AUGUSTA — A bill that would protect some American loggers’ jobs from being taken by workers employed by foreign companies has cleared a hurdle in the Maine Senate.

Assistant Senate Majority Leader Troy Jackson’s bill won preliminary approval Thursday. It would bar the state from contracting for timber harvesting on land under its management if the contractor employs foreign workers for logging.

Jackson, a logger and Democrat from Allagash, says his bill promotes the hiring of American loggers who have been underemployed as a result of contractors hiring Canadian workers instead.

Jackson’s bill faces additional House and the Senate votes.

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