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Official press releases from State of Maine agencies.



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Attorney General Janet Mills Joins 37 States, Territories in Fight against Opioid Incentives

Mon, 18 Sep 2017 14:31:53 EDT



OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Andrew Roth-Wells Telephone: (207) 626-8887

Attorney General Janet Mills Joins 37 States, Territories in Fight against Opioid Incentives



AUGUSTA - Attorney General Janet Mills joined a coalition of 37 states and territories urging health insurance companies to examine the financial incentives that contribute to the opioid epidemic in Maine and across the nation.

The bipartisan coalition announced Monday a two-step strategy to identify problematic policies and to increase the use of non-opioid alternatives for treatment of chronic non-cancer pain.

"Last year Maine enacted a law limiting opioid prescriptions and that law is beginning to have a positive impact," said Mills. "Now health insurers need to reduce any financial incentives to prescribing these addicting narcotics and offer greater coverage for alternative therapies."

Maine had the highest rate in the nation of prescriptions issued for long-term, extended-release opioids, according to a 2014 report by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Since then the numbers have decreased but Maine is still seeing an average of almost one drug overdose death each day. The CDC estimates 75 percent of patients that abuse heroin started with prescription medications

Describing the opioid epidemic as "the preeminent public health crisis of our time," the 37 attorneys general wrote to the insurance providers' industry trade group, America's Health Insurance Plans, urging insurers to review their coverage and payment policies as the starting point for focusing on incentive structures across the insurance industry.

The attorneys general noted that they have witnessed firsthand the devastation the opioid epidemic has wrought on their states in lives lost and costs imposed on the healthcare system and on the broader economy. "As the chief legal officers of our States, we are committed to using all tools at our disposal to combat this epidemic and to protect patients suffering from chronic pain or addiction."

The attorneys general contend that incentives that promote use of non-opioid therapies will encourage medical providers to consider physical therapy, acupuncture, massage, chiropractic care and non-opioid medications, instead of narcotic drugs.

Increased reliance on these alternatives will combat a significant factor contributing to the epidemic - the over-prescription of opioid painkillers. The letter notes the number of opioid prescriptions have quadrupled since 1999.

Other attorneys general signing the letter are Arizona, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

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Maine Office of Tourism wins Mercury Award for social media campaign

Mon, 18 Sep 2017 13:55:54 EDT

The Maine Office of Tourism received a prestigious 2017 Mercury Award at the annual U.S. Travel Association's Educational Seminar for Tourism Organizations (ESTO) conference in August for excellence in tourism marketing. Maine won the award for the category Social Media, in recognition of their 2016 Instagram Influencer campaign. "We congratulate the team at the Office of Tourism for this national recognition of their work in support of Maine businesses," said Governor Paul R. LePage. "My administration fully supports activities that help showcase Maine as a terrific place to visit, study, work and invest." The Maine Office of Tourism (MOT) aims to drive demand for travel to the state of Maine through a robust marketing program centered on the core human value of originality. This brand platform is expressed through "The Maine Thing" campaign. As the Maine brand continues to grow and visitation increases year-over-over, MOT looks for meaningful and credible opportunities to permeate Maine into consumers' daily lives. One such effort was the 2016 social media influencer campaign involving the eight regions of Maine.

The Office of Tourism, working with its marketing agency BVK, brought a group of prominent Instagram photographers to Maine for a week in summer 2016 to experience the truly authentic culture, people and landscapes of the state, while producing a compelling visual narrative to promote the destination along the way. The influencers were selected based on their alignment with Maine's platform of originality, outdoor-centric content and sizeable network of over 2.3 million combined followers. MOT sent the five Influencers to each of the eight regions of the state to capture photography of its unique offerings through their personal lenses - their "Maine Thing." The Influencers published sponsored posts daily on Instagram and Facebook to promote the state using the campaign hashtag #MaineThing, while tagging each region and @VisitMaine for additional exposure. Their weeklong experiences were later documented and showcased in an evergreen feature on VisitMaine.com, The Maine Thing Quarterly. Photography assets captured during the program were also used to produce new landing pages on VisitMaine.com to highlight each of the state's eight regions. Beyond that, MOT offered a compelling co-op advertising component that allowed regional participation, photography generation and paid advertising. "Receiving this Mercury award will only reinforce our efforts to share information about Maine's assets in a way that resonates with today's audience and delivers results for Maine businesses," said Steve Lyons, director of the Maine Office of Tourism. Tourism is one of Maine's largest industries, supporting more than 100,000 jobs in 2016, about 15 percent of employment in the state. Household income generated by tourism industry jobs in Maine that year totaled more than $2.5 billion.

