February 27, 2023

Support LD 233 providing more time for petition reviews

In this file photo, MSEA-SEIU members deliver petitions to the Maine Department of the Secretary of State for the statewide referendum that voters overwhelmingly approved in 2016 to raise Maine’s minimum wage.

On Feb. 6, we testified in support of legislation known as LD 233, “An Act to Ensure Efficiency in Petitions Reviewed by the Secretary of State by Clarifying Deadlines Related to Those Petitions,” sponsored by Representative Laura Supica, because right now, short staffing in the Maine Department of Secretary of State has made it difficult for the workers there to keep up with the high workloads they’ve been experiencing. LD 233 would provide some relief by changing, from 30 days to 30 work days, the amount of time the department has to determine the validity of a petition and issue its written decision.

While LD 233 would give workers in the department a little more time to review petitions,this legislation at best provides a short-term solution to a long-term problem: For years, the State has understaffed quality public services in our Great State of Maine. The difficulty that the State of Maine has been experiencing in recruiting and retaining qualified workers throughout all departments in Maine State Government is well-documented. According to the State of Maine Market Study Report dated Nov. 20, 2020, state employees earn on average 15% less than what their peers make doing similar work in Maine and throughout New England, even after adjusting for regional pay differences. Immediate action and progress are necessary to address this longstanding injustice.

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