AUGUSTA — Lawmakers delayed until next year votes on a bill that would end the requirement that nonunion state workers pay a portion of union dues.

The Legislature’s Labor, Commerce, Research and Economic Development Committee voted to carry over LD 309, sponsored by Rep. Tom Winsor, R-Norway. After a contentious and lengthy public hearing last week, committee Chairman Sen. Chris Rector, R-Thomaston, said the committee needs more time to consider the legislation.

“A number of issues have surfaced about this legislation,” he said. “I think there are some questions that still remain unanswered for some of us.”

While it’s routine for lawmakers to carry over bills until the second year of the two-year session, this bill was sent back to committee by Republicans who wanted action taken this year. Gov. Paul LePage has been a vocal supporter of the legislation as well.

Republican House Speaker Robert Nutting applauded the move, saying it is being set aside as the LePage administration and the state workers’ unions negotiate fees in their contract talks.

The Maine State Employees Association calls the hold on the bill a victory for Maine workers.