AUGUSTA — On Thursday, the Maine Senate enacted legislation from Senate President Troy Jackson, D-Allagash, to support the fair and timely payment of logging contractors with strong bipartisan support. The vote was 25-9.
LD 1849, “An Act to Ensure Fair and Timely Payment in the Harvesting of Forest Products” would require contractors to be paid within 30 days of delivered wood being prepared for hauling or being prepared at the roadside.
“Working in the woods is a demanding and grueling job. The folks doing this work deserve to be compensated fairly. Unfortunately, logging contractors continue to find that their hauls have been sitting out for months, drying out and losing both weight and value,” said President Jackson. “Not only is this against the law but workers don’t have many options to seek recourse. This bill strengthens existing law to ensure the laws we pass in the Legislature actually mean something.”
The proposal increases the number of days in which logging contractors are required to be paid and directs the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry to conduct random inspections to ensure that entities are complying with this requirement.
Existing state laws designed to protect the fair and timely payout to logging contractors have proven to be inadequate without an enforcement mechanism. The random spot checks are designed to improve compliance.
LD 1849 will now go to the desk of Gov. Janet Mills, who has 10 days to sign the bill into law, veto it, or allow it to become law without her signature.