The Maine Senate and House of Representatives on Dec. 17 unanimously approved the merger of the Labor and the Business, Research and Economic Development committees.

The newly-formed Labor, Commerce, Research, and Economic Development Committee will assume most of the jurisdiction of the previous two committees, with several exceptions, notably the Maine Public Employees Retirement System, whose oversight will be taken up by the Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee.

“I’m very proud of the work done by both sides of the aisle to come to this unanimous solution,” said Senate President Kevin Raye in a press release from the two legislative houses. “Now the legislature will be able to consider business issues and workforce issues in context, which will result in more thoughtful and effective legislation.”

“I think this was a great way to start this 125th Legislature,” said House Speaker Robert Nutting in the same release. “Though there were concerns on both sides of the aisle, Democrats and Republicans focused on our shared goal of improving the Maine economy, and came to this compromise. The fact that we received unanimous support from the legislature shows that, when we work together, we can produce real results for the people of Maine.”