MIRC’s Policy Priorities

OUR POLICY PRIORITIES FOR 2022

At the Maine Immigrants’ Rights Coalition (MIRC), our mission is to improve the legal, social, and economic conditions experienced by Maine’s immigrants – enhancing their lives while strengthening Maine – through advocacy, information sharing, and collaboration both through and among our member organizations. MIRC is the convener of a unique, statewide network of 85 organizations, a majority of which are led by people of color – representing diverse ethnic communities across our state. All coalition member organizations are working to create and support programs and policies that promote immigrant inclusion and integration. 


Our Partners and Members make up our extensive network of resources for Maine’s Immigrants. Through this unique collaboration of leaders around Maine, we strengthen our community and our state. We continually follow and advocate for local, state, and national policies that affect Maine’s immigrant communities. Each year, MIRC identifies top issues and priority legislation impacting Maine’s immigrants and calls upon supporters to take action to ensure the legislation is passed (or blocked). Here is the proposed legislation we are tracking in Augusta in 2022:

  • Housing 

    • LD 1673: An Act to Create a Comprehensive Permit Process for the Construction of Affordable Housing 

    • LD 2003: An Act to Implement the Recommendations of the Commission to Increase Housing Opportunities in Maine by Studying Zoning and Land Use Restrictions

    • LD 211: An Act to Support Emergency Shelter Access for Persons Experiencing Homelessness

    • LD 473: An Act to Create the Maine Rental Assistance and Voucher Guarantee Program

    • LD 1871: Resolve, Directing the Maine Human Rights Commission to Extend its Pilot Program to Investigate and Report on Incidents of Harassment Due to Housing Status, Lack of Employment, and Other Issues

    • LD 1961: An Act to Help Alleviate Maine's Housing Shortage and Change the Membership of the Maine State Housing Authority

    • LD 1968: An Act to Expand Access to Mental Health and Crisis Care for Individuals in Jails and Individuals Experiencing Homelessness

    • LD 175: An Act to Authorize A General Fund Bond Issue to Create and Enhance Regional Homeless Shelters 

  • Racial Justice and Equity  

    • LD 756: An Act Regarding Criminal Services for Juveniles

    • LD 1326: An Act to Provide Funding for the Maine Civil Legal Services Fund 

    • LD 1999: An Act to Require Civil Rights Officers at Law Enforcement Agencies 

    • LD 1447: An Act to Require Training in Racial Issues, Racial Justice, and Social Issues 

    • at the Maine Criminal Justice Academy and to Establish Additional Requirements for Law Enforcement Officers and Candidates

    • LD 1952: Resolve, To Extend the Commission to Develop a Paid Family and Medical Leave Benefits Program

    • LD 1894: An Act to Support Municipal Broadband Infrastructure through Incentives and Competition

    • LD 598: An Act to Prohibit Discrimination in Employment and School-Based on Hair Texture or Hairstyle

    • LD 344: Resolution, Proposing an Amendment to the Constitution of Maine to Explicitly Prohibit Discrimination Based on the Sex of an Individual

    • LD 489: Resolution, Proposing an Amendment to the Constitution of Maine To Establish a Right to a Healthy Environment

    • LD 1076: An Act to Support the Operation of Youth Shelters in Maine

    • LD 982: An Act to Protect Against Discrimination by Public Entities 

    • LD 1529: Resolution, Proposing an Amendment to the Constitution of Maine To Create a Right to Privacy

    • LD 1626: An Act Implementing the Recommendations of the Task Force on Changes to the Maine Indian Claims Settlement Implementing Act

    • LD 910: An Act to Amend the General Assistance Laws Governing Reimbursement 

    • LD 1610: An Act to Promote Equity in Policy Making by Enhancing the State's Ability to Collect, Analyze, and Apply Data

    • LD 1897: An Act to Prevent the Use of Prone and Supine Restraints, Chemical Sprays and Electroshock Devices on Juveniles Held in Department of Corrections Facilities

