AUGUSTA — Maine lawmakers have advanced a bill that seeks to encourage companies to keep call centers in Maine by penalizing them if they relocate them overseas.

In a 77-67 vote on Tuesday, the Democratic-led House approved an amended version that would soften the penalties proposed in the original bill. The Senate endorsed the bill Monday.

The approved measure would require some companies to notify the state if they’re relocating more than 30 percent of their call center operations overseas. Those employers wouldn’t be able to get state grants, loans or tax benefits for two years.

Supporters of the bill say it will protect Maine jobs. But Republicans say that the measure is a job killer that will discourage companies from coming to Maine.

It faces final votes in both chambers.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: