An Act To Improve Opportunity in the Maine Woods
Emergency preamble. Whereas, acts and resolves of the Legislature do not become effective until 90 days after adjournment unless enacted as emergencies; and
Whereas, workers in the Maine woods and the wood industry in Maine face significant economic obstacles; and
Whereas, a recent study by the Office of the Attorney General of logging industry conditions in northern and eastern Maine found "clear evidence of market concentration" but was unable, due to lack of access to information, to determine whether market concentration resulted in the payment of below-market rates for services; and
Whereas, the rate-setting law designed to counteract the effects of market concentration and provide increased opportunities for workers to make a living in the Maine woods is currently having an adverse impact on those opportunities; and
Whereas, federal and state officials are beginning vigorous efforts to enforce federal and state laws related to the use of foreign labor and foreign labor certification to ensure that Maine workers have a fair opportunity to fill jobs in the Maine woods before foreign labor is brought into the country; and
Whereas, those efforts include in-person verification of equipment ownership by employers of bond workers to enforce the Maine Revised Statutes, Title 26, section 872; and
Whereas, this legislation triples the fines applicable for violations of the Maine Revised Statutes, Title 26, section 872; and
Whereas, the United States Department of Labor is undertaking a review of contractor practices to investigate allegations that contractors are not following federal law in their efforts to obtain foreign labor to work in the Maine woods and may deny or revoke authorization to use foreign labor to those contractors who are not in compliance with federal law; and
Whereas, the Maine Department of Labor is requesting that the United States Department of Labor establish rates to allow owners to obtain fair pay for equipment in the Maine woods; and
Whereas, the Governor is committed to keeping up pressure on the United States Department of Labor as well as overseeing the efforts of the Maine Department of Labor to implement these enhanced enforcement efforts for the purpose of improving economic opportunity for workers in the Maine woods; and
Whereas, changes are needed immediately to improve economic opportunity in the current logging season; and
Whereas, in the judgment of the Legislature, these facts create an emergency within the meaning of the Constitution of Maine and require the following legislation as immediately necessary for the preservation of the public peace, health and safety; now, therefore,
Sec. 1. 26 MRSA §872, sub-§2, as enacted by PL 2005, c. 461, §1, is amended to read:
Sec. 2. 26 MRSA §872, sub-§5, as enacted by PL 2005, c. 461, §1, is amended to read:
Sec. 3. 26 MRSA §872, sub-§6 is enacted to read:
Sec. 4. 26 MRSA §931-B, as enacted by PL 2003, c. 670, §2, is repealed.
Sec. 5. 26 MRSA c. 18, as amended, is repealed.
Sec. 6. Appropriations and allocations. The following appropriations and allocations are made.
LABOR, DEPARTMENT OF
Labor Relations Board 0160
Initiative: Reduces funds for the per diem and related costs of the State Board of Arbitration and Conciliation due to the repeal of the rate determination process for forest products hauling and harvesting services.
|GENERAL FUND TOTAL||($3,300)||($3,300)|
|OTHER SPECIAL REVENUE FUNDS||2009-10||2010-11|
|OTHER SPECIAL REVENUE FUNDS TOTAL||($18,360)||($18,360)|
Emergency clause. In view of the emergency cited in the preamble, this legislation takes effect when approved.