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For Immediate Release

Date: 12/15/10

Legislature's Rules Committee Agrees on Merger of Business and Labor Committees

AUGUSTA - The legislative Rules Committee today reached an accord to merge two committees and bring the interests of business and labor under one roof. The plan, to be voted on Friday by the entire Legislature, will join components of the Labor Committee and the Business, Research and Economic Development Committee into a new entity to be named the Joint Standing Committee on Labor, Commerce, Research and Economic Development.

"The voters of Maine sent us here to produce results in terms of jobs and the economy, and this is a commonsense step towards that goal," said Rep. Andre Cushing, the assistant leader of the House Republicans. "Working with bipartisan determination, we worked through our differences, and we're pleased we could come to an agreement that equitably serves the interests of all parties."

"We're delighted that we've reached this agreement," said Sen. Courtney, Senate chair of the Rules Committee and leader of the Senate Republicans. "A central feature of good government is the ability to compromise. What matters is results, not rhetoric."

This merger reduces the number of committees from 17 to 16. "By streamlining the legislative process, it should lead to greater efficiencies, a more productive use of legislators' time and potential cost savings," said Rep. Phil Curtis, the leader of the House Republicans.

Sen. Debra Plowman, assistant leader of the Senate Republicans, said another significant development will involve moving the public employees' pension system from the Labor Committee to the Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee. "We're all aware that the Maine Public Employees Retirement System has serious financial challenges," she said. "We think it will benefit from the expertise of the members of Appropriations." ###

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Jay Finegan
Maine House Republicans
Tel: (207) 287-1445