn amended version of this bill became law on June 8. The amended law allows the reporting extension to January 1, 2025, authorizes reporting the amount of total organic fluorine if the amount of each PFAS compound is not known, and allows the amount of PFAS to be reported based on information provided by a supplier rather than testing. The amendment clarifies the packaging exemption under the law regulating PFAS in products, exempts from PFAS reporting requirements manufacturers that employ 25 or fewer people, clarifies that the requirements and prohibitions of PFAS in products do not apply to used products or used product components, and makes other technical clarifications to PFAS reporting requirements.
LD 242An Act to Clarify That Animal Health Products Are Exempt from the PFAS Reporting LawThis bill provides that certain health products intended for animals that are regulated under certain federal laws are exempt from notification requirements that generally apply to products containing PFAS.OpposeMOFGA TestimonyThe Legislature rejected this bill on May 18.
LD 289An Act to Require the State to Purchase Farms Contaminated with PFASThis bill would required the State to purchase commercial farm real estate found to be contaminated by PFAS.Support with some recommendations for improvement, and ask to honor the ongoing work of the PFAS Fund Advisory Committee.MOFGA TestimonyThe House and Senate supported an amended title, An Act to Amend the Laws Governing the Advisory Committee on the Fund to Address PFAS Contamination, which provides per diem compensation to members of the PFAS Fund Advisory Committee; and allows legislative members to serve on the PFAS Fund Advisory Committee throughout their term in the Legislature and beyond until they are replace by another legislator. The change in title and focus was out of deference to the PFAS Fund Advisory Committee’s recommendation of funding PFAS-contaminated farmland through the State’s PFAS Fund. Governor Mills approved funding for this on June 16, 2023.
LD 304An Act to Establish Statewide Standards for PFASThis bill sought to set standards and a testing schedule for PFAS contamination in farm products.MOFGA respectfully opposed this bill out of deference to the ongoing work of the PFAS Fund Advisory Committee.MOFGA testimonyThe Legislature rejected this bill on May 4.
LD 606An Act Regarding Development of a Program to Assist Farmers Affected by Perfluoroalkyl and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances ContaminationThis bill would create of a program to assist farmers whose land or crops are affected by PFAS to remediate the land from contamination, including by growing alternative crops.While MOFGA supports programs that will provide direct relief for farmers whose land is contaminated by PFAS, we urged the Legislature to wait on the bill and to honor the related ongoing work of the PFAS Fund Advisory Committee.MOFGA TestimonyThe Legislature rejected this bill on April 18.
LD 620An Act to Promote Free Trade by Preventing Municipalities from Prohibiting the Sale of Legal GoodsThis bill prevents a municipality from prohibiting a business, entity or individual from selling any product or offering any service that is otherwise permitted under state law and also prohibits a municipality from restricting the operation or licensure of a business or entity within that municipality based on the type of products or services that the business or entity plans to provide unless municipalities are provided with the authority to restrict that type of business or entity under state law.OpposeMOFGA TestimonyThe Legislature rejected this bill on April 27.
LD 718An Act to Increase the Beneficial Reuse of Construction and Demolition DebrisThis bill originally sought to overturn Maine’s ban on the import of out-of-state construction waste and demolition debris for disposal in the state-owned Juniper Ridge Landfill in Old Town.OpposeMOFGA TestimonyThe majority of the Environment and Natural Resources Committee voted to allow up to 25,000 tons of bulking material per year and require the landfill managers to reduce the sludge disposal fees charged to municipalities. Governor Mills approved the emergency legislation on June 23, 2023.
LD 928Resolution, 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. This bill is on the Common Agenda of Maine’s Environmental Priorities Coalition.MOFGA TestimonyThe Environment & Natural Resources Committee had a divided report on this legislation. The majority of members voted to support it. As it would amend the state’s constitution, this bill needs 2/3 support in the House and Senate to pass. The bill was carried over to the 2024 legislative session.
LD 993An Act to Facilitate Stakeholder Input Regarding Forest Policy in MaineThis 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 TestimonyThe House and Senate voted in support of this bill. It is now under consideration by the Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee and has been carried over to the 2024 session of the Legislature.
