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Legislative Advocacy Update

The Maine Legislature is back in session and working through a large volume of bills. The League has been busy at the State House attending hearings, participating in works sessions, and providing testimony on issues that could impact credit unions.

“The legislative session is off to a busy and productive start,” said Robert Caverly, Vice President of Governmental Affairs at the Maine Credit Union League. “We are actively tracking over 30 bills, developing testimony for three upcoming hearings, and have testified at three legislative hearings since the beginning of the year.”

Three priority bills include:

  • LD 1963, “An Act To Preserve the Value of Abandoned Properties by Allowing Entry by Mortgagees”
  • LD 1053, “An Act To Reduce the Period of Enforcement for Judgments Based upon Consumer Obligations”
  • LD 1748, “An Act to Allow for the Establishment of Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy Programs (CPACE)”

The League testified in favor of LD 1963, which will assist mortgage holders when a homeowner abandons property during a foreclosure. The bill is before the Judiciary Committee for consideration and a work session is scheduled for February 6. The Governmental Affairs team is actively working with the bill’s opponents to find a compromise that is agreeable to both sides.

Last year, the League testified in opposition to LD 1053 and has been engaging with consumer advocate groups to amend the bill. As initially drafted, the proposal would reduce the amount of time a judgment or decree from a court is presumed satisfied from twenty years to one year. The bill was voted out the Legislature’s Judiciary Committee with an amendment that reduces the time to a ten-year period with a ten-year renewal option. The League finds this change acceptable.

LD 1748 creates a CPACE lending program for the state of Maine. This type of loan is intended to provide landlords with a nontraditional means of financing energy efficient improvements to commercial property. CPACE loans would be assessed by municipalities in the same manner as property taxes and would take a senior position to the mortgage in the case of a default. The League has testified in opposition to the bill as written, but is in conversations with the interested parties to protect secured mortgages.

“Protecting credit union interests in Augusta is my team’s top priority,” said Caverly. “We know a lot can happen between now and when the Legislature adjourns in the spring, and we’ll be at the table to keep credit unions engaged in the process.”

In addition, the League has restarted its Job Shadow a Legislator Program. The program allows credit union staff and volunteers to spend the whole day, half of the day, or a few hours in Augusta with their local legislator. Job shadowing a legislator is a wonderful opportunity for credit union representatives to experience the legislative process and provides legislators a chance to gain a better understanding of the credit union difference.

To participate, please complete the Job Shadow Registration Form and list any legislators you would be interested in shadowing, as well as three dates that you would be available to travel to Augusta for a half or whole day. Most legislative session days are Tuesday and Thursday. The program will end on or about March 19. Forms can be returned to Robert Caverly at rcaverly@mainecul.org.