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AG Mills asks Equifax to disable fee-based monitoring services and to reimburse fees for security freezes

Fri, 15 Sep 2017 15:22:00 EDT

OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Andrew Roth-Wells Telephone: (207) 626-8887

AG Mills asks Equifax to disable fee-based monitoring services and to reimburse fees for security freezes



AUGUSTA --Attorney General Janet T. Mills joined a bipartisan group of attorneys general in writing to request Equifax remove links to its fee based credit marketing service and offer only free credit checks, in the wake of the massive data breach impacting 143 million people.

The Maine office of the Attorney General began investigating Equifax on September 8, 2017, when the firm announced that 143 million consumers, including over 500,000 in Maine, were exposed to potential identity theft through a data breach. Equifax is offering free credit monitoring services in response to the breach, but the attorneys general object to Equifax "seemingly using its own data breach as an opportunity to sell services to breach victims," they wrote.

"We believe continuing to offer consumers a fee-based service in addition to Equifax's free monitoring services will serve to only confuse consumers who are already struggling to make decisions on how to best protect themselves in the wake of this massive breach," the attorneys general wrote. "Selling a fee-based product that competes with Equifax's own free offer of credit monitoring services to victims of Equifax's own data breach is unfair, particularly if consumers are not sure if their information was compromised."

The attorneys general also said that, although Equifax has agreed to waive credit freeze fees, for those who would otherwise be subject to them, the other two credit bureaus, Experian and Transunion, continue to charge fees for security freezes in states were such charges are allowed. The attorneys general said that Equifax should be taking steps to reimburse consumers who incur these fees to completely freeze their credit.

"Hundreds of consumers are calling my Consumer Protection Division and the Maine Bureau of Consumer Credit Protection frustrated and confused after calling Equifax to protect themselves," said Mills. "Through no fault of their own they are being exposed to identity theft. They shouldn't have to pay the company at fault to freeze their credit or get protection. Thankfully Maine law prohibits charging consumers for credit freezes."

Maine consumers have the right to place a free file freeze on their credit reports with each of the three major credit reporting agencies: Equifax, Experian and Trans Union. You can also freeze your credit report files by visiting the credit reporting agencies' secure websites, or by making your request in writing to each agency. Maine consumers who are charged for file freezes by any credit reporting agency are encouraged to contact the Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division (consumer.mediation@maine.gov/ 207-626-8849 or toll-free at 1-800-436-2131) and the Maine Bureau of Consumer Credit Protection (1-800-DEBT-LAW or 1-800-332-8529).

"Maine and numerous other states commenced investigations into Equifax last Friday," stated Mills. "We are going to get to the bottom of the who, what and why of the enormous leak of private information from one of the nation's largest credit agencies. We are intent on helping Maine citizens protect their privacy and their personal financial information."



Special election set to fill District 56 House seat

Fri, 15 Sep 2017 12:24:08 EDT

AUGUSTA - A special election for the Maine House District 56 seat is scheduled to coincide with the statewide Referendum Election on Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017.

The House seat, which covers the Town of Lisbon, was previously held by Rep. Gina M. Mason, who died unexpectedly on Sept. 5.

Governor Paul LePage and Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap signed the proclamation announcing the special election on Friday, Sept. 15, 2017.

Maine's four political parties - the Democrats, Green Independents, Libertarians and Republicans - will now caucus to choose their candidates for the seat. Candidate nominations are due to the Office of the Secretary of State by 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 3.

Non-party candidates must circulate petitions and obtain the signatures of at least 50 registered voters in House District 56. The deadline to submit the petitions to the Secretary of State is by 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 3, after first having the signatures certified by the Town of Lisbon. Write-in candidates must declare their candidacy by 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 10. Non-party petition forms and write-in candidate declaration forms may be obtained by contacting the Elections Division of the Secretary of State at 624-7650.

The candidate who is elected in the Nov. 7 special election will serve out the remainder of Rep. Mason's term, through November 2018.