LD 1006An Act to Ensure Access to Safe Drinking Water from Household Wells in Rural Areas by Expanding TestingThis 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.SupportMOFGA supports this legislation but did not submit official testimony.The House and Senate voted in support of this bill. It is now under consideration by the Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee. It has been carried over to the 2024 legislative session.
LD 1009An Act Regarding the Reduction and Recycling of Food WasteThis 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.SupportMOFGA TestimonyThe Environment and Natural Resources Committee carried over this bill to the 2024 legislation session for further consideration.
LD 1048An Act Regarding the Authority of Municipalities to Regulate Timber HarvestingThis bill clarifies the definition of “timber harvesting activities”, and provides that a municipal timber harvesting ordinance must adopt definitions for forestry terms that are consistent with state policy. It provides that an ordinance may be adopted only after certification by the Bureau of Forestry and must be consistent with a municipality’s comprehensive plan.MOFGA urges the Bureau of Forestry to work with municipalities to educate them about extensive laws already on the books, rather than impose new restrictions on communities. MOFGA does not support forcing municipalities with established ordinances to rewrite them.MOFGA TestimonyThis bill died on adjournment of the 2023 legislative session.
LD 1156An Act to Authorize a General Fund Bond Issue to Promote the Design, Development and Maintenance of Trails for Outdoor Recreation and Active TransportationThis $30,000,000 bond will fund the Bureau of Parks and Lands for the design, development and maintenance of non-motorized, motorized and multi-use trails statewide.Support. This bill is on the Common Agenda of Maine’s Environmental Priorities Coalition.MOFGA supports this legislation but did not submit official testimony.This bill has been carried over to the 2024 session of the Legislature.
LD 1214An Act to Clarify the Laws to Combat PFAS ContaminationThis bill would: change the definitions of PFAS and “intentionally added PFAS”; change the reporting deadline for PFAS in products to January 1, 2024 and exempt products with confidential business information; and overturns the 2030 ban on products with intentionally added PFAS.OpposeMOFGA testimonyThe Legislature rejected this bill on May 18.
LD 1246An Act to Include Endangered and Threatened Species Habitat in the Definition of Significant Wildlife Habitat Under the Natural Resources Protection ActThis bill amends the Natural Resources Protection Act by adding to the definition of “significant wildlife habitat” the habitat of species appearing on the official state endangered species and state threatened species list.Support. This bill is on the Common Agenda of Maine’s Environmental Priorities Coalition.MOFGA testimonyThis bill became public law on June 12, with an amended definition of significant wildlife habitat.
LD 1273An Act to Exempt Some Businesses from Certain Laws Relating to PFAS in Accordance with the Size of the BusinessThis bill exempts certain businesses from the requirement to test products for PFAS.Oppose out of preference to a similar but stronger bill, LD 1537.MOFGA testimonyThe Legislature rejected this bill on May 18.
LD 1285An Act to Extend Funding for the Land for Maine’s Future ProgramThis bill provides ongoing funding ($10 million a year in fiscal years 23-24 and 24-25 for Maine’s Land for Maine’s Future program.SupportMOFGA testimonyThe House and Senate voted in support of this bill. It is now under consideration by the Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee and has been carried over to the 2024 Legislative session.
LD 1537An Act to Amend the Laws Relating to the Prevention of PFAS Pollution and to Provide Additional FundingThis bill adjust terms in various PFAS laws including: extending the PFAS products reporting deadline to October 1, 2023; changing the allowable units of reporting; exempting manufacturers with less than $20,000,000 in annual national sales from the reporting requirements but not from any sales prohibitions; requiring the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to adopt rules annually banning certain PFAS product categories; and restricting when the DEP may provide an exemption for sale and distribution of PFAS products. It also provides funding for implementation of the laws governing PFAS products.SupportMOFGA testimonyThe Environment & Natural Resources Committee, having opposed LDs 304, 1214 and 1273, and having addressed the reporting deadline challenges through an amended version of LD 217, voted unanimously to carry over LD 1537 as a vehicle to carry out further action on PFAS in the 2024 legislative session.
