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Legislative Update for April 12, 2023

April 12, 2023

Greetings Community Advocates! 

We are expected to have some sunshine in Southern Maine this week. Magic is happening underground, with flowers and other vegetation starting to rise.

To get the Legislative Update delivered to your inbox every other week, sign up at https://p2a.co/18Gvy47 or email advocacy@uwsme.org


This week, the Portland Expo opened as a shelter site for asylum seekers. The city purchased 300 cots, L.L.Bean donated blankets, and staff and volunteers put in hundreds of hours to prepare the site. The City of Portland is seeking donations, supplies, and volunteers. Learn more.

The Expo move comes just after the City’s new 208-bed Homeless Services Center opened; as Spectrum News Maine’s Sean Murphy wrote, “Portland’s new homeless shelter is bigger and better, but is already full.”

Since the beginning of 2023, the Cumberland County Emergency Food and Shelter Program (EFSP) board has been awarded a total of $2,393,402. This advance funding will support community partners that are providing basic needs for recent arrivals from the southern border who are temporarily housed in hotels and shelters in the region.

United Way of Southern Maine (UWSM) is the fiscal agent for these funds and eligible expenses will be reimbursed for the period of 2/1/23-12/31/23. UWSM also provides technical assistance to community partners and helps ensure services are coordinated well.


Much has happened in the State House since our last Legislative Update. A majority baseline budget was passed and signed into law by Governor Mills. This budget was presented as a continuing services budget, which is designed to prevent a state government shutdown in the event that an agreement on a comprehensive budget could not be reached before the new fiscal year starts. This means that the state government will continue to function after July 1, 2023.

Lots more bills keep rolling out from the Revisor’s Office and are being scheduled for hearings. The House and Senate are meeting often now as the work speeds up and the deadline for ending the session gets closer.



UWSM supports public policies that advance Thrive2027, a 10-year initiative to achieve measurable progress in the areas of education, financial stability, and health. Three big issues this session are child care, housing, and mental health. 

Here are bills being tracked and monitored, by UWSM, in the First 131st Maine Legislature:    

LD 2 – “An Act to Address Maine’s Housing Crisis” 

Establishes the Housing First Program within the Department of Health and Human Services to facilitate the delivery of stabilization and support services to residents of properties established or developed to provide permanent housing to persons who have been chronically homeless.
Status: A work session occurred on April 7.

LD 3 – “An Act to Establish the Winter Energy Relief Payment Program to Aid Residents with High Heating Costs” 
Provides relief to certain Maine households to assist them with high costs for home heating as well as to support housing. 
Status: UWSM testified and the bill has been signed into law. ✅

LD 18 – “An Act to Provide Ongoing Funding for up to 2 Years of Community College for Certain Maine Students” 
Provides ongoing funding for high school graduates and individuals who obtain the equivalent of a high school diploma to receive a waiver of tuition and fees for up to 2 years in the Maine Community College System. 
Status: Public Hearing has not yet been scheduled.

LD 67 –  “An Act to Increase the Number of Educational Professionals by Accepting Out-of-state Certification” 
Requires the Department of Education to accept a certificate as an administrator, teacher, educational technician or educational specialist issued by another state, the District of Columbia, a United States territory or other country as qualification for such a certificate in this State
Status: A public hearing was held, but a work session has not yet been scheduled


LD 258 – “An Act Making Unified Appropriations and Allocations for the Expenditures of State Government, General Fund and Other Funds, and Changing Certain” Provisions of the Law Necessary to the Proper Operations of State Government for the Fiscal Years Ending June 30, 2023, June 30, 2024, and June 30, 2025. 
Status: UWSM testified on a few provisions of the budget. 

LD 1050 – “Resolve, Directing the Department of Labor to Request a Federal Waiver to Allow Presumptive Work Eligibility for Asylum Seekers”

Directs the Commissioner of Labor to request a waiver from the United States Department of Homeland Security, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services to allow an asylum seeker in the State, if the asylum seeker has applied for asylum and has not been denied, eligibility to work in the State for the 6 months immediately after the asylum seeker has applied for asylum. 
Status: The Labor and Housing Committee added an emergency preamble to LD 1050, which means that it would go into effect upon passage instead of 90 days after the session ends in June. UWSM testified on this bill.


Funding Opportunity: Women United 

Women United, a Giving Circle of United Way of Southern Maine, is looking to expand their footprint by investing in programming in York County. They are seeking to fund projects that are aligned with both Women United’s mission of advancing single mothers and their families and Thrive2027.

If you would like to know more about how you can advocate for a thriving community, please contact us at advocacy@uwsme.org.  Thank you for raising your hand and offering your support as a volunteer, donor, and advocate. Together we are creating a Southern Maine where everyone can thrive.

To get the Legislative Update delivered to your inbox every other week, sign up at https://p2a.co/18Gvy47 or email advocacy@uwsme.org