Maine Unemployment Rate 3.8 Percent in August

Fri, 15 Sep 2017 10:17:44 EDT

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 15, 2017 Contact: Glenn Mills 207-621-5192AUGUSTA - Labor market conditions continue to be tight throughout much of the state.**Seasonally Adjusted Statewide Data** Household Survey Estimates - The preliminary seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 3.8 percent for August was little changed from 3.7 percent in July and 4.0 percent one year ago. The number of unemployed was down 1,000 over the year to 26,800. At 23 months, this is the second longest period in more than 40 years that the unemployment rate has been 4.0 percent or less.The U.S. preliminary unemployment rate of 4.4 percent for August was little changed from 4.3 percent for July and down from 4.9 percent one year ago. The New England unemployment rate averaged 4.0 percent.August unemployment rate estimates for other states in the region were 2.7 percent in New Hampshire, 3.0 percent in Vermont, 4.2 percent in Massachusetts, 4.3 percent in Rhode Island, and 4.8 percent in Connecticut.The employment to population ratio estimate of 61.7 percent remained above the U.S. average of 60.1 percent.**Payroll Survey Estimates -** The preliminary nonfarm payroll jobs estimate was up 2,700 from one year ago to 620,800 in August. The largest job gains continued to be in the healthcare, hospitality, and construction sectors.**Not Seasonally Adjusted Substate Data** The not seasonally adjusted statewide unemployment rate estimate of 3.1 percent for August was down slightly from 3.3 percent one year ago. The lowest rate was 2.5 percent in Cumberland County and the highest was 4.7 percent in Washington County.The unemployment rate was below the statewide average in the Portland-South Portland (2.5 percent) metro area and close to the average in the Lewiston-Auburn (3.0 percent) and Bangor (3.3 percent) metro areas.September estimates will be released on Friday, October 20 (Data Release Schedule: http://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/releaseDates.html ).This release is available at http://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/news/release.html .Labor force and unemployment data is available at http://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/laus1.html .Nonfarm payroll jobs data is available at http://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/ces1.html .Monthly workforce estimates are cooperatively produced and released by the Maine Department of Labor, Center for Workforce Research and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.**NOTES**1. Preliminary labor force estimates, including rates (labor force participation, employment, and unemployment rates), and levels (labor force, employed, and unemployed) tend to move in a direction for several months and then reverse course. Those directional trends are largely driven by a smoothing procedure and may not indicate a change in underlying workforce conditions. Annual revisions (published in March each year) tend to moderate or eliminate those directional patterns. A comparison of 2016 preliminary and revised unemployment rate estimates is available at www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/blogs/2016_workforce_data_revisions.pdf .2. The 90 percent confidence interval for statewide unemployment rates in 2017 is 0.7 percentage points above or below the published estimate each month.3. To assess employment growth, we recommend looking at nonfarm jobs from the payroll survey rather than resident employment from the household survey. The payroll survey is larger, has smaller margins of error, and is subject to smaller revisions. More on the differences in accuracy of the two measures is at www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/blogs/imprecise_data.pdf .4. Nonfarm payroll jobs estimates tend to be volatile from month to month because there is variability in the sample of reporting employers and their representativeness for the universe of all employers. Additionally, seasonal adjustment is imperfect because weather, the beginning and ending of school semesters and holidays, and other events do not always occur with the same timing, which can exacerbate monthly volatility. Users sh[...]



Attorney General Janet Mills joined the University of Maine System in announcing the expansion of the Peer to Peer financial literacy program

Thu, 14 Sep 2017 17:43:14 EDT



OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Date: September 14, 2017 CONTACT: Andrew Roth-Wells Telephone: (207) 626-8887

Attorney General Janet Mills joined the University of Maine System in announcing the expansion of the Peer to Peer financial literacy program

AG Mills excited to see successful UMF program spread throughout the state AUGUSTA - Attorney General Janet Mills joined the University of Maine System in announcing the expansion of UMF's Peer-to-Peer Financial Literacy Program to the other universities in the system with the goal of working in partnership with Maine's community colleges and local schools. AG Mills was pleased to contribute $900,000 from the settlement her office achieved in the watershed litigation against Wall Street giant Standard & Poor's for its part in causing the recession and housing crisis of 2008.

In accordance with the agreement AG Mills reached with the legislature a year ago, all four legislative leaders agreed to the distribution of the remaining settlement funds.

"Today we have a student debt crisis," AG Mills stated, "and this financial burden is preventing Maine graduates from achieving their best potential, reducing debt, buying homes and supporting young families in our state." Nationally, student debt has surpassed credit card debt, reaching $1.4 trillion last year. Maine has the 14th highest average debt for graduates in the nation at $30,000.

The program started as a pilot project at UMF in 2013 by training students to help their fellow students understand their own finances and how to make responsible choices now and avoid problems with debt in the future. The small group of students reached more than 1,000 students with assistance and information. They also exchanged information and resources to staff at Maine's secondary schools.

The announcement released today by the University of Maine System states that the expansion is planned over a five-year period with the goal of training students as Peer Financial Educators and, when fully implemented, they will do further outreach to middle and high school and community college students. ###



Attorney General Janet Mills announces complaint filed against Jesse James Taylor

Thu, 14 Sep 2017 17:29:10 EDT

**OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL**

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Date: September 14, 2017 CONTACT: Andrew Roth-Wells Telephone: (207) 626-8887

**Attorney General Janet Mills announces complaint filed against Jesse James Taylor** *Taylor accused of harassing workers at Sisters Gourmet Deli in Portland*

AUGUSTA -Attorney General Janet Mills announced today that her office has filed a complaint under the Maine Civil Rights Act against Jesse James Taylor, age 36, in the Superior Court in Portland.

