Skip to main content

UPDATE: The Budget, Buy American, Federal & State Employees

Andy O’Brien
Social share icons

The Maine Legislature is entering the home stretch with a week or so to go. Here are quick updates on a number of the bills we are working on.

State Supplemental Budget: The Maine AFL-CIO is working to strengthen the state supplemental budget by protecting pensions from tax increases, making progress on the state employee pay gap by incorporating parts of LD 2121 and working to raise wages for workers. Changes will certainly be made to the supplemental budget and we will keep you updated.

Support for Federal & State Workers During Government Shutdowns (LD 2113): A bill to provide federal and state workers with no interest loans during government shutdowns passed on party lines in the Maine Senate 22-13 and 75-66 in the Maine House. The bill will have additional votes and then head to the Appropriations table where it will need funding.

Buy American (LD 1983): A bill to encourage Maine and US jobs passed on party lines in the Senate 22-12 and failed on an initial vote in the House. We are working to secure House passage of the bill on subsequent votes. The bill would require any materials valued over $5000 — such as iron, cement and steel — used in state-funded construction projects to be manufactured in the United States. The measure, which is sponsored by Senate President Troy Jackson, would also require that if two or more bids are submitted that are substantially similar, that the state give preference to in-state contractors in awarding the construction contract.

LD 1983 would give American workers and businesses the first shot at state government-funded contracts, ensuring taxpayer money is reinvested right back into our local communities, including here in Maine. The federal government already has Buy American laws in place, as do states like New Hampshire, New York, New Jersey, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Texas.

Pre-Apprenticeship Funding (LD 2280): The Maine AFL-CIO has been working to expand the use of pre-apprenticeship programs in Maine. Our bill (Sen. Tipping, D - Orono) to increase funding for pre-apprenticeship programs through the Maine Department of Labor received a unanimous committee vote and has been enacted in both the House and Senate. The big challenge on this bill will be to win the funding on the Appropriations table.