Farm Bureau at work in Augusta

Legislative Impact ReportUpcoming Legislative ActivityFebruary 4–8, 2019Over 2,000 bill titles were submitted for the 129th Legislative Session. Many of those bills will impact agriculture. While you are doing the important work of feeding the world, Maine Farm Bureau will work on your behalf at the State House, making sure farming, forestry and fishing are protected.IMPORTANT COMMITTEE HEARING NOTICES: THE COMMITTEE ON AGRICULTURE, CONSERVATION AND FORESTRY WILL MEET ON THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 7TH AT 1 PMTO DISCUSS THE DAIRY TIER PROGRAM. PLEASE ATTEND AND TELL THE COMMITTEE HOW IMPORTANT THE PROGRAM HAS BEEN TO YOUR FARM!If you cannot attend but would like to provide written testimony, please call the office and we will assist you.
THE CONFIMRATION HEARING FOR AGRICULTURE, CONSERVATION AND FORESTRY COMMISSIONER NOMINEE AMANDA BEAL WILL BE HELD THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 14TH AT 1 PM.If you cannot attend but would like to provide written testimony, please call the office and we will assist you.Maine Farm Bureau’s Legislative Committee, comprised of a wonderful group of farmers from every commodity, production philosophy, and size of farm, met on Friday, February 1, 2019 to discuss the bills that had been published. The Committee reviewed over 60 bills, voting to Support, Monitor or Oppose. The Committee will be meeting regularly throughout the legislative session to discuss bills as they are published and provide input so your voice will be heard at the State House and your farm will be protected. We are extremely grateful to all the farmers who volunteered their time to discuss these important issues.Bills MFB SupportsBills MFB is MonitoringBills MFB OpposesCOMMITTEE HEARINGS THIS WEEKMonday, February 4th Inland Fisheries and WildlifeCross Building, Room 206 1:00 pmLD 175, HP 138 An Act To Extend the Deer Hunting Season by 2 Saturdays – McCreaMONITORLD 188, HP 151 An Act To Provide for an Expanded Muzzle-loading-only Deer Hunting Season – TuellOPPOSEThe Committee discussed the importance of leaving the decision to extend the season with the Commissioner.
Tuesday, February 5thHouse and Senate in Session, 10:00 am
Agriculture Conservation and ForestryCross Building, Room 214 1:00 pmLD 36, HP 37 An Act To Change the Composition of the Board of Pesticides Control – PlueckerOPPOSEThe Committee was grateful to have Representative Pluecker, also a member of MFB, attend the Legislative Committee meeting as an invited guest. Representative Pluecker and listened to feedback about this bill, which would require the two public members of the Board of Pesticides Control have a “demonstrated interest in environmental protection.” Several changes to the language were suggested by members, but the Committee voted to oppose this bill based on the current language, which was identified as too vague.LD 127, HP 109 An Act To Amend the Laws Governing Maine Potato Board Districts – MartinSupportThis bill make important changes to the Potato Board Districts, to reflect the decrease in the number of growers.LD 145, HP 127 An Act To Expand the Membership of the Wild Blueberry Commission of Maine – AlleySupportThis bill would change the qualifications for the Wild Blueberry Commission.
Energy Utilities and TechnologyCross Building, Room 211 1:00 pmLD 147, HP 129 An Act To Extend Internet Availability in Rural Maine – AlleySUPPORTLD 173, HP 136 An Act To Promote Economic Development and Critical Communications for Family Farms, Businesses and Residences by Strategic Public Investment in High-speed InternetSUPPORT
Many of our members are unable to access high-speed internet at their farms. The need for high-speed internet is critical for many farm operations, and will be even more important as precision agriculture and other technology changes. 

