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Maine building codes board hears testimony in support of tiny houses

Fri, 22 Sep 2017 13:10:39 EDT

AUGUSTA - Members of the public told the Maine Technical Building Codes and Standards Board at a Monday hearing that they support adopting Maine's first-ever guidelines regarding so-called tiny houses.

"This was a very positive and supportive hearing, and I want to thank the board for this chance to formally recognize tiny houses within Maine's building codes," said Berry. "By adopting these standards, Maine positions itself at the forefront of the tiny home movement and allows our in-state builders to get a head start in this growing market."

The hearing followed a ">http://legislature.maine.gov/LawMakerWeb/summary.asp?ID=280063817"> legislative effort this year from Rep. Seth Berry, D-Bowdoinham, who has long been a strong advocate for tiny houses. After submitting a bill and talking with stakeholders, Berry decided asking regulators to use their rulemaking powers instead would be faster and more effective.

Tiny houses - houses that are typically 100 to 400 square feet - have been growing in popularity in recent years as an affordable and comfortable way to live a simpler, less cluttered lifestyle while minimizing the impact to the planet. The tiny house trend promotes the idea of living simply.

Recently, there has been significant confusion about the rules for tiny homes. In Richmond, after permitting a tiny home on Main Street, the ">http://www.centralmaine.com/2016/08/14/tiny-house-in-richmond-is-home-to-bigger-life/"> town determined that it would not be able to allow additional tiny homes without changes to codes.

The board will continue to accept public comment through September 28 before issuing final recommendations.

Berry represents House District 55: Bowdoin, Bowdoinham, Swan Island, and most of Richmond. He previously served from 2006-2014, the final two years as House Majority Leader.

NOTE: The board also heard testimony on an unrelated proposal to require new one- and two-family homes to have sprinkler systems. That proposal does not affect the tiny house proposal in any way.

Contact:

Lindsay Crete [Berry], 231-1442




Eyes on the road

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 11:15:38 EDT

As the days shorten, the air gets crisper, and the Maine woods prepares for its spectacular fall foliage show, it's important to remember some key autumn road safety rules. Of course, we all need to follow Maine's traffic laws year-round, but every season brings a different set of challenges on Maine's roads.
Kids are back to school and that means more buses, pedestrians and bike traffic for drivers to be aware of. The National Safety Council's website identifies risks and recommends some tips for safely sharing the road with students and others making their way to school and back.
Tragically, most school bus involved deaths are children from 4 to 7 years old, according to the NSC. These accidents often occur when a driver attempts to pass a school bus that is picking up children or dropping them off. Never pass a bus from behind or as oncoming traffic if their lights are flashing and the side stop sign is extended. Make sure you leave at least 10 feet between your vehicle and the front of the bus when stopping. You should stay alert around young children around the road, who can be unpredictable and sometimes ignore hazards.
Another school-related hazard to watch for is children on bikes. Maine law requires bicyclists to abide by traffic laws while on the road, but children are inconsistent in their knowledge and observance of those laws. That means we, as drivers, must be sure to use extra caution while children ride their bikes to school and back home. Make sure to leave 3 feet between your vehicle and a bicycle while passing. When making a turn, allow bicyclists to cross the intersection first. This is especially important when making right turns, since bicycles are difficult to see when they approach from behind.
Of course, as we get farther into the fall season, another road hazard will present itself: leaf peepers. The fall foliage tourism season is serious business in Maine. Last fall, 10.3 million people visited Maine and spent $1.67 billion here. That's great news for Maine businesses, and we all hope that those numbers continue to go up. Our fall visitors are welcome guests and we need to be cautious on the road for everyone's safety. Especially in the fall, make sure you leave plenty of room between your vehicle and those who may be here for the dazzling foliage. Leaf peepers will often pull over to take in a special view, so be prepared to stop and avoid an accident.
Fall is also the last chance to finish road construction projects before the hard frost puts projects on hold until spring. We're in the final stretch of waiting to pass through one-lane construction zones for the year. That's plenty of time and opportunity to reflect on the importance of maintaining and improving our transportation network. We'll have an opportunity to approve $105 million in bond funding that will go toward next year's road construction season on Election Day, November 7. I hope that by approving this funding, we can start to reduce the roughly $525 each of us pays in extra vehicle repairs from driving on Maine roads every year.
If you are interested in looking at upcoming projects, you can find the complete three-year Maine DOT Work Plan online at ">http://www.maine.gov/mdot"> MaineDOT.