According to the State's complaint, on July 29, 2017, Taylor threatened the employees of Sisters Gourmet Deli in Portland with violence based on his bias against their sex and/or sexual orientation. The State is requesting an order barring Taylor from having contact with the owner or employees of Sisters Gourmet Deli; from coming into the Deli or onto Monument Square, where the Deli is located; and from violating the Maine Civil Rights Act in the future.

The complaint alleges that Taylor came into the restaurant and asked one of the four female employees if she had "any weed." When the employee responded in the negative, Taylor accused the female employees of thinking "you are better workers than a hard-working man." He went on to yell anti-gay epithets at the female employees and threatened that they were "going to burn in hell" and they were "going to die." He said, "I know your faces." He continued to threaten and harass the female staff until two male passersby were summoned to the Deli and asked him to leave the premises.

Attorney General Janet Mills said: "No one should be subject to bias-motivated threats of violence at the workplace or elsewhere. My office is bringing this action to protect the female staff of Sisters Gourmet Deli from Taylor's threats of harm based on his apparent bias against women, especially women who he perceives to be gay."

AG Mills also expressed her thanks to the Portland Police Department for their investigation of this case.

The Maine Civil Rights Act authorizes the Attorney General to bring an action against any person who uses violence or the threat of violence based on his bias against the victim's race, color, religion, sex, ancestry, national origin, physical or mental disability or sexual orientation.

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Calling all artists: Maine State Archives seeks ornament for WWI commemoration event

Fri, 15 Sep 2017 12:23:14 EDT

AUGUSTA - The Maine State Archives invites all Maine artists to submit ideas for a Christmas tree ornament to be included in a World War I commemoration event this fall.

Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap will present the ornament to representatives of Halifax, Nova Scotia during a ceremony in Augusta on Monday, Nov. 20, to mark Mainers' response to the Halifax Explosion of 1917.

The maritime disaster occurred on Dec. 6, 1917, when the SS Mont-Blanc, a French cargo ship bound for Bordeaux, collided with the Norwegian SS Imo in Halifax Harbor. The Mont-Blanc was carrying explosives for the war effort. The cargo ignited during the collision, resulting in a destructive explosion that caused more than 2,000 deaths and 9,000 injuries.

Each year, the City of Halifax chooses a Christmas tree to present to the City of Boston as a symbol of appreciation for the humanitarian aid that Boston residents provided after the explosion. As we mark the centennial of World War I this year, the tree will be making a special stop in Augusta for a Halifax Explosion Centennial Commemoration ceremony on Nov. 20, to recognize the Mainers who also went to their Canadian neighbors' aid.

The ornament commission calls for a three-part design, with one section to be presented to Halifax, a second section to accompany the tree to Boston, and a third section to remain in Maine. Such a design allows the ornament to be reunited at a future event.

"We have always enjoyed a special bond with our Canadian and New England neighbors. The Halifax catastrophe was an occasion where the depths of those bonds were fully displayed in the humanitarian outreach to the people of Halifax," said Secretary Dunlap.

The Maine State Archives will accept design proposals through Friday, Oct. 13. Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap and the Maine State Archives staff will choose a winning design and announce the chosen artist no later than Tuesday, Oct. 17. The artist with the winning entry will receive $500 and must present the completed ornament to the Maine State Archives by Monday, Nov. 13, 2017. Full specifications and details are available in the attached document and on the Maine State Archives website at http://maine.gov/sos/arc/ .

Link to Specifictions: http://www.maine.gov/sos/news/2017/wwiornament.html



In the Aftermath of Hurricane Harvey and Preparing for Irma, Governor and Department of Professional and Financial Regulation Encourage Generosity, But Warn Against Scams

