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  • MLCA

Legislative Roundup: April 2011

  1. LR 568 An Act to Amend the DMR Administrative Suspension Process (sponsored by Senator Rector of Knox County),

  2. LR 1279 An Act to Assist the Commercial Fisherman (sponsored by Representative Olsen of Phippsburg),

  3. LR 1312 An Act to Provide a Lobster Fishing License to Persons Denied Access to the Apprentice Program (sponsored by Senator Gerzofsky of Cumberland County),

  4. LR 1270 An Act to Allow the Landing of Oversized Lobsters Harvested in Federal Waters for 3 Months Each Year (sponsored by Representative Parker of Veazie). Four bills which propose changes to salt water fishing licenses are moving through the Legislature. LD 210 An Act Regarding the Saltwater Recreational Fishing Registry, LD 319 An Act to Amend the Saltwater Recreational Fishing Registry Regarding Unauthorized Landing or Possession of Striped Bass and LD 418 An Act to Create a Saltwater Fishing License for Owners of Docks, Piers and Wharves (Emergency), all sponsored by Senator Trahan of Lincoln County; and LD 308 An Act Regarding the Saltwater Recreational Fishing Registry, sponsored by Representative McKane of Newcastle, went before the Marine Resources Committee in March. Two bills, LD 319 and LD 418 were voted “ought not to pass” by the Committee, while LD’s 210 and 308 were tabled for further discussion. LD’s 210 and 306 are similar bills which seek to repeal the existing salt water registry law and replace it with a free registry that allows anglers to register through a check off on their fresh water fishing license or water craft registration. The bills would require that the programs be administered through existing resources of DMR and/or IFW, and does not allow for additional enforcement unless federal funds are secured for that purpose. The MLA does not support any changes to the salt water registry that would remove management of saltwater fishing from the Department of Marine Resources (DMR); require DMR to enforce the provisions of the salt water registry without compensating the DMR directly for the cost associated with this task; and remove salt water registry support from alewife management and restoration. Two bills seeking tax relief on fuel for commercial fishermen went before the Taxation Committee in February. LD 42 An Act Regarding the Tax on Fuel Used for Commercial Agriculture, Fishing and Forestry, which sought to allow for a refund of excise tax paid for commercial fishing, forestry or agriculture purposes, was defeated. LD 185 An Act to Refund the Sales Tax Paid on Fuel Used in Commercial Fishing Vessels, sponsored by Representative MacDonald of Boothbay, exempts commercial fishing vessels from paying sales tax on fuel. The MLA testified that LD 185 would greatly benefit Maine lobstermen; however, if the cost of the bill becomes problematic to its passage, the groundfish industry should be prioritized to receive this benefit. The Taxation Committee is expected to approve an amended version of the bill. LD 85, sponsored by Senator Rector of Knox County, as been approved by the full Legislature. LD 85 allows for the continued landing of crabs as bycatch while using an otter trawl in federal waters, which has been an important bycatch for the Port Clyde fleet. LD 244 proposed to amend the rules of the menhaden pilot program to expand the carrier vessel size from 90 feet to 120 feet. The MLA opposed this bill. It was voted “ought not to pass” by the Marine Resources Committee in March. LD 538 proposes to reduce the size and changes the membership criteria of the Commercial Fishing Safety Council from 16 to 9 members. The Marine Resources Committee held a public hearing for this bill in March during which the MLA testified in favor of this bill. No action has yet been taken. LD 510 An Act to Exclude Seafood Processing from Organic Arsenic Wash Water Testing (Emergency), sponsored by Senator Snowe-Mello of Androscoggin County, seeks to exempt shellfish processing facilities from testing and reporting requirements and discharge limits concerning arsenic. A public hearing was held before the Environment and Natural Resources Committee, but not votes have yet been taken. LD 558 An Act to Provide Equal Treatment to Members of the Penobscot Nation with Regard to Marine Resources Licenses seeks to give members of the Penobscot Nation access to the same marine resource harvesting activities as currently provided for members of the Passamaquoddy Tribe. The Marine Resource Committee held a public hearing on this bill in March, but no vote has been taken. LD 852 An Act To Authorize a General Fund Bond Issue To Support Maine's Natural Resource-based Economy, sponsored by Senator Trahan of Lincoln County, seeks a 2 year bond of $36 million to fund Land for Maine’s Future of which $4 million would go to working waterfront preservation and $2 million to commercial fishing infrastructure. A public hearing for LD 852 was held before the Appropriations Committee in early March, but no vote has been taken. Two additional marine-related bond bills, LD 280 and LD 263, which would fund biomedical research and a marine technology incubator program have not yet been scheduled for public hearing. Bills which have been printed are legislative documents (LD) and can be tracked through the assigned committee and the Legislature ( Bill titles not yet printed are legislative records (LR) and cannot be tracked until an LD number is assigned. It is also not uncommon for new bills to be introduced as the session progresses. This summary represents information available as of March 25, 2011.


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