Public Policy Task Force

The members convened at 8:30 am using the virtual meeting technology.

PRESENT: Phil Bosse, Jenni Tilton-Flood, Luke Shorty, Jeff McCabe, Maryalice Crofton

Status check on state legislation. LD 1573 (ed award state income tax exemption) did not have a public hearing or work session. Both were cancelled. SLG notified bill sponsor that committee chairs have agreed the bill should move to Taxation which is why it went straight to work session.

LDs 142 and 143 have passed in both chambers. LD 142 passed on roll call and has been sent to the appropriations table. LD 143 (Maine Service Fellows) passed both chambers without roll call but has not been sent to appropriations table. It has an odd status of being referred to housing committee. Members noted hearing from legislators that LD142 creates a staff position in the Commission which is not the case. 

It has become apparent that the bills can’t be discussed together because listeners are conflating the two, even continuing to say MSF is the same thing as climate corps when it is not. MSF is focused on COVID recovery, workforce development, mental health, substance use disorder, and home eviction prevention.

LD666 has a divided ought-to-pass (OTP) vote in committee but has not been reported out. Jenni noted there is a belief among legislators she’s talked to that the bill creates new headcount. Jeff said there is general agreement between the legislature and governor’s staff that no new positions should be created so long as the number of vacancies among state employee jobs remains high. Committee members realized there needs to be a single message on this bill – this is not a new position, the head count has existed for a while. The bill provides funding that will ensure the work continues in a reliable manner.

LD 1260 (change in fiscal agent study) got unanimous OTP in committee but has not been reported out.

Task force member actions. The following were agreed to:

For public hearing on 1573 – finalize draft handout focused on AmeriCorps ed award. Update AmeriCorps Alums so they know the change in committee and date. Commissioner talking point needs to clarify that this is a tax cut for the people who earned it through service. The ed award is not a grant or scholarship but is directly tied to service hours.

For LD 666 – Jenni will send a message to a list of volunteer program managers asking them to sign on to a letter of support.

Luke summarized three major points from meeting that need to be communicated:

  • No bill impacting the Commission calls for creation of new positions.
  • LD 142 and LD 143 are not the same. They are very separate programs to be funded through each proposal.
  • LD 1573 equates to a tax cut for individuals redeeming education awards.

The next meeting is May 17. The order of the agenda will change to discussing federal issues first since there was no time for that check-in today. The members dispersed at 9:32 am.