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UWGP Legislative Update, 4/19/19

LEGISLATIVE UPDATE
April 19, 2019

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Expanding Public Pre-K to Mitigate Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) – LD 1417

On Wednesday the 17th, Thrive2027 Council member and General Counsel and Director of Regional Initiatives, Greater Portland Council of Governments, Chris Hall, delivered testimony in support of LD 1417, An Act to Expand Access to Head Start to Assist Opioid-affected and Other At-risk Families. United Way of Greater Portland is one of 230 organizations in Cumberland County that has embraced Thrive2027.

Interested in Thrive2027? Click here to learn more.

Hall’s testimony reflected on research and short and long-term benefits of the program. Hall said, “ Research shows that regular contact with caring adults builds the architecture of the brain and sets our children up for a successful future. Supportive early relationships and nurturing, stimulating experiences with parents, educators, caregivers, and home visitors, ensure children have the skills to become tomorrow’s workers, caregivers, taxpayers, and community-minded citizens.”

It is especially important to invest early to prevent and mitigate the potential impacts of Adverse Childhood Experiences, also known as ACEs. According to the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, ACEs “are stressful or traumatic events, including abuse and neglect. They may also include growing up with family members who have substance use disorders. ACEs are strongly related to the development and prevalence of a wide range of health problems throughout a person’s lifespan.” Therefore, Thrive2027 supports LD 1417 that ensures our most vulnerable children get a strong start.

If you or someone you know has relied on Head Start or another public preschool program while securing work, please share your story today. Contact us today at advocacy@unitedwaygp.org.

Expanding the State Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) – LD 104

The State Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is designed to encourage and reward work, offset state payroll and income taxes, and raise living standards.  To claim the credit, a taxpayer must have earnings from a job. Research has shown that EITC promotes work, supports children’s development, and is essential in lifting Mainers out of poverty.

Beth Campbell, Sr. Director, Financial Stability, United Way of Greater Portland said, “The EITC is an effective program to help lift families out of poverty in Cumberland County. More than 17,000 families get the federal EITC.” As of April 12, there were 874 EITC returns total from all of the CA$H Coalitions in Maine and of those returns 135 were completed through the CA$H Greater Portland site.

Mainers who worked last year and had an income of less than $54,884 may be eligible for the federal EITC. Eligibility can mean up to a $6,431 refund for some filers. On average, federal EITC adds $2,106 to Maine refunds. In addition to federal credit, tax filers in Maine are eligible for a state-level EITC. This legislative session, Senator Vitelli has introduced LD 104: An Act to Expand the Earned Income Tax Credit in Maine, which  would lower the age of eligibility from 25 to 18 and increase the credit from 5% to 15% of the federal earned income tax credit. This bill would expand eligibility to working Mainers who are currently locked out of this powerful anti-poverty tool. It currently awaits a public hearing date by the Taxation Committee. UWGP has endorsed this bill.

Action Alert

Have you ever received the EITC?

Share your story and let us know how EITC has impacted your life, or how you plan to use it.

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)
    There is a public hearing scheduled on Wednesday, May 1, 2019 1:00 PM, Cross Building, Room 208.
  • 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).
    The committee voted this bill out via divided report* on April 10, 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).
    There was a work session on April 18, 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 held on 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 on March 20, 2019.
  • LD 104, “An Act To Expand the Earned Income Tax Credit in Maine” (Introduced by Senator Vitelli).
    There was a work session on April 10, 2019. It was TABLED.

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 work session on April 10, 2019. It was TABLED.
  • 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 on April 1, 2019. The Committee was voted ONTP on April 2, 2019.
  • LD 392 “An Act To Fund Maine’s School-based Health Centers” (Introduced by Representative Handy). There was a public hearing on February 25, 2019. The committee voted this bill out via divided report* on April 2, 2019.
  • LD 836 “An Act To Expand Maine’s School-based Health Centers” (Introduced by Representative Handy). There was a public hearing on   February 25, 2019. The committee voted this bill out via divided report* on April 2, 2019.

*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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