550 Forest Avenue, Suite 100, Portland, ME 04101 info@uwsme.org 207-874-1000

UWSM Legislative Update, 5/2/2022

LEGISLATIVE UPDATE
May 2, 2022

Greetings Community Advocates,

THANK YOU! With your help, we achieved some major victories for our community during the Second Regular Session of the 130th Maine Legislature. Today, we are celebrating.

We also want to extend our gratitude to Legislators across the state for their work and advocacy. 

Here you can find our Advocacy Report Card highlighting United Way of Southern Maine policy outcomes.

 

 

HIGHLIGHTS FROM AUGUSTA:

April 20 was the statutory adjournment of the 130th Maine Legislature. Before they adjourned, lawmakers voted to return for one more day, Monday, April 25, to address unfinished business.

Here are the highlights from the Second Regular Session:

The Governor’s Supplemental Budget was signed into law on April 20, 2022. This budget includes a few initiatives that UWSM advocated for:

  • $12 million for child care in the form of a permanent $200 monthly wage stipend for all child care workers.  
  • $20 million for free community college for two years.  
  • $8 million to improve the state’s Child Welfare System. 
  • $42.1 million investment to overhaul the educational opportunity tax credit (“Opportunity Maine”). One late change involved providing a one-year additional $1,000 benefit for any STEM graduate recipients from the past three years. 

 

WINS AND LOSSES FROM THE SECOND REGULAR SESSION OF THE 130TH MAINE LEGISLATURE:

UWSM advocates for bills supporting the annual public policy agenda approved by the Board of Directors connected to Thrive2027. Read UWSM’s Policy and Advocacy Priorities for 2022.

Bills funded in the Supplemental Budget:

Though the bills themselves did not pass, their provisions were included in the Supplemental budget that became law.

LD 372 – “An Act To Provide Maine Children Access to Affordable Health Care” (Sponsored by Senator Anne Carney of Cumberland)

This bill makes changes to the federal CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program), which is a program that provides health coverage for children from birth to age 19. Specifically, this bill would increase eligibility and expand coverage. 

Status: The budget contains $3.2 million in General Fund dollars, which will leverage more than $9 million in federal funding to Expand Children’s Health Insurance (CHIP) to provide comprehensive coverage to an additional 40,000 Maine kids. 

LD 1652 – “An Act To Build a Child Care System by Recruiting and Retaining Maine’s Early Childhood Educators Workforce” (Sponsored by Speaker Ryan Fecteau of Biddeford)

This bill requires the Commissioner of Health and Human Services, the Commissioner of Education, and the Commissioner of Labor to develop jointly and implement an early childhood educators workforce support program to recruit and retain early childhood educators working with children up to five years of age. 

StatusThe budget contains $12 million in wages supports for child care providers. Starting in October, this will be a $200 monthly wage supplement for every Maine child care provider, thus raising average wages from $14.31 per hour to $15.46 per hour.  

LD 1807 – “An Act To Expand Nursing Education Programs” (Sponsored by Senator Matthea Daughtry of Cumberland)

This bill provides $2.5 million in ongoing funds for the Maine Community College System to expand Nursing Education Programs, increasing the number of nursing graduates from 240 to almost 500 each year. 

Status: This budget contains $2.5 million in ongoing funding to double the nursing capacity. 

Thank you for your advocacy! Legislative Update readers like you sent 145 emails in support of LD 1807.

 

Bills that did not become law in the 130th Maine Legislature: 

LD 292 – “An Act To Increase the Minimum Grant Amount under the Maine State Grant Program” (Sponsored by Representative Teresa S. Pierce of Falmouth)

This bill sought to increase the minimum grant amount for undergraduate students to $2,500 under the Maine State Grant Program, which is administered by FAME (Finance Authority of Maine).

Status: This bill was not funded.

LD 296 – “An Act To Provide a Tax Credit for Family Caregivers” (Sponsored by Representative Kristin Cloutier of Lewiston)

TThis bill sought to require a tax credit for family caregivers and provide a refundable income tax credit of $2,000 for certified family caregivers and permits eligible family caregivers.

Status: This bill was not funded.

LD 1235 – “An Act To Authorize a General Fund Bond Issue To Connect Maine with a World-class Internet Infrastructure” (Sponsored by Senator Richard Bennett of Oxford)

This bill sought to provide $100 million for grants and loans to provide a world-class affordable high-speed Internet infrastructure to those in Maine with poor or no current connectivity. 

Status: This bill was not funded.

Thank you for your advocacy and for raising your voice and hands in support of United Way and our Southern Maine community. Until we connect again for the 131st Maine Session that begins this December, you can subscribe to our UWSM newsletters and find other ways to get involved here.  

If you would like to know more about how you can advocate for a thriving community, please contact us at advocacy@uwsme.org

To get the Legislative Update delivered to your inbox every other week, sign up at https://p2a.co/tjKEBsH or email 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.

[supsystic-social-sharing id="1"]