LD 1552 is scheduled on today’s House calendar. Status, tabled pending motion to accept majority Ought to Pass committee report.
As many of you are, aware there are currently two bills currently in legislative committee regarding the use of bonded labor in Maine. They are:
Sponsored by Senator Troy Jackson (D – Aroostook)
Latest Committee Action: VOTED, Mar 11, 2010, Ant. Div. Rep.
Sponsored by Representative John Martin (D – Eagle Lake)
Latest Committee Action: VOTED, Mar 8, 2010, Ant. Div. Rep.
I have attached PDF Versions of each bill for you to review.
I should note that each bill is expected to come out of committee with a divided report along party lines, with the majority party’s recommendation of “Ought to Pass”, prevailing.
A few points to consider In Favor of the legislation:
– Penalties imposed for use of bonded labor are intended to level the playing field and increase employment of Maine workers
– Bonded Labor effects the labor market, lowering wages, passage would mean landowners would need to pay more for existing labor force
– Fewer workers could limit production leading to an increase in wood prices
– Increased uniformity in bidding of jobs due to similar labor expense
– Bonded Laborers have little to no impact on local economies, because money earned is not spent locally
– Increased employment of Maine workers would help local economy as money earned would be spent locally
A few points to consider Against the proposed legislation:
– Adverse impact of removing land from tree growth may incentivize landowners to sell land outright to a government agency or conservation minded group,
removing land from production.
– These bills now link previously unrelated issues of labor and land ownership. What are the long term implications, is this a door we want to open?
– Government intervention in the right of private land and business owner’s to manage land and run businesses as they see fit.
– Increased costs to meet the administrative requirements for land owners and harvesters with timber rights
– Will this legislation have an unintended impact on exportation of Maine lumber and pulp to Canadian Mills, depressing the market?
– Is there enough available labor? Will this create increased competition for labor, increasing costs?