SHARE:

Legislative Advocacy in Full Swing in Augusta

The 129th Legislature is in full swing in Augusta with public hearings and work sessions as legislators work on bills in respective committees. The League has been very involved with tracking and testifying on several pieces of legislation. While there are many reoccurring bill ideas that impact credit unions; such as foreclosure changes, the creation of a State Bank, consumer debt issues, there are a number of bills pertaining to workplace management issues. The Governmental Affairs team is closely reviewing and monitoring these bills to determine any potential impact these bills could have on the staffing and functions of credit unions.

Early in the session, credit unions earned their first win with the passage of L.D. 242, “An Act To Amend the Laws Governing Multiple-party Accounts with Financial Institutions.” In 2018, the Maine Legislature enacted legislation that changed how financial institutions open multiple-party accounts through the passage of L.D. 968. The intent of the law was to help protect seniors from financial exploitation, but it created uncertainty for credit unions when opening or changing multiple-party accounts. The League was successful in its push to remove these requirements in favor of the new Probate Code, which comes into effect on July 1, 2019.

This session also has seen a number of bills aimed at combatting hunger, including L.D. 701, “An Act To Modernize the National School Lunch Program and the School Breakfast Program,” sponsored by Senator Shenna Bellows (D-Kennebec).  The bill would create an online application for the federal free or reduced lunch program. L.D. 701 was unanimously passed out of committee with bipartisan support and is awaiting a vote on the floor.

Senator Matthew Pouliot (R-Kennebec) sponsored a bill to add financial literacy to the Maine curriculum on which the League testified in favor. Senator Pouliot’s bill was included in a larger education bill, L.D. 283, sponsored by Representative Victoria Kornfield (D- Bangor) to update and review major rule changes to the Maine Learning Results made by the Department of Education. Governor Janet Mills signed L.D. 283 on April 19, 2019 for emergency enactment.

The League’s Governmental Affairs team is actively advocating on behalf of our credit union network in Augusta. To provide input to the League on the bills before the legislature this session, feel free to reach out to Vice-President of Governmental Affairs Robert Caverly at rcaverly@mainecul.org or to Regulatory & Legislative Advocacy Coordinator Ellen Parent at eparent@mainecul.org.