Fri, 08 Sep 2017 13:45:48 EDT

Governor Paul R. LePage and Commissioner Anne Head from the Department of Professional and Financial Regulation (DPFR) are encouraging Mainers to remain generous and helpful to people impacted by natural disasters, while being vigilant against charitable scams, which frequently crop up in the aftermath of hurricanes and other tragedies. Donors are encouraged to research charitable organizations before making a contribution."Mainers are very generous and known for lending a hand to those in need," Governor LePage said. "Because many families support charities following natural disasters, it's important to be mindful that criminals are active in taking advantage of the kindness of others."Many charitable organizations are required to be licensed with DPFR's Office of Professional and Occupational Regulation, which collects information about charitable activity in Maine and makes it available to the public. A quick check with the Department can provide information to help in determining whether a charity is legitimate or a scam. "Charitable scams aren't new, but they increase following natural disasters and other tragedies," Commissioner Head said. "Guidance and resources are available to assist the public in making sure contributions are going to legitimate charities."Commissioner Head advises individuals to ask questions and seek printed information about unknown charities; to confirm their legitimacy with licensing officials; to never send cash or wire money when requested to do so; to always keep receipts of donations; and to report concerns or complaints about questionable solicitations with the Department and law enforcement.Information about charities can be obtained through the Department's website (www.maine.gov/pfr), specifically at www.maine.gov/pfr/professionallicensing/professions/charitable. Links allow for the search of licensed charitable organizations, as well as disciplinary actions. Questions and complaints can also be made by calling the Charitable Solicitations Program at 207-624-8624. Additional tips and advice accompany this news release and can also be obtained from the Federal Trade Commission (www.ftc.gov/charityfraud) and the Better Business Bureau's Wise Giving Alliance website www.give.org.The Department of Professional and Financial Regulation protects the citizens of Maine and supports the economy through the oversight of State-chartered financial institutions, the insurance industry, grantors of consumer credit, the securities industry, and numerous professions providing services to the public. More information is available at www.maine.gov/pfr. ###Tips and Advice When Considering Charitable Giving September, 2017-- Always research unknown charities before contributing. -- Not all organizations with names that sound like charities are actually charities. Some organizations select names that are similar to those of well-known charities. -- Whether a charity is new or well established, you may wish to know what percentage of your contribution is spent on fundraising and other expenses---rather than in direct support the charity's stated purpose.-- Be cautious when contacted by telephone for a contribution. Ask that the request be put in writing. You may also want to ask if the caller is a paid solicitor or a volunteer.-- Never give your bank account information or credit/debit card numbers to a caller. And be wary if the person soliciting the contribution is willing to have someone rush to your home or business to meet with you and pick up a contribution.-- If you wish to receive a tax deduction, make sure the organization has a tax deductible status with the Internal Revenue Service. "Tax exempt," "non-profit," and "tax deductible" mean different things. Only "tax deductible" means contributions are deductible on your income tax return. Visit the IRS websi[...]



State Officials Provide Information and Guidance for Mainers in Response to Data Breach at Equifax

Fri, 08 Sep 2017 13:29:24 EDT

Following news of a massive file breach at credit reporting agency Equifax, the Bureau of Consumer Credit Protection, which administers the Fair Credit Reporting Act in Maine, is encouraging people to take this matter seriously and consider basic steps to protect their identify, financial accounts and credit reports.

The Bureau's Principal Examiner, David Leach, emphasizes that state and federal laws are in place to protect consumer from the effects of a data breach. "Maine is one of the few states in which consumers can ‘freeze' their credit report information to prevent unauthorized persons from opening credit accounts in their name," Leach said.

Equifax provides an automated, secure line (1-800-349-9960) for consumers to freeze their credit report with the agency. The file freeze is immediate. Within 10-14 days, consumers receive a letter from Equifax which provides a toll-free number and unique (to each consumer) personal identification or PIN number for use in freely unlocking/relocking their credit file.

The Bureau also highly recommends freezing credit files with the other two major credit reporting agencies: Experian (1-888-397-3742) and Trans Union (1-888-909-8872).

Leach noted that if an unauthorized person opens a credit account in the name of a consumer and incurs debts, the consumer is not legally obligated to pay those debts. He also explained that consumers can view their own credit reports free of charge once a year at www.AnnualCreditReport.com or by calling 1-877-322-8228.

Consumers affected by this breach will be provided with additional ways to view and monitor their credit files without charge, and the state recommends that consumers do so.

Individuals seeking more information or further guidance can contact the Bureau by calling 1-800-332-8529 (toll free in Maine) or 207-624-8527. Online information about consumer financial protection issues is available at www.credit.maine.gov.