    • LD 2018: An Act to Implement Recommendations Regarding the Incorporation of Equity Considerations in Regulatory Decision Making

    • LD 2006: An Act to Improve the Low-income Home Energy Assistance Program

  • Workforce Development and Education

    • LD 1329: An Act to Establish the Career Advancement and Navigation Initiative in the Department of Education to Lower Barriers to Career Advancement

    • LD 1652: An Act to Build a Child Care System by Recruiting and Retaining Maine's Early Childhood Educators Workforce

    • LD 1502: An Act to Clarify Safety Issues in Schools with Respect to Health-related States of Emergency

    • LD 1748: An Act Regarding the So-called Leveraging Investments So Families Can Thrive Report Produced by the Department of Health and Human Services  

  • Health and Healthcare

    • LD 718: An Act to Improve the Health of Maine Residents by Closing Coverage Gaps in the MaineCare Program and the Children’s Health Insurance Program

    • LD 174: An Act to Implement the Recommendations of the Ending Hunger by 2030 Advisory Group

    • LD 296: An Act to Provide a Tax Credit to Family Caregivers

    • LD 372: An Act to Provide Maine Children with Access to Affordable Health Care

MIRC welcomes the chance to advocate, collaborate, and inform officials, organizations, and community partners interested in accomplishing our goals.

Bills MIRC is supporting: *Last updated on 6/28/21

Bills that have been passed this session:

LD 2: “An Act to Require the Inclusion of Racial Impact Statements in the Legislative Process

Sponsor: Representative Rachel Talbot Ross” 

Summary: Requires that, upon the request of a committee of the Legislature, the commissioner of a department or director of an agency to provide to that legislative committee data, analysis, and other information necessary to prepare a racial impact statement, which is an assessment of the potential impact that legislation could have on historically disadvantaged racial populations. Additionally requires the Legislative Council to conduct a study to determine the best way to implement the racial impact statements. 

Committee: State and Local Government 

Status in Committee: Signed into law. 

Bill text: http://www.mainelegislature.org/legis/bills/getPDF.asp?paper=HP0005&item=1&snum=130

 

LD 149: “An Act to Facilitate Licensure for Credentialed Individuals from Other Jurisdictions”

Sponsor: Representative Kristen Cloutier 

Summary: Bill from Director of Professional and Occupational Regulation and Office of Professional and Financial Regulation to lower barriers to credentials recognition and licensing and waive documentation requirements for licensed applications educated or with relevant experience in other states, territories, or foreign nationals. 

Committee: Innovation, Development, Economic Advancement, and Business

Status in committee: Bill signed into law on June 11, 2021

Bill Text:

http://www.mainelegislature.org/legis/bills/getPDF.asp?paper=HP0105&item=1&snum=130

 

LD 1684: “An Act to Strengthen Maine’s Workforce by Expanding English Language Acquisition and Workforce Training Programs” 

Sponsor: by Rep Cloutier

Summary: Develop and implement a grant process to award adult education programs to increase English language acquisition in communities with increasing immigrant populations or demand for ESL classes. Also administer an industry-specific English language acquisition and workforce training programs for immigrants in the state. This is in order to meet the demands of areas with large immigrant communities or to reduce waiting lists for English language acquisition.

Committee: Education and Cultural Affairs

Status in committee: Bill signed into law on June 18, 2021

Bill text: https://legislature.maine.gov/legis/bills/getPDF.asp?paper=HP1253&item=1&snum=130

 

LD 1533: “An Act to Amend the Foreign Credentialing and Skills Recognition Revolving Loan Program”

Sponsor: Representative Kristin Cloutier

Summary: This bill amends a loan program at the Finance Authority of Maine (FAME) to include the cost of an immigrants’ initial work permit as an allowable expense.