LD 1645An Act to Reduce Plastic Packaging WasteThis bill reduces the climate impact and volume of plastic packaging that is discarded into the environment or disposed of in facilities in the State because of unnecessary constituent materials that interfere with reuse, recycling and composting.SupportMOFGA testimonyThe House supported this bill but, disappointingly, the Senate voted against it so the bill died in non-concurrence.
LD 1770An Act to Improve Pesticides Sales and Use Data Collection and Accessibility by the StateThis bill would create an online database of pesticide dealers and applicators reporting pesticides sold, distributed or applied in the State.SupportTo be posted.The House and Senate voted in support of an amendment, which replaced the bill with a resolve directing Maine’s Board of Pesticides Control to transition pesticide sales and use data collection to electronic format for pesticide dealers, commercial applicators and spray contracting firms. While this is not what we had hoped for we believe that it will be an improvement over current data collection efforts. Govenor Mills approved this initiative on June 23, 2023.
LD 1881An Act Regarding Compensation Fees and Related Conservation Efforts to Protect Soils and Wildlife and Fisheries Habitat from Solar and Wind Energy Development and High-impact Electric Transmission Lines Under the Site Location of Development LawsThis bill would require developers of solar and wind energy projects to pay fees to offset the negative impacts of their operations on prime agricultural soils, and wildlife and fisheries habitat. It also would require a permit from the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry for a solar energy development on high-value agricultural land.SupportMOFGA testimonyGovernor Mills approved this legislation on July 27, 2023.
LD 1969An Act to Expand the Use of Funds to Support Land ConservationThis bill eliminates the Land for Maine’s Future (LMF) Fund, replaces it with the LMF Trust Fund and transfers the balance in the LMF Fund. It requires that the funds transferred be used for Public Access to Maine Waters Fund, the Maine Working Waterfront Access Protection Fund, the Maine Working Farmland Access and Protection Fund and the new funds established in this legislation.SupportTo be posted.Governor Mills signed this emergency legislation into law on June 23, 2023.

Social Justice & Equity

Bill #TitleSummariesMOFGA PositionMOFGA TestimonyStatus
LD 25An Act to Provide Indigenous Peoples Free Access to State ParksThis 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.SupportMOFGA TestimonyThe Agriculture, Conservation & Forestry Committee has carried over this bill to the 2024 legislative session.
LD 234An Act to Raise from 12 to 24 the Annual Limit on the Number of Public Events and Meals Nonprofit Organizations May Have That Are Exempt from Certain Rules and RegulationsThis bill doubles the number of public events and meals within one calendar year nonprofit organizations may have that are exempt from Department of Health and Human Services rules and regulations relating to dispensing foods and nonalcoholic beverages.SupportMOFGA TestimonyThis bill was enacted into law on March 20.
LD 294An Act to Include a Tribal Member in the Baxter State Park AuthorityThis 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.SupportTo be posted.The Agriculture, Conservation & Forestry Committee has carried over this bill to the 2024 legislative session.
LD 398An Act to Make Agricultural Workers and Other Related Workers Employees Under the Wage and Hour LawsThis bill originally sought to provide that agricultural employees and seasonal farm employees are subject to the laws that place limits on mandatory overtime and set a minimum wage and overtime rate.SupportMOFGA TestimonyAfter lengthy negotiations and compromises, the bill’s sponsor pared down the language to ensure only that agricultural workers would be entitled to Maine’s minimum wage, would be offered a rest break after six hours of work, and would not be required to work more than 160 hours in a two-week period. The House and Senate voted in support of this bill. Governor Mill’s vetoed the bill on July 19, 2023.
LD 525An Act to Protect Farm Workers by Allowing Them to Organize for the Purposes of Collective BargainingThis bill gives employees of agricultural employers the right to bargain collectively; specifies the parties’ mutual obligation to bargain; creates procedures for determining bargaining units and bargaining agents, including procedures for appeal of such determinations; and prohibits specified acts of agricultural employers, agricultural employees and agricultural labor organizations and provides for enforcement of those prohibitions by the Maine Labor Relations Board and subsequently through civil action in Superior Court.SupportMOFGA testimonyThe Labor and Housing Committee carried over this bill to the 2024 legislative session.
