Maine Senate President Troy Jackson is seen in Orono in this Aug. 7, 2019, file photo. Credit: Gabor Degre

Maine Senate President Troy Jackson, a Democrat from Allagash, wants to require state agencies and institutions to buy American products, such as iron and steel, when contracting for construction or maintenance projects.

“All too often these contracts go to workers and businesses from out of state where there are qualified workers and businesses all across the state that could do the job,” Jackson said.

But the Mills administration testified against the bill, arguing it goes too far and may not be needed with nearly all state contracts going to in-state providers already.

Members of the State and Local Government Committee were also warned the measure could lead to retaliation by other states against Maine companies trying to compete for contracts in those states.

“If you create a preference, a pricing preference for example, for Maine contractors, there are 36 other states that will use that against you,” said Peter Mills, executive director of the Maine Turnpike Authority.

This article appears through a media partnership with Maine Public.