Secretary Dunlap announces final wording of referendum questions

Thu, 07 Sep 2017 14:26:26 EDT

AUGUSTA - Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap has finalized the wording of the two citizens' initiative questions that will appear on the Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017 Referendum Election ballot. Below is the title of each initiative and the final question that will appear on the ballot:**QUESTION 1: An Act To Allow Slot Machines or a Casino in York County.** "Do you want to allow a certain company to operate table games and/or slot machines in York County, subject to state and local approval, with part of the profits going to the specific programs described in the initiative?"**QUESTION 2: An Act To Enhance Access to Affordable Health Care.** "Do you want Maine to expand Medicaid to provide healthcare coverage for qualified adults under age 65 with incomes at or below 138% of the federal poverty level, which in 2017 means $16,643 for a single person and $22,412 for a family of two?"The full text of each proposed bill is available for viewing on the Bureau of Corporations, Elections and Commissions' Upcoming Elections webpage at http://maine.gov/sos/cec/elec/upcoming/index.html Secretary Dunlap received more than 150 comments on the wording of these initiatives during the 30-day public comment period, which was open Wednesday, Aug. 2, 2017 through Friday, Sept. 1, 2017. He reviewed and considered these comments, which were submitted from individuals and organizations throughout the state, during drafting of the final ballot question language."Crafting the ballot questions is always a challenge, given the need to accurately summarize complex legislation," said Secretary Dunlap. "We try to capture the essence of each proposal in the question, but it is incumbent upon the voters to educate themselves on all of the details, which cannot be intelligibly included in that single sentence on the ballot."The Bureau of Corporations, Elections and Commissions will create a Citizens' Guide to the 2017 Election this fall, which will be available on the website and at public libraries across the state. All voters are encouraged to read it to inform themselves of the details of each bill, including the fiscal impact statements.In addition to the citizens' initiative questions, the November Referendum Election ballot will also include one bond question and one constitutional amendment, both of which will appear below the citizens' initiative questions on the ballot. The legislation titles are listed below, along with the questions that will appear on the ballot:**QUESTION 3: An Act To Authorize a General Fund Bond Issue to Improve Highways, Bridges and Multimodal Facilities and Upgrade Municipal Culverts** - Legislation at http://www.mainelegislature.org/legis/bills/getPDF.asp?paper=SP0543&item=4&snum=128 "Do you favor a $105,000,000 bond issue for construction, reconstruction and rehabilitation of highways and bridges and for facilities or equipment related to ports, harbors, marine transportation, freight and passenger railroads, aviation, transit and bicycle and pedestrian trails, to be used to match an estimated $137,000,000 in federal and other funds, and for the upgrade of municipal culverts at stream crossings?"**QUESTION 4: Resolution, Proposing an Amendment to the Constitution of Maine To Reduce Volatility in State Pension Funding Requirements Caused by the Financial Markets** - Legislation at http://www.mainelegislature.org/legis/bills/getPDF.asp?paper=SP0240&item=3&snum=128 "Do you favor amending the Constitution of Maine to reduce volatility in state pension funding requirements caused by the financial markets by increasing the length of time over which experience losses are amortized from 10 years to 20 years, in line with pension industry standards?" For more information about the November 2017 Referendum Election, visit http://maine.gov/sos/cec/elec/upcoming/inde[...]



September Programs for Job Seekers at the Lewiston CareerCenter

Thu, 07 Sep 2017 10:04:07 EDT

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 7, 2017Contact: Mary LaFontaine, Lewiston CareerCenter, 207-753-9094Media Contact: Laura Hudson, Maine Department of Labor, 207-621-5009LEWISTON - The Lewiston CareerCenter continues its workshop programs for job seekers and those considering training to upgrade their skills and increase their employability."Maine reached an all-time high in payroll jobs this year, and our unemployment rate has been under 4.0 percent for 22 consecutive months," said Governor Paul R. LePage. "There is no better time to find work than now, especially as we head into the fall hiring season. Maine CareerCenters can help you update your resume, practice interview skills, or connect you with education or training, and you may qualify for free tuition. Our employers need you. Make yourself standout from other applicants-take the first step and contact your closest CareerCenter." CareerCenters can assist businesses by offering workshops on location, at local businesses or other organizations at no cost. The following workshops and programs will be held at the CareerCenter in Lewiston unless otherwise noted.**Career Decision Making - Friday, September 8, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.**Review the factors involved in making career decisions, assessment tools used, and other resources. Apply the information you gain from assessments to identify career and training steps to achieve career goals. **Introduction to Self-Employment Workshop - Thursday, September 14, 10 a.m. to noon**This introductory workshop will help you decide whether self-employment is the right choice for you. The class covers the pros and cons of owning your own business, the elements of a business plan, and the many resources available to help you succeed. Register by calling 753-9005.**Orientation for People with Disabilities - Wednesday, September 27, 2 to 3 p.m.**For people who are considering vocational rehabilitation services. Service providers are also welcome to attend. Held the fourth Wednesday of the month. Registration not required.**New Mainers Workshop - Thursday, September 28, 9 to 11 a.m.**How to complete paper and online job applications. Somali interpreter will be on hand. If other language interpreters are needed, please request by September 15 by calling 753-9005.**Resume Basics and Build a Resume Workshop - Thursday, September 28, 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.**Learn the basic do's and don'ts of resume writing; how to stand out in a positive way by marketing yourself-on paper-in a way that directly matches employer needs. Computers will be available and you will be able to compose a draft resume with staff assistance. Please bring your work history profile from Maine JobLink. Must be able to type your own resume.**Interview Skills / Mock Interviews - Thursday, September 28, 2 to 4 p.m.**Attend this workshop to learn the basics about interviewing and get the tools you need to feel comfortable in an interview. Session will include a brief overview of interview skills and employer expectations and will also include mock interviews so that you can practice, get feedback, and observe other participants!**Gateway to Employment - Every Wednesday, 9 to 11:30 a.m.**Learn how the CareerCenter can help you! Provides an overview of basic information on resumes, interviews and job search skills, as well as CareerCenter and community resources available to you during your job search.**Training Orientation - Call to schedule**An overview of training programs at the CareerCenter, eligibility requirements, and information on accessing services, this workshops is for people interested in pursuing training and education. If you are interested in job search only, consider the "Job Search Skills" workshop. NOTE: If you live in the South Paris area,[...]



