Maine panel advances plan to ban Chinese contracts

(The Center Square) — Maine lawmakers are moving ahead with a plan that would ban companies owned by the Chinese government from bidding on state contracts amid increasing concerns about privacy and security risks.

The state Legislature’s Committee on Local Government recently voted 7-2 to advance a bill prohibiting the state government from doing business with Chinese companies with ties to the authoritarian government.

The Democratic-controlled panel was divided over the legislation, with seven lawmakers voting it “ought to pass” and another two recommending it “ought not to pass.” Committee members are expected to file joint reports outlining their positions. 

The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Lisa Keim, R-Oxford, argues that the ban is needed to prevent China’s government from harvesting personal and financial information from U.S. consumers and businesses. 

“The People’s Republic of China has always been a threat to national security, but there is renewed public interest in protecting against
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