Rep. Maureen "Mo" Terry is serving her first term in the Maine House of Representatives. She is a chef and small business owner with more than 25 years of experience in the food service industry. She serves on the Taxation Committee.



Rep. Kumiega to speak at merger event for two local community organizations

Wed, 13 Sep 2017 13:46:08 EDT

ELLSWORTH - Rep. Walter Kumiega, D-Deer Isle, will speak at a press conference announcing the details of the merger between two local community organizations: Child and Family Opportunities and Washington Hancock Community Agency.

The press event will take place at the Child and Family Opportunities Office on 18 Avery Lane in Ellsworth on Monday, September 18 at 3:00 p.m.

In addition to his duties as a legislator, Kumiega serves as the Board Chair for Child and Family Opportunities, the Head Start grantee for Hancock County.

The merger will go into effect October 1.

Kumiega, who co-chairs the Maine Legislature's Marine Resources Committee, is serving his fourth term in the Maine House and represents the Cranberry Isles, Deer Isle, Frenchboro, Isle au Haut, North Haven, Southwest Harbor, Stonington, Swan's Island, Tremont, Vinalhaven and Marshall Island Township.

Contact:

Lindsay Crete [Kumiega], c. 231-1442



HHS Chair on Latest Update from DHHS Concerning OIG Report

Wed, 13 Sep 2017 13:41:13 EDT

AUGUSTA -- Following the release of a ">https://oig.hhs.gov/oas/reports/region1/11600001.pdf"> report published by the Office of the Inspector General of the US Department of Health and Human Services, the Joint Standing Committee on Health and Human Services sent a letter and list of questions to the Department of Health and Human Services regarding the report. On Tuesday, September 12, ">https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B5YlKJbUXaMvSEgtMm0yRy0wWkE/view"> DHHS responded to the questions.

House Chair Rep. Patty Hymanson, MD, issued the following statement:

"I am grateful that the Department and Acting Commissioner Hamilton took the time to answer our questions. However, I remain deeply concerned. The answers lack critical information explicitly requested by members of the committee and most of the answers are brief, vague, and unsatisfactory. Other than vague mentions of rule evaluations and updates, DHHS declines to outline substantive corrective action, as requested. In many instances, the answers shift blame to other agencies and cite statutory obligations, without mention of whether those obligations are adequately caring for this vulnerable population or are sufficiently responsive to the critical incidents that occurred."

"In several of the responses, the Department touted creating ‘efficiencies' without taking responsibility or providing explanation for the individuals and programs that appear to fall through the cracks. I am not yet satisfied with the response of DHHS and will be working with Senator Brakey and members of our committee to continue our critical function of oversight. We need significantly more information about the corrective action plan, specifics about steps that have or will be taken, and how we will be able to measure improvements. It is my hope and expectation that the Department will be a willing partner in this conversation."

Additional background: The report outlines significant abuses against adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities in group homes across the state. It also outlines egregious lapses in oversight and management from the Maine Department of Health and Human Services - specifically the Office of Aging and Disability Services - formerly headed by current Acting DHHS Commissioner, Ricker Hamilton. As the committee of jurisdiction over the DHHS, members have a responsibility to understand the circumstances that caused this lack of oversight and whether the report will result in a loss of federal funding.

Contact:

Mary Erin Casale | (207) 415-4965



The first session: it ain't over ‘til the fat lady sings *

Wed, 13 Sep 2017 13:33:43 EDT

The first session of the 127th Legislature just keeps going. Supposedly, we finished our work on July 4, nearly 10 days after the statutory deadline, which had been extended twice by votes of the Legislature. As you may recall, the last few days were all-nighters, consumed by stressful negotiations on the budget. The result was a bill that satisfied no one, a pretty good indication that it was a fair compromise. But there was more work to be done. The budget and some other last minute enactments had been sent to the governor on that last day. Except for the budget, which the governor signed immediately in order to end the government shut down, we would have to return after Governor LePage had the full allotted 10 days for vetoing other last minute bills.I had to cancel my flight to the west coast so I could be present to vote on August 2. Among the bills was one especially important to me, the solar bill, which would have modernized the way solar energy producers would be credited for power returned to the grid (the so-called net-metering issue). The bill would continue the current full credit, as opposed to the PUC rule set to be implemented on January 1, which, among other things, charges producers for power they generate and use, known as back of the meter billing, a result as crazy as it sounds. The bill would postpone changes to the current rule to give the PUC time to institute a system that recognized new technological realities, specifically charging more for high demand periods and less for low demand electrical use. This would benefit everyone, since it would induce consumers to use power at low peak times when power is plentiful and cheaper. Under that system, you would be charged less to run your dishwasher and washing machine at night. New meters that track time of use will be ready soon.The bill also would have made it easier to create large-scale solar installations, including community projects that would permit residents of any income level to buy shares and participate, and would also spur large business and industrial park installations.Unfortunately, we came up short a few votes. Supporters found themselves fighting arguments not about the benefits of solar (which the rest of the country and the world has no trouble understanding) but instead, fighting new arguments that seemed intended to confuse the public and give cover to wavering legislators. Solar is the future, however, and it will continue to grow in Maine with or without government reforms to ease the way. We can do it the hard way or we can make it easier. We will try again, perhaps in the second session, or certainly in the next Legislature with a new governor.The governor is also calling legislators back to a special session in late October. He wants us to consider two issues. The first is the funding of the Maine Office of Geographic Information Systems (MEGIS), which provides mapping and other data for countless applications at the local, state and federal levels in support of research, economic development and public safety. I heard from several constituents whose work depends upon this critically important information, and there is no question that MEGIS should be fully funded. In the governor's budget, the method of funding changed from service fees by state agencies to the General Fund. However, neither the governor's budget nor the final budget crafted by the Legislature and the governor included an appropriation for this work. This oversight will be corrected in the special session.The other issue raised by the governor is more contentious. It involves what supporters refer to as "food sovereignty," which allows local producers to sell directly from farms to consumers. The governor believes that with respect to livestock and poultry slaughter and processing, the federal law on food inspections pre-empts this area.Once a Special Session has been convened, legislative leaders may bring up other matters. Possible issues incl[...]



Maine to consider incorporating tiny house standards into building codes

Fri, 25 Aug 2017 14:54:05 EDT

AUGUSTA - The Maine Technical Building Codes and Standards Board has scheduled a public hearing on changes to Maine's building codes, including adopting Maine's first-ever guidelines regarding so-called tiny houses.


The hearing will take place on September 18 at 9 a.m. in the Champlain Conference Room at the Department of Public Safety on 45 Commerce Drive in Augusta. The board is accepting public comment through September 28.


The scheduled hearing follows a ">http://legislature.maine.gov/LawMakerWeb/summary.asp?ID=280063817"> legislative effort this year from Rep. Seth Berry, D-Bowdoinham, who has long been a strong advocate for tiny houses. After submitting a bill and talking with stakeholders, Berry decided asking regulators to use their rulemaking powers instead would be faster and more effective.


"Tiny homes are a great lifestyle, financial, and environmental choice for some Mainers," said Berry. "These changes to our building codes will give more of us access to this choice. They will also help several Maine small businesses accelerate their growth and create more jobs in the building trades."


Tiny houses - houses that are typically 100 to 400 square feet - have been growing in popularity in recent years as an affordable and comfortable way to live a simpler, less cluttered lifestyle while minimizing the impact to the planet. The tiny house trend promotes the idea of living simply.


Recently, there has been significant confusion about the rules for tiny homes. In Richmond, after permitting a tiny home on Main Street, the town determined that it would not be able to allow additional tiny homes without changes to codes.


Berry represents House District 55: Bowdoin, Bowdoinham, Swan Island, and most of Richmond. He previously served from 2006-2014, the final two years as House Majority Leader.
Contact:


Lindsay Crete [Berry], 231-1442



HHS Chair Requests Answers on DHHS Treatment of Developmentally Disabled Patients

Thu, 17 Aug 2017 12:36:03 EDT

AUGUSTA -- A ">https://oig.hhs.gov/oas/reports/region1/11600001.pdf"> recent report published by the Office of the Inspector General of the US Department of Health and Human Services prompted frustration and outrage from members of the Maine Legislature's Health and Human Services Committee. The report outlines significant abuses against adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities in group homes across the state. It also outlines egregious lapses in oversight and management from the Maine Department of Health and Human Services - specifically the Office of Aging and Disability Services - formerly headed by current Acting DHHS Commissioner, Ricker Hamilton.

As the committee of jurisdiction over the DHHS, members have a responsibility to understand what circumstances caused this lack of oversight and whether the report will result in a loss of federal funding. The committee will be submitting questions in writing to the DHHS and will take further actions as necessary.

Health and Human Services Chair Rep. Patty Hymanson, MD issued the following statement:

"I am very troubled by the Inspector General's report. The fact that so many incidents of concern, including untimely and unexplained deaths, went unreported, uninvestigated, and lacked response from the Maine's Department of Health and Human Services is atrocious. The Committee on Health and Human Services will be working with the Department to better understand how these incidents were allowed to happen without investigation, what will be done in the future to bring justice to these patients and their families, and significantly improve oversight of group homes."

Contact:

Mary Erin Casale | (207) 415-4965




Maine House wraps up work for the year

Thu, 17 Aug 2017 12:26:28 EDT

AUGUSTA -- Measures to invest in education, support small business, increase consumer protections and strengthen environmental stewardship marked the first regular session of the 128th Legislature that wrapped up for the year on August 2. Lawmakers also dealt with a number of issues as a result of the referenda passed in the 2016 election. Democratic and Republican lawmakers worked collaboratively to accomplish many of these key goals despite obstruction by Gov. Paul LePage and his allies in the House. “We made great strides to help improve the lives of Maine families,” said Speaker of the House Sara Gideon.  “Lawmakers came together to do right by our citizens, even in a time of divided government.  We made smart, targeted investments to grow our economy and increase prosperity for Maine families.  And most importantly, we capitalized on our most important resource - Maine people, investing in lifting children out of poverty and ensuring that they have access to the excellent education, from early childhood through higher ed, that will position them and all of us for a successful future.” Lawmakers considered approximately 1,650 bills this session, with 350 bills becoming law. Democrats, Republicans and unenrolled members came together to override 55 of 128 Gov. LePage vetoes. “My constituents in Waldo County and voters across our state expect us to work with everyone, regardless of their political party, to make life better for all of our families, “ said Rep. Erin Herbig, D-Belfast, House Majority Leader. “This session Democrats, Republicans and Independents came together to empower rural Maine turnaround, strengthen our economy and support working families. I’m proud of the work we accomplished together.” Democrats rejected measures to roll back women’s rights, worker’s rights, and voting rights, while fighting to harness clean, renewable energy and safeguard our environment. “While politics as usual in DC might mean gridlock, this session we proved that Maine knows how to get things done, “ said Assistant Majority Leader Jared Golden. “From strengthening health care services for first responders and veterans to investing in our kids and communities through better education funding statewide, we worked hard this session and achieved real progress for all Mainers. “ The Legislature will reconvene for the Second Regular Session of the 128th Legislature in January 2018.    Key New Laws from the First Regular Session of the 128th Legislature Measures sponsored by House Democratic members and unenrolled members who caucus with Democrats: Public Safety An Act To Allow Hunters Whose Religion Prohibits Wearing Hunter Orange Clothing To Instead Wear Red An Act To Require State Compliance with Federal REAL ID Guidelines An Act To Delay the Implementation of Certain Portions of the Marijuana Legalization Act An Act to Combat Human Trafficking by Requiring Prevention Training for Commercial Drivers Education An Act To Improve Safety and Traffic Efficiency near School Grounds An Act To Revise Certification Statutes for Educational Personnel An Act To Protect Students from Identity Theft An Act To Provide Youth Mental Health First Aid Training to Secondary School Health Educators Resolve, To Establish the Task Force To Identify Special Education Cost Drivers and Innovative Approaches to Services Economy and Small Business An Act To Provide Support for Sustainable Economic Development in Rural Maine An Act To Extend the Legal Hours for Harvesting Lobster An Act To Support Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Maine's Economic Fu[...]



Wrapping up the first session of the 128th Legislature

Fri, 11 Aug 2017 15:26:19 EDT

The Maine Legislature has adjourned for the session. It was a busy and productive year with many victories and also some disappointments. One of the greatest challenges of this session was passing a balanced biennial budget. The process was contentious at best and did not go as planned, but ultimately we passed a budget that we can all be proud of. One of the major accomplishments of the budget was securing a record amount of education funding. This means that our school district, RSU 14, will get $664,219.42 more in school funding than what was proposed in the governor's original budget. This direct benefit will be seen by all Windham property taxpayers, our students and classrooms.Other highlights of the budget include rejecting the governor's proposed elimination of the Homestead Exemption for most families. By ensuring the Homestead Exemption stays in place we continue to provide more relief to Windham property taxpayers. The budget also secures $14.25 million in additional funding for the direct care workforce which serves seniors and Mainers with disabilities, rejects cuts to reimbursement rates for Critical Access Hospitals and establishes a moratorium on reimbursement rate cuts for behavioral healthcare services. In the Legislature, we recognize the great service our veterans have done for this country and our state. To that end, we have worked hard to pass legislation that supports our veterans and service men and women. Currently, there is no inpatient mental health care in Maine specifically for veterans. Those requiring care through the Department of Veterans Affairs, or VA, are sent out of state. Of the roughly 30,000 veterans in Maine who don't use VA health care services, it is estimated that more than 10,000 are in need of mental health services.This year, we passed a bill that will gather data on mental health admissions to determine if the person seeking help is a veteran and whether they qualify for veteran's services. It also sets up a pilot program to provide case management for veterans requiring mental health care. We also passed a bill to help veterans use their military training to transition to the civilian workforce. This law grants the director of the Office of Professional and Occupational Regulation the authority to modify licensing requirements of professional licensing boards for veterans on a case-by-case basis.Many areas in Maine still lack access to broadband. While legislation to expand broadband in Maine has been carried over until next year, we were able to pass a bill to keep access to high-speed internet at Maine schools and libraries. The law protects the Maine School and Library Network by simplifying and modernizing its funding structure.I was especially proud of the work we did to pass two bills important to our firefighters and first responders. The first ends the sale of furniture containing fire retardant chemicals. Flame retardant chemicals have not been shown to be effective at preventing or slowing down house fires and instead are dangerous chemicals that can make house fires more hazardous to firefighters and anyone else caught in the fire. The second bill will ensure emergency responders get the help they need when diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD. The new law says that, due to the nature of emergency response work, if PTSD is diagnosed in one of these professionals, it can be presumed that the diagnosis is work-related, which means the diagnosis qualifies under workers' compensation.It continues to be an honor to serve as your state representative. If you have any questions about the work we've done in the Legislature or anything regarding state government, please feel free to write to me at 166 Albion Road in Windham, call me at 892-6591 or email anytime at Rep. Mark Bryant. Rep. Mark Bryant serves in the Maine House and represen[...]



Rep. Blume joins legislators from 36 states to work on bipartisan solutions to environmental challenges

Fri, 11 Aug 2017 15:21:41 EDT

CAMBRIDGE, MA - Rep. Lydia Blume, D-York, joined 128 state legislators from 36 states at the 2017 National Issues Forum organized by the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators last week. The event offered opportunities for attendees to collaborate on policy solutions to combat climate change, remove toxins from drinking water and consumer products, and conserve water, public lands, and endangered species."Serious environmental issues, such as sea level rise, ocean acidification, environmental toxins and habitat restoration are not unique to Maine," said Blume. "Meetings like this are an excellent way to share ideas and tested solutions."The forum agenda featured a keynote address from former EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, who spoke about the ability of states to innovate and create environmental models for the federal government to adopt. Former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger also keynoted the event. He highlighted the fact that states had already passed legislation that proves it is possible to simultaneously protect the environment and support economic growth, and noted that such efforts are now more important than ever. Schwarzenegger underscored the need for bipartisanship cooperation and state and local action on climate and the environment."I don't see the environment as a political issue. There is no Republican air or Democratic air, we all breathe the same air. There is no Republican water or Democratic water, we all drink the same water, so let's work together on this," he said. "States, provinces, cities, and neighborhoods have tremendous power, and we should wield that power… This is why it's so important that we fill the vacuum - where the federal government has fallen short, we are going to step in and we are going to do the work."Schwarzenegger also introduced the http://envirolaws.org/"> Digital Environmental Legislative Handbook (envirolaws.org), a joint project between NCEL and the Schwarzenegger Institute for State and Global Policy at the University of Southern California. The online resource is a searchable database of impactful environmental legislation to support legislators on issues including climate change, air quality, human health, energy efficiency and renewable energy. The handbook is in its first phase and is designed to grow as legislators submit their suggestions and more issue topics are added. Some of the most impactful policies featured in the handbook are authored by former California State Senator Fran Pavley, who helped introduce the handbook at the forum and was recognized by Schwarzenegger and the NCEL Board of Directors for crafting a far-reaching array of environmental policies that had been replicated in other states.NCEL Executive Director Jeff Mauk believes that there is an appetite for state action on environmental issues unlike anything he has seen before, especially in the wake of President Trump's withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement."Regardless of what's happening in Washington, America will continue its leadership on combatting climate change because of the great work of states and cities," said Mauk. "State legislators from both parties know that reducing carbon pollution and eliminating toxins are good for the economy and for the health of their constituents. We are excited to partner with the Schwarzenegger Institute to provide more tools for state legislators working on environmental policies in their states.""Finding out about what has worked and what hasn't in other places, both in terms of specific legislation and overall strategies, saves a lot of time and effort," Blume said.Blume is serving her second term in the Maine House and represents the coastal section of York. She serves on the Legislature's Marine Resources Committee.Contact:Lindsay Crete [Blume], c. 231-1442[...]



