Maine Legislature to Consider Lineworker Safety Act

The parents of Brent Churchill, a member of this local who died tragically while restoring electrical power after a storm in 1999, have worked with their local legislator, Representative Walter Gooley of Farmington, to propose legislation they hope will help prevent similar tragedies in the future.

The draft of the language for the bill (LD 869) became public on Wednesday, February 14.

Some of the provisions in the bill are similar to conditions IBEW Local 1837 negotiated Central Maine Power following Brent's death. This bill, however, would cover all lineworkers in Maine, not just those employed by CMP.

The bill must go through several steps before it can become law, and there are opportunities along the way to either make it stronger or to weaken the protections it proposes. 

1) There will be a public hearing on the bill, where anyone who is interested may offer their opinions - including proposed changes - in the form of testimony to the Labor Committee. 

2) Then the committee will have a work session, where the wording of the bill as it will be presented to the full legislature is worked out, as well as whether to recommend passage or defeat. 

3) Finally the House and Senate debate and vote on the bill, and may again change the language in the process.