Following her veto last week of LD 398 – “An Act to Make Agricultural Workers and Other Related Workers Employees Under the Wage and Hour Laws” – Gov. Janet Mills (D) has signed an executive order establishing a “formal stakeholder group” tasked with developing a minimum wage law for Maine’s agricultural workers set to be introduced next session.
Gov. Mills stated last week that she “reluctantly” vetoed LD 398 after hearing concerns “from members of the agricultural community about the true scope of the [bill’s] language.”
With a House roll call vote of 61-61, the Legislature effectively upheld Mills’ veto, as a two-thirds majority would have been required to overturn it.
In her veto letter, Mills articulated her intentions to form the group that has since been established by her July 25 executive order.
Referred to as the Committee to Develop and Implement a Minimum Wage Bill for Agricultural Workers, the group is responsible for devising legislation that will “implement a minimum wage for agricultural workers,” identifying the impact of the proposed bill on “other laws interconnected with Federal and State wage and hour laws,” and ensuring that the “full range of impacts are thoroughly understood by both agricultural employers and their workers.”
The group is intended to consist of representatives from a wide range of agricultural organizations, the Maine AFL-CIO, the Pine Tree Legal Assistance Farm Worker Unit, and the left-wing Maine Center for Economic Policy.
She also invites representatives from “a statewide organization dedicated to supporting farmworkers and immigrants Downeast” and “a statewide land trust dedicated to protecting farmland and supporting farmers.”
Two legislators – one from the House and one from the Senate – are also expected to serve on the Committee.
Mills stated in her executive order that the group is to present a report to her by the end of the year so that she can introduce a governor’s bill during the second session of the 131st legislature next year.
Read the Full Press Release
Read the Executive Order