LD 536An Act to Provide Natural Organic Reduction Facilities for Maine Residents for the Conversion of Human Remains to SoilThis 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.SupportMOFGA TestimonyThe House and Senate supported this bill. It is now under consideration by the Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee, which has carried it over to the 2024 legislative session.
LD 682An Act Regarding Labeling of Packaged Foods for Genetically Modified OrganismsThis bill was a concept draft that sought to call attention to the possibility of using crops to develop messenger RNA technology for vaccines.Though we did not have details about the intent of this bill until the day of the public hearing, we shared that MOFGA had always opposed genetically modified organisms in agriculture and supported consumers’ right to know about GMOs in food. We did not comment on GMOs being used for vaccine development.MOFGA TestimonyThe Legislature rejected this bill on April 18.
LD 1274An Act to Increase Land Access for Historically Disinvested PopulationsThis 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.SupportMOFGA TestimonyThe Agriculture, Conservation & Forestry Committee has carried over this bill to the 2024 legislative session.
LD 1483An Act to Protect the Rights of Agricultural WorkersThis 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.SupportMOFGA testimonyThe Labor & Housing Committee has carried over this bill to the 2024 legislative session.
LD 1488An Act to Expand Testing for Perfluoroalkyl and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances to Private Drinking Water WellsThis 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.SupportMOFGA supports this legislation but has not posted official testimonyThe House and Senate supported this bill and the Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee has placed it on the Appropriations table and carried it over to the 2024 legislative session.
LD 1593An Act to Increase Affordable Housing DevelopmentThis bill seeks to address Maine’s affordable housing crisis by removing: minimum lot size requirements for multiple unit housing; dwelling unit density requirements for single-family or multifamily housing; and minimum size requirements for accessory dwelling units outside of Maine building code. It prohibits municipal ordinances that prohibit residential housing in any zoning district or conversion of structures for residential housing. It also prohibits municipalities from imposing unit size requirements for residential housing.MOFGA urges amendments to this bill that would honor municipal ordinances to protect farmland, and would ensure compliance with Maine’s wastewater disposal, shoreland zoning, and other environmental protection laws.MOFGA testimonyThe Senate accepted a majority “Ought Not To Pass” report from the Committee on Housing.
LD 1621An Act Regarding Environmental JusticeThis 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 testimonyThe House and Senate voted in support of this bill. It is now under consideration by the Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee, which has carried it over to the 2024 legislative session.
LD 1682An Act to Create the Maine Experiential Education ProgramThis 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.SupportMOFGA testimonyThe House and Senate voted in support of this bill. It is now under consideration by the Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee, which has carried it over to the 2024 legislative session.
LD 1817An Act to Support Outdoor Education by Establishing the Outdoor School for All Maine Students ProgramThis bill establishes 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 pledges to provide equitable access to the program to all students.SupportMOFGA testimonyThe House and Senate voted in support of this bill. It is now under consideration by the Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee, which has carried it over to the 2024 legislative session.
LD 1823An Act to Respect and Protect the Right to FoodThis is an omnibus bill that protects Maine people’s constitutional right to food and clarifies 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.SupportMOFGA testimonyThe Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Committee voted to carry over this bill to continue work on it in the 2024 legislative session.
LD 2004An Act to Restore Access to Federal Laws Beneficial to the Wabanaki NationsThis bill would would streamline Wabanaki access to important federal incentive programs to encourage renewable energy systems and other environmentally friendly technologies, good medical care and counseling, and protection from domestic violence, among many other public programs.SupportMOFGA TestimonyThe House and Senate passed this legislation. Governor Mills vetoed the bill on June 30, 2023.
LD 2007An Act to Advance Self-determination for Wabanaki NationsThis bill restores the Wabanaki Nations’ inherent rights to self govern, including restoring their jurisdiction over their lands and waters. This will enable them to better advance environmental protections and climate solutions in the Wabanaki homelands that are now called Maine.Support. This is a top priority of the Wabanaki Alliance. It also is on the Common Agenda of Maine’s Environmental Priorities Coalition.To be posted.This bill was carried over to the 2024 Legislative Session.
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