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130th Legislature: First Regular Session Summary

by Jennifer Hutchins

Maine legislators finally wrapped up the first session of the 130th Legislature this year, ending a highly unusual session. The new legislature did much of its committee work virtually, held sessions in the Augusta Civic Center, adjourned and reconvened, but ultimately adjourned in the State House and with the doors reopened to the public. MANP effectively informed decision-makers of the importance of the sector, the challenges many organizations have faced because of the pandemic and how nonprofits have risen to meet increased community demands.

The big closing news was Governor Mills signing LD 1733, the much-anticipated ARPA funding bill. While the governor hoped to garner enough support to enact emergency funding (requires a 2/3 vote in each chamber), that did not occur. As a result, the bill will need to wait 90 days until it can be implemented. In coming weeks, eyes now turn to county and municipal officials as they decide how to spend their ARPA allocations. To encourage transparency, equity and inclusive decision-making in this process, MANP is urging nonprofits to share with regional officials this set of guidelines from the National Council of Nonprofits.

In sum, the following are bills MANP either monitored or weighed in on this session. The biggest threat was LD 659 which would have imposed a Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) on all nonprofits with annual budgets of $50,000 or more. MANP and its partners successfully defeated this bill, while also taking the opportunity to educate the Taxation Committee about the nonprofit sector.

Appropriations Committee

LD 1733 An Act To Provide Allocations for the Distribution of State Fiscal Recovery Funds Appropriations (Sen. Cathy Breen, D-Cumberland County)
Summary: This bill requires the Department of Administrative and Financial Services to submit legislation to the Joint Standing Committee on Appropriations and Financial Affairs that, using funding from the State Fiscal Recovery Fund as established by the federal American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, accomplishes the following goals: Immediate recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic; Long-term economic growth; and Infrastructure revitalization.
MANP Position: Support
Outcome: Enacted by Legislature. Signed by Governor Mills. Becomes Public Law after 90 days.

Taxation Committee

LD 86 An Act To Make Sales to Area Agencies on Aging Tax-exempt (Rep. McRae, D-Fort Fairfield)
Summary: This bill provides an exemption from the sales and use tax to area agencies on aging, as designated by the Department of Health and Human Services, and public and private nonprofit agencies that are operating under grants provided by the department, that provide social services in order to secure and maintain maximum independence and dignity in a home environment for older people capable of self-care with appropriate supportive services.
MANP Position: Support
Outcome: Enacted by legislature. Signed by Governor Mills. Becomes Public Law after 90 days.

LD 401 An Act To Provide a Sales and Use Tax Exemption for Certain Nonprofit Cemeteries (Rep. Underwood, R-Presque Isle)
Summary: This bill creates a sales and use tax exemption for an incorporated nonprofit cemetery 8 that is exempt from federal income tax under the United States Internal Revenue Code of 9 1986.
MANP Position: Monitored
Outcome: Enacted by legislature. Signed by Governor Mills. Becomes Public Law after 90 days.

LD 659 An Act To Ease the Property Tax Burden by Authorizing Municipalities To Require Payments in Lieu of Taxes from Certain Exempt Organizations (PILOT) (Rep. Will Tuell, R-Machias.)
Summary: This bill permits municipalities to adopt an ordinance to impose an impact fee on certain property that is exempt from property tax unless the owner of the property has entered into an agreement to make payments in lieu of taxes. An impact fee may not be imposed if the owner of the property has an annual budget of less than $50,000.
MANP Position: Oppose
Outcome: Ought Not to Pass (Dead)

LD 671 An Act To Allow the Sale of Raffle Tickets Online (EMERGENCY) (Sen. Jackson, D-Aroostook)
Summary: This bill allows a person to buy a raffle ticket online.
MANP Position: Support
Outcome: Public Law

LD 685 An Act To Legalize Online Raffles for Nonprofit Organizations (Sen. Timberlake, R-Androscoggin)
Summary: This bill allows nonprofit organizations to sell raffle chances or tickets online or by other electronic means.
MANP Position: Support
Outcome: Ought Not to Pass per Joint Rule 310 (Dead)

LD 1037 An Act To Enable Nonprofit Organizations To Offer Raffle Tickets by Mail (Rep. Black, R-Franklin)
Summary: This bill allows bona fide nonprofit organizations, agricultural societies and volunteer fire departments, when conducting an authorized raffle, to offer raffle tickets for purchase by mail and requires the organization to ensure that any person purchasing a raffle ticket by mail is at least years of age.
MANP Position: Support
Outcome: Ought Not to Pass per Joint Rule 310 (Dead)

LD 1251: An Act To Encourage Charitable Giving. Public Hearing April 15, 9 a.m., Taxation (Rep. Arata, R-New Gloucester)
Summary: This bill allows an individual to claim, beginning with taxable years beginning on or after January 1, 2021, itemized deductions from Maine adjusted gross income for individual income tax purposes for charitable contributions that exceed the State’s limit on itemized deductions.
MANP Position: Support
Outcome: Ought Not to Pass (Dead)