Golden's veteran mental health access bill becomes law

Wed, 02 Aug 2017 16:22:20 EDT

AUGUSTA - A bill sponsored by Assistant Majority Leader Jared Golden, D-Lewiston, to help veterans get access to mental health care became law today.


"This law will cover the cost of inpatient and outpatient mental health care for veterans, help cut dangerous wait times for veterans in crisis and gather data about the number of veterans who need care," Golden said. "One of the goals of this new law is to use this data to help the state demonstrate to Washington the need for Department of Veterans Affairs inpatient beds here in Maine."


Of the roughly 30,000 veterans in Maine who don't use Department of Veterans Affairs, or VA, health care services, it is estimated that more than 10,000 are in need of mental health services.


The bill, ">http://legislature.maine.gov/LawMakerWeb/summary.asp?ID=280064391"> LD 1231, will gather data on mental health admissions to determine if the person seeking help is a veteran and whether they qualify for veteran's services. It also sets up a pilot program to provide case management for veterans requiring mental health care. Golden's floor speech on the measure is available ">https://www.facebook.com/MaineHouseDemocrats/videos/10155407155208058/"> here.


There are currently no inpatient mental health care beds in Maine specifically for veterans. Those requiring care through the VA are sent out of state.


"It's unacceptable that we don't have long-term inpatient mental health care options for veterans in Maine," said Golden. "We need to push the VA to fix this so that our veterans don't have to go out of state for the care they need."


The bill will go into effect immediately as an emergency measure that received the support of more than two-thirds of the Legislature.


Golden is a Marine Corps veteran of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq where he served as an Infantry Assaultman. He is serving his second term in the Maine House and represents part of the city of Lewiston. He is the Assistant House Majority Leader.


Contact:


Lindsay Crete [Golden], cell 231-1442



Golden's bill to help emergency responders get help for PTSD signed by governor

Tue, 01 Aug 2017 14:18:50 EDT

AUGUSTA - A bill sponsored by Assistant House Majority Leader Jared Golden, D-Lewiston, to help emergency responders get the help they need when diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder was signed into law Monday by Gov. Paul LePage.


"Law enforcement officers, firefighters and emergency medical personnel put their lives on the line to protect and serve us and in doing so they are frequently confronted with tough experiences that many of us will never have to go through," said Golden. "These men and women always have our backs and we should have theirs. Making it easier to access assistance for PTSD is one way we can do that and I'm very pleased that the Governor agrees and signed this bill into law."


This bill, ">http://legislature.maine.gov/LawMakerWeb/summary.asp?ID=280063759"> LD 848, sets out a presumption that, due to the nature of emergency response work, if Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is diagnosed in one of these professionals, it can be presumed that the diagnosis is work-related. This means the diagnosis qualifies under workers' compensation.


Golden is serving his second term in the Maine House and represents part of the city of Lewiston. He is the Assistant House Majority Leader.


Contact:


Lindsay Crete [Golden], cell 231-1442



Riley Statement on Verso Mill Machine Closure

Wed, 19 Jul 2017 15:24:23 EDT

In response to Verso paper mill's decision to permanently close its No.3 paper machine on Wednesday, local state representative Tina Riley released the following statement:
"I'm deeply disappointed that the mill has made this difficult decision," said Rep. Tina Riley, D-Jay. "I remain concerned for Verso's workers, both the 120 members of our community who had hoped to return to their jobs and the hundreds that remain employed at the mill. I will continue to do everything I can to protect and create good-paying jobs in Jay and across our state so no family has to struggle to make ends meet."


