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UWGP Legislative Update, 4/5/19

LEGISLATIVE UPDATE
April 5, 2019

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Proposed Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) Program + Training to Support Children and the Community – LD 997

2017’s Maine Integrated Youth Health Survey Data reported 1 in 4 Maine high school students have had three or more adverse childhood experiences (3+ ACEs).

Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) are traumatic events, including abuse and neglect, and household dysfunction such as witnessing domestic violence or growing up with family members who have substance use disorders or untreated mental illness. ACEs are directly linked to a wide range of health problems through a person’s lifetime, including mental illness and substance abuse disorders.

Students with 3+ ACEs were more likely to experience depression and suicide compared to those who have less than three ACEs. Among those who said they had more support from community and school reported less suicide ideation and cigarette smoking, compared to those with less support.  Having 3+ ACEs has also been linked to an increased likelihood of developing substance use disorder and chronic diseases in adulthood, consequently challenging financial security and lowering lifespans.

In his testimony supporting LD 997 on behalf of the United Ways of Maine, Peter Lindsay Director of Early Childhood for United Way of Mid Coast Maine stated, “…The Maine Social and Emotional Learning & Development Project team members learned about the high number of children in early care settings across Maine who have challenging behaviors. The highest priority recommendation in the Team’s final report was to implement a statewide early childhood consultation program…” LD 997 requires the Commissioner of Education to implement, beginning September 1, 2020, a statewide voluntary early childhood consultation program to provide support, guidance and training to families, early care and education teachers and providers working in public elementary schools, child care facilities, and family child care settings and Head Start programs serving infants and young children who are experiencing challenging behaviors that put them at risk of learning difficulties and removal from early learning settings. The bill requires the Maine Department of Education to design and implement the program and to report to the joint standing committee of the Legislature on implementation.

Show your support for this bill now. Contact: advocacy@unitedwaygp.org

SNAP Rule Change Proposed and Opposed

A proposed rule change to SNAP would time limit food benefits for unemployed and underemployed people who can’t document at least 20 weekly work hours.  If adopted, many people, given the inconsistent nature of low-wage and seasonal work, could find themselves losing their SNAP eligibility after three months. Their search for permanent work is further challenged when doing so while hungry.

UWGP joined many other UWs across the country in sending letters registering opposition to this rule change. In its comment letter, United Way of Greater Portland stated, “…those who can work should, and we help equip people to be self-sufficient through workforce partnerships, education and job training, child care supports and more. The USDA attempts to justify the proposed rule in the name of promoting self-sufficiency but the proposed rule does nothing to support low-income job seekers in obtaining work – it does the opposite. Rather than shoring up job training and work supports, the rule simply takes food off the table for those searching for work or struggling to get by, making it more challenging to find and keep a job. ”

If you or someone you know has relied on SNAP while securing work, please share your story today. Contact: advocacy@unitedwaygp.org

Meredith’s SNAP Story

UWGP Legislative Watch List

United Way of Greater Portland has embraced Thrive2027, our community’s 10-year effort to achieve measurable progress in the areas of education, financial stability, and health. UWGP is playing its part to ensure the success of Thrive2027 by supporting public policies like those included in the following Legislative Watch List: 

 Goal 1: Give Kids a Strong Start  

  • LD 468, “An Act To Require That the State Fund on an Ongoing Basis a Minimum of 50 Percent of the Costs Associated with Public Preschool Programs” (Introduced by Representative Farnsworth)
  • LD 798 “An Act To Protect Maine Children and Students from Preventable Diseases by Repealing Certain Exemptions from the Laws Governing Immunization Requirements” (Introduced by Representative Tipping)
    There was a public hearing was held on Wednesday, March 13, 2019.

 Goal 2: Empower Neighbors to Thrive – Not Just Survive

  • LD 214 “An Act To Increase Funding for Civil Legal Services” (Introduced by Representative Cardone).
    TABLED on March 14, 2019.
  • LD 421, “Resolve, To Amend the State Plan Regarding the Processing of Vouchers under the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children by Farmers’ Markets” (Introduced by Representative Terry)
    There was a public hearing was held on Monday, February 25, 2019.
  • LD 982 “Resolve, To Expand the Use of the Women, Infants and Children Special Supplemental Food Program at Farmers’ Markets” (Introduced by Representative Daughtry)
    There was a public hearing was held on Wednesday, March 20, 2019.
  • LD 104, “An Act To Expand the Earned Income Tax Credit in Maine” (Introduced by Senator Vitelli).
    There was a budget hearing for tax issues was held on March 20, 2019.

Goal 3:  Help Us All Live Longer, Better

  • LD 227, “An Act To Strengthen Maine’s Public Health Infrastructure” (Introduced by Representative Perry).
    There was a public hearing held on Wednesday, April 3, 2019.
  • LD 266, “An Act To Eliminate the 2-year Limit on MaineCare Coverage for Approved Drugs for Opioid Use Disorder” (Introduced by Senator Sanborn)
    The Governor also proposed language to remove the two-year limit.  This language became effective in March.
  • LD 447 “An Act Regarding the Substance Use Disorder Continuum of Care”  (Introduced by Senator Gratwick).
    There was a public hearing was held on Monday, April 1, 2019.
  • LD 392 “An Act To Fund Maine’s School-based Health Centers” (Introduced by Representative Handy).
    There was a public hearing on Monday, February 25, 2019.
    The committee voted this bill out via divided report*.
  • LD 836 “An Act To Expand Maine’s School-based Health Centers” (Introduced by Representative Handy).
    There was a public hearing on Monday, February 25, 2019.
    The committee voted this bill out via divided report*.

*What is a Divided Report? :If committee members disagree about a bill, they may issue a divided report, which usually includes majority and minority reports on the bill. Example: a majority ‘ought not to pass’ report and a minority ‘ought to pass as amended’ report. A less frequent situation occurs when there are more than 2 reports. Example: 6 members vote for ‘Report A,’ ‘ought to pass,’ 5 members vote for ‘Report B,’ ‘ought not to pass,’ and 2 members vote for ‘Report C,’ ‘ought to pass as amended.’
http://legislature.maine.gov/general/path-of-legislation-in-maine-detailed/9285

If you would like to know how you can be an Advocate for these important policies, feel free to contact advocacy@unitedwaygp.org.

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