Committee: Innovation, Development, Economic Advancement, and Business

Status in committee: Bill signed into law on June 8, 2021

Bill text: http://legislature.maine.gov/legis/bills/getPDF.asp?paper=HP1137&item=1&snum=130

 

LD 50: “An Act to Authorize a General Fund Bond Issue To Invest in Housing for Persons Who Are Homeless”

Sponsor: Representative Michael Brennan

Summary: The funds provided by this bond issue, in the amount of $15,000,000, will be used for capital construction costs for housing for persons who are homeless.

Committee: Appropriations and Financial Affairs 

Status in committee: Bill signed into law on March 17, 2021

Bill text: http://www.mainelegislature.org/legis/bills/getPDF.asp?paper=SP0023&item=1&snum=130

 

LD 1664: “An Act to Integrate African American Studies into American History Education”

Sponsor: Rachel Talbot Ross  

Summary: Bill requires the Department of Education to convene a voluntary advisory committee to collect information and prepare materials for teaching African American Studies and Maine African American studies and provide guidance on how to integrate them into the curriculum. Requires local school administrative units to conduct internal audits of its curriculum to ensure equitable representation of African American Voices and accurate historical accounts of African American history and culture.  

Committee: Education and Cultural Affairs 

Status in committee: Bill signed into law on June 16, 2021

Bill Text: http://www.mainelegislature.org/legis/bills/getPDF.asp?paper=HP1235&item=1&snum=130

 

LD 320: “An Act To Clarify the Right to Counsel for Juveniles Improve Due Process for Juveniles.”

Sponsor: Representative Victoria Morales 

Summary: Prevent children under the age of 12 from being prosecuted for a crime and children under the age of 14 to be incarcerated. Allows for sentences less than one year. Mandates regular opportunities for judicial review. Ensures that counsel appointed by the court follows the juvenile through all court proceedings. Expands rights to counsel. 

Committee: Judiciary 

Status in committee: Signed into law by Governor on June 22, 2021

Bill text: http://www.mainelegislature.org/legis/bills/getPDF.asp?paper=HP0224&item=1&snum=130

 

LD 1167: “An Act Relating to Fair Chance in Employment”

Sponsor: Representative Rachel Talbot Ross

Summary: Prohibits employers from asking about criminal history on initial applications or saying in job postings that those with criminal histories need not apply, unless employers are subject to federal or state laws that require it.

Committee: Labor and Housing 

Status in committee: Passage to be enacted on June 9, 2021, awaiting Governor’s signature 

Bill text: http://www.mainelegislature.org/legis/bills/getPDF.asp?paper=HP0845&item=1&snum=130

 

Pending Passage to be Enacted: 

 

LD 1329: “An Act to Establish the Career Advancement and Navigation Initiative in the Department of Education To Lower Barriers to Career Advancement”

Sponsor: Representative Rachel Talbot Ross

Summary: Creates Career Advancement and Navigation Specialists to work with immigrants and native-born alike on pathways to reaching the careers they want. Amendment mandates that each Career Advancement and Navigation Specialist be an employee of a school administrative unit designated by the Department of Education that coordinates adult education programs and services in each of the 4 adult education hubs specified by geographic region.
Committee: Education and Cultural Affairs

Status in Committee: Placed in the Education and Cultural Affairs Committee. Passaged to be enacted in the House. Placed on the Special Appropriates Table in the Senate, pending passage to be enacted. 

Bill Text: http://www.mainelegislature.org/legis/bills/getPDF.asp?paper=HP0981&item=1&snum=130

 

LD 132: “An Act to Implement the Attorney General’s Recommendations on Data Collection in Order to Eliminate Racial Profiling in Maine”

Sponsor: Representative Rachel Talbot Ross

Summary:  Requires all agencies to collect information of each person stopped for traffic violations. The information must include whether a warning or citation was issued, an arrest was made, or whether a warning or citation was issued. Each law enforcement agency is to make a report for the Attorney General. Attorney general directed to adopt rules for governing. 

Committee: Judiciary 

Status in committee: Placed in Judiciary Committee. Passage to be enacted in the House. Placed on the Special Appropriations Table in the Senate, pending passage to be enacted.

