– ETHAN WILENSKY- LANFORD

Kennebec Journal

AUGUSTA – Home contractors won’t have to be licensed in Maine anytime soon, because of a disagreement between the House and Senate on a bill that would have required licenses beginning in 2013.

The House supported the bill, L.D. 272, in a 76-70 vote on Wednesday. The Senate rejected it on Friday. The House maintained its support on Monday and the bill died in nonconcurrence.

No senator on the Business, Research and Economic Development Committee supported the bill, which was sponsored by Rep. Bruce MacDonald, D-Boothbay.

Sen. Elizabeth Schneider, D-Orono, co-chair of the panel, said she supports the concept of verifying that contractors are competent but is concerned about the bill’s timing.

The state’s first uniform building and energy code will be phased in over the next few years, with all Maine communities required to adopt the standards by Jan. 1, 2012. MacDonald’s bill would have required the licensing to take effect Jan. 1, 2013.

A licensing board would have been asked to meet beginning in July 2011, which he said would have allowed time for the board to decide how to implement the standards set by the building code.

Opponents disagreed, saying kinks in the building codes must be worked out before licenses are required.

Schneider said she expects the issue to arise again.

If re-elected, McDonald said he might introduce a bill next session. If he does, he said he will work more closely with contractors’ associations to frame the bill.

MacDonald said Maine is one of 19 states with no form of residential contractor licensing.

MaineToday Media State House Reporter Ethan Wilensky-Lanford can be contacted at 620-7016 or at:

[email protected]