130th Legislature’s adjourns: major progress on housing, child care workforce pay, dental care access

AUGUSTA – Today, Speaker Ryan Fecteau of Biddeford presided over his final legislative session of the 130th Legislature. From the start, it was a session unlike any other. Fecteau was sworn in at the Augusta Civic Center in December of 2020, where the Legislature met through May 2021 so members could complete Legislative duties in-person before vaccinations were available, distanced due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Maine House and Senate returned to the state house in June 2021 and concluded their work today, having taken up five vetoes issued by Governor Mills. The Legislature adjourned sine die.

This session, Fecteau championed landmark legislation to grow the supply of housing in Maine. LD 2003, “An Act To Implement the Recommendations of the Commission To Increase Housing Opportunities in Maine by Studying Zoning and Land Use Restrictions received bipartisan support in both Chambers as well as from a wide array of bipartisan stakeholders. The bill marks a significant step toward solving Maine’s housing crisis. The measure will allow duplexes in single-family zones, as well as accessory dwelling units on residential property starting on July 1, 2023. It creates the Housing Opportunity Fund to provide financial and technical assistance to Maine towns as they tackle housing-related issues not addressed in the statewide legislation—such as housing shortages created by short-term rentals—through local initiatives and ordinances. LD 2003 was included in the supplemental budget passed by the Legislature and signed into law by Governor Mills in April. 

The Maine Legislature also passed Fecteau’s bills to: 

  •         Establish a labor center in Maine:  In a landmark year for union organizing in Maine and across the nation, LD 1816, An Act to establish a new Labor and Community Education Center at the University of Southern Maine. It will establish the center on USM’s Portland campus and enable the Bureau of Labor Education at the UMO to expand its valuable work in labor studies. The labor education center at USM will offer labor education for students, unions and the community at large. It will host regular trainings and workshops, policy seminars, working class oral history projects, conferences, symposia, speakers and films that address issues of concern to Maine’s working people such as labor law and workers’ rights, discrimination, labor history, quality of work life and more.
  •         Raise the pay of child care workers in Maine: By a vote of 130-0 in the House, the Legislature passed LD 1652, An Act to Build a Child Care System by Recruiting and Retaining Maine’s Early Childhood Educators Workforce aimed at addressing Maine’s child care workforce crisis and putting the sector on a path to long-term growth and stability. The bill enshrines a public investment in Maine’s child care workforce into law, even after one-time federal dollars dedicated to supporting Maine’s child care providers through ARPA dollars expire in the fall of 2022.  Speaker Fecteau’s bill would provide Maine’s child care workforce with a monthly wage increase and funds to expand early childhood education programs at Maine’s Career and Technical Education schools.

In 2021, the Maine Legislature passed Speaker Fecteau’s bills to: 

Speaker Fecteau applauds the Legislature for making important investments in Maine people, through responsible bipartisan budget agreements: 

The legislation championed by Speaker Fecteau during the 130th Legislature builds upon his work during his previous three terms. Over the 127th-129th Legislatures, he passed a bill to grow Maine’s co-working spaces and legislation to abolish the subminimum wage for persons with disabilities. His initiative to allow Mainers to text 911 emergencies is now an option for every Mainer in an emergency situation. He sponsored a bipartisan bill that made the single largest investment in housing in Maine’s history, providing tax credits for renovating and constructing new affordable housing. Fecteau fought for LGBTQ+ equality every session of his legislative service. His bill to ban the harmful practice of conversion therapy that was signed into law by Governor Mills in 2020 now protects Maine’s LGBTQ+ youth. 



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