New laws from Sen. Daughtry take effect this month

Posted: August 18, 2022 | Senator Daughtry

AUGUSTA — New laws sponsored by Sen. Mattie Daughtry, D-Brunswick, that extend the Commission to Develop a Paid Family and Medical Leave Benefits Program and that establish the Maine Space Corporation took effect on Monday, Aug. 8. Both the Commission and the Corporation are big investments in Maine’s workforce.

“These new laws reflect two of my biggest priorities – supporting Maine families and tapping into the potential of emerging industries to expand Maine’s economy,” said Sen. Daughtry. “Ever since I first began serving in the Legislature, I have worked toward creating a statewide Paid Family and Medical Leave plan. When we get that across the finish line, it will change people’s lives. The Commission is doing real work to get us one step closer. On a similar note, the spaceport will become a literal launch pad for climate action, the growth of small businesses, community development, education and research. To me, that sounds like a sustainable future – one that will benefit everyone.”

Sen. Daughtry’s law to reestablish the Commission to Develop a Paid Family and Medical Leave Benefits Program, which the Senator Chairs, will report back to the Labor and Housing Committee no later than Nov. 2, 2022. Sen. Daughtry serves as Senate Chair of the Labor and Housing Committee. Only 11 states offer paid family leave, including the New England states of Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Worldwide, more than 120 countries provide paid maternity leave and health benefits. The United States is not one of those countries. According to the Center for American Progress, 70 percent of small business owners with fewer than 100 employees support a national paid family and medical leave insurance program.

Sen. Daughtry’s other law establishes the Maine Space Corporation. Through close collaboration with Dr. Terry Shehata and the Maine Space Grant Consortium, Sen. Daughtry saw an opportunity for Maine to invest in its emerging aerospace industry. The spaceport will launch small satellites that collect data on everything from weather to land use. While the Maine Space Complex will be a new facility, Maine already has 85 space-related businesses ready to help. Because of Sen. Daughtry’s law, Maine can join the growing nanosatellite market, which is forecasted to grow from $4 billion to $25 billion by 2030. The spaceport will draw investments, workers, research and students to the area.

These two laws highlight Sen. Daughtry’s commitment to developing and investing in Maine’s local economies and workforce. Earlier this summer, Gov. Mills signed Sen. Daughtry’s bill that re-established the Task Force to Study the Creation of a Comprehensive Career and Technical Education System. Maine has a growing retirement population, and the number of younger workers continues to decline. Knowing this, Sen. Daughtry used her voice as both a small business owner in Brunswick and Senate Chair of the Labor and Housing Committee to address the worker shortage in fisheries, the service industry, schools, long-term care facilities and elsewhere. The Task Force will help Maine identify medium- and long-term solutions to the workforce shortage.

All non-emergency laws take effect 90 days after the Legislature adjourns sine die unless otherwise specified. 

Other laws championed by Sen. Daughtry that took effect this year include measures to combat high-energy prices, improve access to health care and prescription drugs, promote economic opportunity and support working families, seniors and veterans.