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Mangoes, Potatoes, Limes and Rhubarb

by Jennifer Gray

What do these have in common? Why they are the Fruits and Vegetables of the Month!

Veggies for All (credit Maine Farmland Trust, member since 2000)

Many of us have been preparing our gardens while our Legislators have been doing the same. Legislative committees have been busy working bills, preparing for them to blossom (or not) on the floor of the House and Senate. Many committees have wrapped up their work and there’s much more activity in the House and Senate. We expect the last of the bills we’re working on to come to the floor soon. However, we’re still keeping an eye on the budget discussions and are hopeful that issues that we’ve been working on do not get drawn into the budget negotiations.

Last week was fairly quiet. There was a rumor that the House was going to take up LD 727, but it didn’t. I expect to see it debated in the House soon. See updates below.

“Service Charges”

  • LD 1521, An Act to Amend the Property Tax Laws (Hilliard)(Governor’s bill) (MANP opposes).
    • The committee vote was 9-3 ONTP-OTP.
    • The bill has not been reported out of committee.

Property Taxes

  • LD 727,  An Act to Protect the Tax Base of Municipalities by Removing the Property Tax Exemption for Land Held for Conservation or Public Access Purposes (Stetkis) (removes exemption for land trusts)(MANP opposes)
    • ONTP-OTP (8-4). Reported out of committee.
    • This bill was tabled in the House at our request in order to provide some time to prepare a couple of speakers. It may run in the House this week.

Surplus Property

  • LD 648, An Act to Expand the Types of Nonprofit Organizations to Which Surplus Property May Be Sold by the State (Grant) (allows nonprofits to purchase surplus property from the state prior to auction)(MANP supports)
    • Was enacted by the House, but was put on the Appropriations Table.
    • That’s where bills go just prior to enactment in the Senate if they have a fiscal note.
    • This bill has a very minor fiscal note.
    • The State and Local Government Committee senate chair, Sen. Paul Davis, has arranged for the minor cost to be absorbed and the bill should go through.
    • It’s unclear whether the Governor will veto the bill or not.

Voluntary Payments in Lieu of Taxes

  • LD 1289, An Act to Provide Payments in Lieu of Taxes in the Unorganized Territory (Dill) (creates a mechanism for the state to receive voluntary payments in lieu of taxes in the unorganized part of the state)(MANP supports).
    • The committee amended the bill to address some concerns raised by the unorganized territory administrator and received a unanimous ought to pass as amended vote.
    • The bill has been reported out of committee. Expect to see this come up for vote this week.

Transparency

  • LD 1435, An Act to Ensure the Transparency in the Distribution of Federal Block Grants (Jorgensen)(increases transparency in the distribution of federal block grants)(MANP supports).
    • Rep. Jorgensen offered an amendment to eliminate some language addressing legislative approval of the spending.
    • The Health and Human Services Committee voted to carry the bill over.
    • Taking this bill up next year will give time to see whether the federal government increases its use of block grants and, if so, the committee may be more interested in addressing transparency.

Reimbursement Increase

  • LD 967, An Act to Ensure Access to Community Services for Persons with Intellectual Disabilities or Autism (Herbig)(increases reimbursement rates).
    • The Health and Human Services Committee voted on LD 967.
    • It’s a divided report 7-6 along party lines.
    • Both reports are OTPA with different amendments.

Johnson Amendment

  • We’re offering a webinar in collaboration with our national partners, The National Council of Nonprofits, on Friday, June 9 at 10 a.m. to provide more information about efforts to repeal and weaken the Johnson Amendment.
  • Senator King has responded to our communications regarding the Johnson Amendment and appears opposed to efforts to undermine the Johnson Amendment.

Shout Out

  • The National Council of Nonprofits drew attention to our work on LD 1435 (above) in a national newsletter, The Council of Foundations’ Washington Snapshot last week.

Elder  Abuse

KEY
  • ONTP = Ought Not to Pass
  • OTPA = Ought to Pass As Amended
  • OTP= Ought to Pass

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