The No.3 paper machine located at Verso's Androscoggin mill has been idle since January, reducing annual paper production by approximately 200,000 tons. The permanent shutdown will result in the layoff of 120 employees.


Contact:


Lindsay Crete [Riley], 231-1442



McCreight's youth mental health first aid bill becomes law

Tue, 18 Jul 2017 14:36:03 EDT

AUGUSTA - A bill to ensure health educators in secondary schools receive youth mental health first aid training became law Wednesday without the Governor's signature.


"I appreciate the bipartisan support this bill has received," said Rep. Jay McCreight, D-Harpswell, the bill's sponsor. "It makes sense to make sure our secondary school health teachers, who are already teaching a mental health curriculum, have access to training that provides them with the most up-to-date, non-judgmental information about mental health and substance use disorders."


Youth Mental Health First Aid, or YMHFA, is a national and best practice, evidence-based certification course that empowers people with the information they need to recognize, respond to and have the information to guide someone with mental health needs to the appropriate help. The standards for the program have been set by the National Council for Behavioral Health and target youth ages 12 to 18.


Providing training in Youth Mental Health First Aid for educators who teach health education to secondary school students would ensure that they have access to accurate, stigma-free information about what mental illness is and what resources and supports are available locally.


During the public hearing, McCreight cited data from the Maine Integrated Youth Health Survey, the annual self-report tool used in public schools to track trends in student behaviors and functioning.


"Only 22 percent of Maine youth report having support from an adult," said McCreight. "However, one proven way to help youth who are struggling with mental health issues is a relationship with at least one adult who understands what mental illness really is and who can provide adequate support that connects them with help."


Funding for YMHFA training would be available through Now Is The Time federal grant monies through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration administered by Maine's Public Health Regional System, Project Aware grant. The grant would provide for trainers, materials, payment for substitute teachers and subsidies for teachers who do the training on their own time. National Alliance on Mental Illness, Maine is currently receiving funding through the federal grant until 2018 and has already trained 105 health educators of the estimated 380 health educators statewide.


"The goal of ">http://www.mainelegislature.org/legis/bills/getPDF.asp?paper=HP0929&item=1&snum=128"> LD 1335 is to make sure that every health educator in our secondary schools, and all of their students, have access to the benefits gained by this training," said McCreight.


McCreight, a member of the Legislature's Judiciary and Taxation Committees, is serving her second term in the Maine House and represents Harpswell, West Bath and part of Brunswick. She is also the House chair of the Task Force to Address the Opiate Crisis.


Contact:


Lindsay Crete [McCreight], c. 231-1442



Colorado Marijuana Czar Testifies before Maine Committee on Implementation

Tue, 18 Jul 2017 14:10:27 EDT

AUGUSTA - Andrew Freedmen, Colorado's "Marijuana Czar" testified today before Maine's Joint Standing Committee on Marijuana Legalization and Implementation.


"We are very fortunate to have someone with the unique background of Mr. Freedmen here before us today," said Rep Pierce, the House Chair of the committee. "We are committed to passing legislation that successfully integrates the legalization of marijuana into Maine law while ensuring the safety of our citizens."


Freedmen, who has been described as the most knowledgeable person in the United States in terms of creating a regulatory framework for recreational marijuana, is charged with the efficient and effective regulation of Colorado's recreational and medical marijuana industry while promoting public health and maintaining public safety.


He was invited to share his expertise as the committee prepares to pass legislation to fully integrate legalized marijuana into Maine statute in the wake of a citizen's referendum approved by voters last fall.


"I'm pleased to offer any assistance that my experience can provide to the Committee on Implementation here in Maine based on my work as the Director of Marijuana Coordination in Colorado" said Freedmen Co-Founder of Freedmen and Koski Inc.


Rep. Teresa Pierce is a resident of Falmouth, which she represents in the Maine State House. She is serving her second term in the Maine House. She serves on the Legislature's Education Committee and Chairs the Joint Select Committee on Marijuana Legalization and Implementation.


Contact:


Lindsay Crete [Pierce], 231-1442