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UPDATED: Legislative briefs

May 06, 2021

Doudera’s bill on sales of animal-tested cosmetics advances

The Maine Legislature’s Joint Standing Committee on Innovation, Development, Economic Advancement and Business unanimously passed LD 1551, An Act To Ban the Sale of Cosmetics That Have Been Tested on Animals, on May 6.

LD 1551, introduced by Rep. Vicki Doudera, D-Camden, prohibits manufacturers from selling or offering to sell cosmetics in Maine that are developed or manufactured using animal testing. According to the Humane Society of the United States, advocates have been working to address cosmetic testing on animals since the late 1970s. The European Union began the global trend toward eliminating animal testing in 2013, creating the world’s largest cruelty-free cosmetics marketplace. In 2018, according to the Animal Legal Defense Fund, California became the first state in the United States to ban the sale of cosmetics newly tested on animals, followed by Nevada, Illinois and Virginia. With LD 1551, Maine has the opportunity to join other states considering the ban this year.

“Not only is the practice of testing cosmetics on animals inhumane, it is unnecessary,” said Doudera. “Cosmetics companies have the ability to use existing ingredients with a history of safe use, or, if they choose to use new ingredients, they can choose from a wide range of new non-animal test methods. These new methods not only spare animal lives, but they also represent the best that science has to offer and can provide more relevant data.”

Doudera serves on the Legislature’s Environment and Natural Resources Committee and represents the towns of Camden, Islesboro and Rockport. She thanked fellow Midcoast legislators Sen. Chip Curry and Rep. Valli Geiger, both of whom serve on the Legislature’s Innovation, Development, Economic Advancement and Business Committee, responsible for passing the bill.

Miramant introduces bills on small businesses and workers’ rights

Sen. Dave Miramant, D-Camden, introduced two bills to support small businesses and workers’ rights April 30. LD 959, “An Act To Protect Small Businesses by Ensuring That a Prevailing Wage Is Paid on Public Works Construction Projects,” expands the definition of “construction” for Maine public works projects by including payments for work performed both on- and off-site. LD 1519, “An Act To Increase Workplace Transparency with Regard to Arbitration Agreements, the Rights of Employees and Legal Remedies,” enacts the Maine Workplace Transparency Act, which would ensure certain rights for employees subject to arbitration agreements as part of their employment. Both bills were the subject of public hearings before the Legislature’s Labor and Housing Committee.

LD 959 expands the definition of “construction” so that the prevailing wage requirement cannot be circumnavigated by remote duties for a project. Currently, there is no protection in Maine statute for off-site projects. LD 959 makes way for the prevailing wage requirement for contracted work that is performed on site or at an off-site location within 350 miles of the site of the public works or where more than 10% of the contracted work is performed.

LD 1519 enacts the Maine Workplace Transparency Act that grants certain rights to employees subject to arbitration as part of their employment. It also provides a list of unconscionable terms in an arbitration agreement that may not be used against employees, as well as a list of rights for employees in their conduct both in and out of the workplace. Arbitration is an out-of-court method for resolving a dispute between a worker and an employer.

LD 959 and LD 1519 face further action in committee.

Doudera introduces bill to protect children from gun violence

Rep. Vicki Doudera, D-Camden, introduced LD 759, An Act To Amend the Child Endangerment Laws To Include Certain Unauthorized Access to a Loaded Firearm, before the Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee on April 21.

LD 759 states that, if a loaded firearm is stored or left where a child is likely to gain access to it, and a child uses the loaded firearm, the firearm owner is considered to have endangered the welfare of the child and will be charged with committing a Class D crime.

Close to 40 people, including physicians, nurses, teachers, parents, grandparents, hunters and school counselors, testified in support of the bill. The Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee will hold a work session on LD 759 Friday, April 30 at 1 p.m.

Committee passes Miramant bill to require the state to fund 55 percent of public school costs

The Legislature’s Education and Cultural Affairs Committee approved a bill sponsored by Sen. Dave Miramant, D-Camden, April 21 that would require the state to fund a mandatory 55 percent of public school costs for the fiscal year 2021-2022. LD 1114, “An Act To Require the State To Meet the Mandatory 55 Percent Contribution to Schools,” passed in committee by a vote of 7-3.

The Act would make sure the state share of funding essential programs and services of public school is 55 percent. In 2003, Maine voters passed a citizen referendum that required the state to pay for 55 percent of the costs of operating public schools in order to reduce property taxes. Since then, the state has never met that requirement.

LD 1114 now faces votes in the Senate and the House.

Miramant introduces bill to explore potential automatic vote-by-mail system

Sen. Dave Miramant, D-Camden, introduced a bill that April 21 that would direct the Secretary of State to study the options for establishing an automatic vote-by-mail system in Maine. LD 1354, “Resolve, To Study the Establishment of a System of Voting by Mail,” was the subject of a public hearing before the Legislature’s Veterans and Legal Affairs Committee.

Joann Bautista, Deputy Secretary of State Policy Advisor, testified in favor of the bill.

LD 1354 faces further action in committee.

Miramant introduces bill to increase transparency in health care costs

Sen. Dave Miramant, D-Camden, introduced a bill April 20 that would require hospitals to publicly post the costs of medical procedures and services on a publicly accessible website. LD 1353, “An Act To Require the Public Posting of the Costs of Medical Procedures, Services, Medications and Equipment Delivered in Hospitals and the Reporting of Those Costs upon Request,” was the subject of a public hearing before the Legislature’s Health Coverage, Insurance and Financial Service Committee.

LD 1353 goes beyond requiring that costs be publicly posted by adding that it shall provide notice of the posting to its patients as well as providing this information upon patient request. If a hospital violates this provision, it would be subject to a fine.

LD 1353 faces further action in committee.

Doudera and Miramant bill banning chlorpyrifos passes unanimously

The Maine Legislature’s Joint Standing Committee on Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry unanimously passed LD 316, An Act To Prohibit the Use of Chlorpyrifos, April 20. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Vicki Doudera and co-sponsored by Sen. Dave Miramant, both of Camden, bans the use of chlorpyrifos, an organophosphate pesticide proven to cause adverse impacts on the environment, human health, and food system.

The residential indoor use of chlorpyrifos was banned by the EPA in 2000. In July 2015, the federal government proposed a ban on chlorpyrifos everywhere after reviewing multiple research studies, partly funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, highlighting the substance’s negative impacts. Despite the overwhelming evidence from its own agency, the federal government reversed the proposed ban in 2017.

Sen. Miramant, lead co-sponsor of the bill, thanked local legislators Sen. Chloe Maxmin and Rep. Bill Pluecker who serve on the Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Committee.

The bill will face further votes in the House and Senate in the coming weeks. If passed into law, the prohibition of the pesticide will begin in 2022, allowing limited exemptions for one year.

 

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