AUGUSTA — The Senate has voted to enact and fund a bill from Senator Chip Curry, D-Belfast, and have sent the bill to Governor Janet Mills.
LD 1517, “An Act To Establish the Maine Workforce, Research, Development and Student Achievement Institute,” received a bipartisan, unanimous support.
“Workforce development is one of my top priorities,” said Sen. Curry. “Here in Waldo County, we know that economic advancement is one of the biggest hurdles so many of us face. By establishing the Maine Workforce, Research, Development and Student Achievement Institute, we’re going to really focus on having meaningful solutions to help our workers and businesses. I’m grateful for the support of my colleagues to get this program funded and turned into law.”
The bill establishes the Maine Workforce, Research, Development and Student Achievement Institute and a related steering committee to advise the Legislature on matters related to workforce training, research and development, student debt and economic advancement in Maine.
The Legislature would work alongside the Institute to identify areas needing further study; the Institute would then carry out this study and provide the Legislature with objective, nonpartisan information and policy options.
Similar groups currently exist to complement other legislative committees. For example, the Maine Education Policy Research Institute, which advises the Legislature’s Education and Cultural Affairs Committee and which this bill is modeled after.
The amended version of the bill authorizes the Institute as a pilot project through Sept. 1, 2024, with a required report back to the committee by Jan. 15, 2024.
The 131st Legislature may then choose to extend authorization and funding for the Institute.
The amendment also changes the composition of the Institute’s steering committee and provides $100,000 in annual funding for the institute to perform its work.
The bill now goes to the desk of Gov. Mills, who has 10 days to sign the bill into law, veto it, or allow it to become law without her signature.