September Programs for Job Seekers at the Skowhegan CareerCenter

Thu, 07 Sep 2017 09:51:40 EDT

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 7, 2017Contact: Peter Diplock, Skowhegan CareerCenter, (207) 474-4950Media Contact: Laura Hudson, Department of Labor, (207) 621-5009SKOWHEGAN- Maine CareerCenters bring job seekers and employers together. For those who are looking to make a change in careers or get a new job, the Skowhegan CareerCenter will be offering a variety of programs for job seekers in September."Maine reached an all-time high in payroll jobs this year, and our unemployment rate has been under 4.0 percent for 22 consecutive months," said Governor Paul R. LePage. "There is no better time to find work than now, especially as we head into the fall hiring season. Maine CareerCenters can help you update your resume, practice interview skills, or connect you with education or training, and you may qualify for free tuition. Our employers need you. Make yourself standout from other applicants-take the first step and contact your closest CareerCenter." All workshops and events are held at the CareerCenter unless otherwise noted. To register for sessions held at the CareerCenter, call 474-4950.**GATEway to Employment - Wednesdays, September, 13, 20 and 27, 9:30 to 11:30 a.m.**This workshop will provide you more information about the resources that the CareerCenter has to offer, including the newest tools to assist you in conducting an efficient and productive job search. Topics covered include: how to tap into the "hidden job market," identifying the skills you have to offer employers, tips on successfully completing applications, resumes and cover letters and how to register and apply for jobs posted through the CareerCenter.**Essentials of College Planning for Adults-Wednesday, September 20, 10 a.m.**This workshop introduces people to educational opportunities in general and MEOC services in particular. This interactive workshop touches on the four steps in the college process: admissions, financial aid, career and study skills. The Financial Aid portion of this workshop will provide an overview of financial basics and the completion of the Free Application of Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This session is held at the DHHS offices located next door to the CareerCenter. It is the same building but go through the DHHS entrance doors. Please call to pre-register: 1-800-281-3703.**Computer Skill Basics: Start at the Beginning - Wednesday, September 20, 1 to 3 p.m.**This course is designed for the novice user to learn the basics of the computer components:- Understanding the mouse & Keyboard.- Cover the "basics" of typing a document using Microsoft Word.- Learn to get you "up and running" with your job search.**Job Search Tips for People with a Criminal History - Monday, September 11, 1 to 2 p.m.**Do you have a criminal background? Are you having trouble finding work? Looking for tips on how to respond to those hard-to-answer questions? This workshop will help you become a successful job seeker. Register in advance as space may be limited. **Successful Interviewing Skills - Tuesday, September 12, 1 to 3 p.m.**Gain the confidence needed to ace that interview and get the job! Go in thoroughly prepared and positive you are the applicant the employer needs! Successful Interviewing Skills Workshop covers communication techniques, before-the-interview research, attitude and appearance, examples of questions you may be asked, what you can ask the employer, post interview follow-up, and more. Discuss all the "DO'S and DO NOT'S" and what to expect during the process.**It All Starts Here - Monday, September 18, 1 to 3 p.m.**Take the first step towards a great career! In this valuable session you can pinpoint your interests and strengths and find career options that have real potential. This highly validated and r[...]



DHHS-initiated PMP Law Showing Early Signs of Success

Thu, 07 Sep 2017 09:27:40 EDT

AUGUSTA - Over the last 14 months, with the rollout of Chapter 488, an Act to Strengthen Maine's Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP), the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has been closely monitoring PMP data and it is already showing early signs of success. The law has made Maine a leader in tackling the state's opioid epidemic-an issue facing every state across the nation.

"I'm not sure what's more encouraging, the numbers themselves or that they only represent the early effects of the PMP law," said State Health Officer, Dr. Christopher Pezzullo.

The law limits the number of opioids a provider can prescribe to a maximum of 100 morphine milligram equivalents (MME) per day. The Department worked closely with the legislature to ensure appropriate exemptions exist for those who may require higher dosages. Research shows that above this threshold the risk of side effects, diversion, addiction, and death is greatly increased.

Data from MaineCare as well as from the PMP itself has revealed a steady decrease in opioid prescriptions greater than 100 MME per day since the law went into effect last July. This decrease suggests that patients are starting to wean off of high dosage prescriptions-making it easier for the individual to decrease their dependency.