Wednesday, February 6thInland Fisheries and WildlifeCross Building, Room 206 f9:00 amLD 74, SP 27 An Act To Reform Maine’s Fish and Wildlife Management SystemMONITORThis bill is a concept draft. Maine Farm Bureau will monitor and work to ensure the language works for farmers.
TaxationWork SessionState House, Room 127 10:00 am
LD 70, SP 23 An Act To Support the Trades through a Tax Credit for Apprenticeship Programs – HerbigSUPPORTThis bill permits an employer who employs an apprentice participating in an approved apprenticeship program to receive a tax credit and provides for a partial credit if the employer employs a participating apprentice for fewer than 2,000 hours during a calendar year.LD 86, HP 72 An Act To Provide That Persons Who Produce Maple Syrup and Honey Commercially Are Eligible for the Sales Tax Refund and Exemption for Commercial Agricultural Production – KinneyThis bill, presented by longtime member Rep. MaryAnne Kinney, makes a critical change to the sales tax refund and exemption for commercial maple syrup and honey producers. There have been several producers that were recently denied when applying for the exemption, and defining maple syrup and honey as commercial agricultural production should eliminate any further confusion.
Thursday, February 7thHouse and Senate in Session, 10:00 am
Agriculture Conservation and ForestryCross Building, Room 214 1:00 pmLD 24, HP 25 Resolve, Regarding Legislative Review of Chapter 26: Producer Margins, a Major Substantive Rule of the Maine Milk Commission
TransportationState House, Room 126 1:00 pmLD 261, SP 73 An Act To Restrict the Authority for Posting of Roads – BlackSUPPORTThis bill, presented by longtime member Senator Black, would require justification of roads being posted for longer than 6 weeks. This addresses a critical issues for commercial agricultural vehicles that can sometimes encounter roads that can be safely traveled but have been posted for an excessive period of time.
Friday, April 20th • 10:00AMNo hearings scheduledClick the buttons below to view live videos during the House and Senate sessions.Link to House Live VideoLink to Senate Live VideoYOUR HELP IS NEEDED!We are working hard every day to ensure your voice is heard at the legislature. We can’t do that important work without your help! Membership dues and donations help ensure our continued work and success for generations to come.DONATE HEREHelpful Legislative LinksCOMMITTEE HEARINGS SCHEDULED FOR FEBRUARY 11-15, 2019Monday, February 11thInland Fisheries and WildlifeCross Building, Room 206 9:00 amLD 275, SP 87 An Act To Change the Bag Limits on Wild Turkey – MiramantSUPPORTLD 321, HP 246 An Act To Ensure the Continuation of the Landowner Relations Program – KeschlSUPPORT
Tuesday, February 5thHouse and Senate in Session, 10:00 am
Agriculture Conservation and ForestryLD 292, HP 216 An Act To Feed Maine’s Residents by Allowing Dairy Dealers and Producers in the State To Donate Fresh Milk to Food Banks in the State – MillettMONITORCurrently, Maine’s minimum milk pricing laws prevents direct donations of milk because it is viewed as a “retail transaction” and would be below the minimum price. Good Shephard Food Bank, Oakhurst Dairy, the Maine Milk Commission, MDIA & Maine Farm Bureau had several meetings to discuss possible solutions, but did not come up with an alternative that was acceptable to all parties. MFB will monitor the bill to ensure that any proposed language will preserve Maine’s minimum milk pricing laws and find the best solution to providing milk to families in need. 
LD 351, HP 277 An Act To Ensure Accuracy in the Labeling of Maine Meat and Poultry – PlueckerSUPPORTThis bill, presented by member Bill Pluecker, works to ensure that the integrity of meat and poultry labeled with a Maine or Maine-grown designation. 
LD 355, SP 95 An Act To Exclude Domesticated Species Used for Agricultural Purposes from the Laws Governing Permits To Possess Wildlife in Captivity – BlackMONITORThis bill, presented by member Russell Black, exempts wildlife that is domestically raised, hybridized or genetically altered and specifically used for farming or ranching or agritourism activity from the prohibition on keeping wildlife in captivity.
Wednesday, February 6thTaxationLD 241, HP 204 An Act To Adjust the Personal Property Tax Exemption for Farm Machinery – O’NeilSUPPORTRep. O’Neil worked with MFB to create this bill, based on a resolution that became policy at the recent MFB Annual Meeting. The bill adjusts the exemption from $10,000 to $45,000 to account for inflation. The last time the exemption was adjusted was in 1977.LD 424, HP 333 An Act To Provide a Sales Tax Exemption for Baling Twine, Net and Wrapping for Hay – O’NeilSUPPORTRep. O’Neil worked with MFB to create this bill, based on a resolution that became policy at the recent MFB Annual Meeting. In the 128th Legislative Session, a similar bill was supported by the House and Senate but vetoed by Governor LePage. This bill would remove the tax on twine, net and wrap used on-farm.
Thursday, February 7thAgriculture Conservation and ForestryCross Building, Room 214 1:00 pmConfirmation Hearing of Amanda Beal

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