LD 1524 An Act To Amend the Maine Exclusion Amount in the Estate Tax (Rep. Collings, D-Portland)
Summary: This bill returns the exclusion amount, below which the Maine estate tax does not apply, to $2,000,000 from the $5,600,000 in current law for estates of descendants dying on or after January 1, 2022. This bill also creates an additional exclusion amount from the estate tax for family farms and aquaculture, fishing and wood harvesting businesses of up to $3,800,000. This additional exclusion applies to farmland or depreciable machinery and equipment used in agriculture, aquaculture, fishing or wood harvesting that is inherited by a family member and remains in commercial use for 5 years following transfer. Both the $2,000,000 exclusion amount and the $3,800,000 additional exclusion amount are annually adjusted for inflation beginning in 2024.
MANP Position: Monitoring
Outcome: Ought Not to Pass (Dead)

Labor Committee

LD 607 An Act To Restore Overtime Protections for Maine Workers (Rep. Rachel Talbot Ross, D-Portland)
Summary: This bill annually raises the minimum salary that an employee who works in an executive, administrative or professional capacity must earn in order for that employee to be exempt from the laws governing the minimum wage and overtime pay until it is $55,224 on January 1, 2024. The bill provides for an annual adjustment, beginning January 1, 2025, based on the percentage annual increase in certain earnings as published by the United 22 States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics.
MANP Position: Neither for/nor against
Outcome: Carried over.

Judiciary Committee

LD 683 An Act To Allow Maine Nonprofit Corporations To Hold Meetings Electronically (Sen. Stewart, R-Aroostook)
Summary: This bill allows the board of directors of a nonprofit corporation to adopt guidelines and procedures for remote meetings or to allow members to participate remotely.
MANP Position: Support
Outcome: Public Law

LD 732 An Act To Refund 50 Percent of 2020 State Liquor Licensing Fees to Nonprofit Organizations Sen. Trey Stewart, R Aroostook Judiciary
Summary: This bill allows nonprofit organizations that were licensed by the Department of Administrative and Financial Services, Bureau of Alcoholic Beverages and Lottery Operations to sell liquor for on-premises consumption on March 18, 2020 and not able to remain open in the year 2020 due to emergency public health restrictions to request a 50% refund of the initial licensure or license renewal fees they paid for a liquor license.
MANP Position: Monitored
Outcome: Ought Not to Pass per Joint Rule 310 (Dead)

LD 887 Act To Require Uniform Adherence to Internal Revenue Service Guidelines by Maine Nonprofit Organizations (Rep. Stearns, R-Guilford)
Summary: This bill is a concept draft pursuant to Joint Rule 208. This bill would establish methods to ensure the compliance of nonprofit organizations, particularly smaller nonprofit organizations, with standard audit practices and income reporting requirements.
MANP Position: Monitored
Outcome: Ought Not to Pass (Dead)

LD 1403 An Act To Protect Maine Businesses, Nonprofits, Educational Institutions and Municipalities during the COVID-19 Pandemic. (Rep. Dillingham, R-Oxford)
Summary: This bill provides a limitation against liability for a municipality, educational 3 institution or for-profit or nonprofit business organization from suit alleging personal 4 liability due to exposure to coronavirus if the municipality, educational institution or 5 business organization is following applicable government standards and guidance related 6 to coronavirus exposure.
MANP Position: Monitored
Outcome: Ought Not to Pass (Dead)

Innovation, Development, Economic Advancement & Business (IDEA) Committee

LD 1566 An Act To Support Live Entertainment Venues (Rep. Collings Benjamin, D-Portland)
Summary: This amendment, which is the majority report of the committee, replaces the resolve. The amendment directs the Maine Arts Commission to create a program to provide public art recovery grants using any funds derived from the federal American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 that are eligible for the purposes of the program.
MANP Position: Support
Outcome: Carried over.

LD 1641 An Act To Ensure Continued Access to Film and Stage Theaters (Sen. Matthea Daughtry, D-Cumberland County)
Summary: This amendment, which is the majority report of the committee, replaces the bill with a resolve. The resolve directs the Department of Economic and Community Development to create and administer a program and fund to provide grants to movie and stage theaters and music venues within this State. The funds for the program come from funds available for the purpose of the program in the federal American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. The department is required to follow guidelines from the United States Department of the Treasury for the use of those funds in creating the program. The eligibility criteria in the bill are changed to remove the 30% decline in ticket sales and replace it with a demonstrated financial loss as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. It also adds that an applicant is still eligible if a state or local tax lien on record was applied on or after March 15, 2020. The department is required to report to the Joint Standing Committee on Innovation, Development, Economic Advancement and Business by January 15, 2022.
MANP Position: Support
Outcome: Carried over.

Health Care, Insurance & Financial Services (HCIFS) Committee

LD 1622 An Act To Promote Individual Retirement Savings through a Public-Private Partnership Sen. Vitelli D-Sagadahoc County)
Summary: This bill establishes the Maine Retirement Savings Board to establish and administer the Maine Retirement Savings Program. The bill designates the Treasurer of State as the chair of the board and places the program under the oversight of the Office of the Treasurer of State. The bill requires the board to develop a voluntary program to offer individual defined contribution retirement accounts for persons employed in the State who do not have access to a qualified retirement plan through their employers or who are self-employed.
MANP Position: Support
Outcome: Public Law

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