"For years, the pharmaceutical industry continued to pitch these highly addictive drugs as cure-alls when in actuality, a powerful opioid prescription may not have been best method to treat a patient's pain. I believe when we review the numbers a year from now, we will see an even more dramatic decrease as more people continue to wean off of these high dosages of narcotics," said Dr. Pezzullo.

Maine's PMP acts as a strong prevention tool as it ensures responsible prescribing habits and prevention of potential abuse and misuse of these drugs- an important step for DHHS to take as Maine found itself in the grips of an opioid epidemic. Knowing that 75% of heroin addictions began with an opioid prescription, the Department recognized that one of the most effective ways to combat an opioid addiction was in a prescriber's office. Following its implementation, the Department took more proactive steps to strengthen the system including:

• Contracting with the nation's most successful PMP provider,
• Offering single sign-on capability through a provider's electronic health record,
• Developing user-friendly PMP reports, and
• Partnering with all New England states as well as New York, New Jersey, Minnesota, South Carolina and Alabama, to share PMP data across state lines.

"When this law was first implemented, we were told time and time again that it was next to impossible to wean a person of off high dose opioids- this data proves that our efforts are accomplishing exactly what the Department envisioned it would," said Acting Commissioner Ricker Hamilton. "The PMP is one of our strongest tools in keeping people from heading down the path of self-destruction."
For more information on Maine's Prescription Monitoring Program, please visit: www.maine.gov/dhhs/samhs/osa/data/pmp/index.htm



Drug overdose deaths keep steady pace through first six months of 2017 with 185 deaths recorded through the end of June

Thu, 07 Sep 2017 11:44:46 EDT

OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Andrew Roth-Wells Date: September 6, 2017 Telephone: (207) 626-8887 Drug overdose deaths keep steady pace through first six months of 2017 with 185 deaths recorded through the end of JuneOverdose deaths are slightly less compared to 2016, but fentanyl use continues to rise AUGUSTA - Maine's rate of drug overdose deaths is keeping pace with last year. Through the first six months of 2017 the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner recorded 185 deaths attributable to drug overdose, according to Dr. Marcella Sorg of the Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center who analyzes overdose deaths for the Office of the Attorney General. Doubled, that would be 370 compared to 376 in 2016, or more than one drug overdose a day. The number of deaths represents a slight decrease from the 193 overdose deaths in the first half of 2016, which represented a 50% increase over the year before. However, the presence of fentanyl and fentanyl analogs continues to grow. Fentanyl is an illicitly manufactured drug that is many times more lethal than morphine; it caused 61% of the deaths between January and June 2017. Fentanyl is often mixed with heroin or presented to the user as heroin. Pharmaceutical opioids caused 30% of the deaths, a slight decrease from last year but still a disturbing factor in these overdose deaths. Prescription opioids and illicit opioids are often found together in a fatal cocktail of drugs. In a little over a third of opioid deaths the victims received Naloxone: 34% of all drug deaths and 38% of opioid deaths. In 2016 only 25% of all drug deaths received Naloxone. The inability to give Naloxone quickly is the most common reason why it is sometimes ineffective, but these numbers suggest that more and more first responders and families have access to it and are administering it when needed. Attorney General Janet Mills has distributed Naloxone to nearly 60 law enforcement agencies across the state, starting in June of 2016. Over 2300 doses have been distributed, with 241successful applications. "The opioid epidemic continues to devastate our communities, both rural and urban, all across Maine," Attorney General Janet T. Mills noted. "As public officials, first responders, and community leaders we must direct resources to real solutions. We must continue to work together to attack this problem, particularly with treatment, prevention and education. It is the greatest challenge of our time." "Using any of these drugs, alone or in combination, is playing with fire," Mills observed. She called for prescribers to further limit their opiate prescribing practices and for more physicians to become Suboxone prescribers. "The need is great," Mills stated, "the need is now." Attorney General Janet Mills has sponsored a series of public education TV and radio ads and has launched a website, www.doseofrealitymaine.org to share information about the safe handling and disposal of prescription painkillers, which are too often are abused and lead to addiction. OVERVIEW OF 2017, JANUARY-JUNE OVERDOSE DATA • Most (79%) drug deaths were caused by two or more drugs. The average cause of death involved 3 drugs. • The vast majority of overdoses (84%) were caused by at least one opioid, including both pharmaceutical and illicit (non-pharmaceutical) opioid drugs. • Fentanyl (and/or its analogs) caused 61% of deaths, alone or in combination with other drugs, up from 52% in 2016. • Heroin caused 22% of deaths, alone or in combination with other drugs, down from 32% in 2016. • Cocaine or cr[...]