Public hearing if applicable: 

Link to bill text: http://www.mainelegislature.org/legis/bills/getPDF.asp?paper=HP0088&item=1&snum=130




LD 211: “An Act to Support Emergency Shelter Access for Persons Experiencing Homelessness”

Sponsor: Representative Kristin Cloutier

Summary: Ongoing General Fund appropriations of $3,000,000 per year to the Shelter Operating Subsidy program within the Maine State Housing Authority to support operations and capacity at low-barrier emergency homeless shelters across the State.

Committee: Labor and Housing

Status in committee: Placed on the special appropriations table in the Senate. Pending passage to be enacted. 

Bill text: http://www.mainelegislature.org/legis/bills/getPDF.asp?paper=HP0146&item=1&snum=130

LD 473 “An Act To Create the Maine Rental Assistance and Voucher Guarantee Program”

Sponsor: Representative Kristin Cloutier 

Summary: Provides housing navigation services, including a guarantee program to encourage landlords to work with rental assistance programs. Includes $9,000,000 General Fund appropriate per year. 

Committee: Labor and Housing

Status in committee: Placed on the special appropriations committee in the Senate, pending passage to be enacted.

Bill text: http://www.mainelegislature.org/legis/bills/getPDF.asp?paper=HP0146&item=1&snum=130



LD 1034: “An Act Regarding the Permanent Commission (Sponsor: The Permanent Commission on the Status of Racial, Indigenous & Maine Tribal Populations)” 

Sponsor: Representative Rachel Talbot Ross 

Summary: This bill provides ongoing funding for staff and administrative and programmatic support for The Permanent Commission on the Status of Racial.The Permanent Commission has a very huge mission, but virtually no funding Indigenous, and Maine Tribal Populations. . Part of this funding would allow for much more community and partner engagement. Amendment states that commission will receive compensation, removes the word “Maine” from “Maine tribal population,” permits commission to invite new members, permits the position of executive director and allows for the executive director to have staff 

Committee: State and Local Government 

Status in committee: On Special appropriations table in the Senate, pending passage to be enacted. 

Bill text: http://www.mainelegislature.org/legis/bills/getPDF.asp?paper=HP0768&item=1&snum=130




LD 1549: “An Act to Establish the Maine Forest Advisory Board”

Sponsor: Representative Margaret O’Neil

Summary: This bill creates the Maine Forest Advisory Board to advise the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, Bureau of Forestry on a variety of forestry issues and to provide input on the state forest action plan required under the federal Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008. 

Committee: Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry

Status in committee: On Special appropriations table in the Senate, pending passage to be enacted. 

Bill text: http://legislature.maine.gov/LawMakerWeb/summary.asp?paper=HP1154&SessionID=14

Other notable bills we are watching:

LD 718: “An Act To Improve the Health of Maine Residents by Closing Coverage Gaps in the MaineCare Program and the Children’s Health Insurance Program”

Sponsor: Representative Talbot Ross

Summary: This bill provides MaineCare program and the Children’s Health Insurance Program coverage for noncitizen residents of this State who are ineligible for coverage under the federal Medicaid program or Children’s Health Insurance Program due to their immigration status.

Committee: Health and Human Services

Status in committee: Passed to be engrossed with an amendment in the House. Unfinished business in the Senate.

Bill text: http://www.mainelegislature.org/legis/bills/getPDF.asp?paper=HP0529&item=1&snum=130

 

LD 372: An Act to Provide Maine Children with Access to Affordable Health Care

Sponsor: Sen. Ann Carney

Summary: It provides coverage to persons 19 and 20 years of age and to noncitizens under 21 43 years of age. The Department of Health and Human Services is required to use state funds to fund the program but may apply for waivers or state plan amendments to the United States Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to receive federal matching funds.

Committee: Health and Human Services 

Status in committee: Unfinished business in Senate 

Bill text: http://www.mainelegislature.org/legis/bills/getPDF.asp?paper=SP0158&item=1&snum=130