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Rep. Fay's bill to allow emergency treatment for working K-9s approved by Legislative Council

Wed, 15 Nov 2017 14:40:45 EST

AUGUSTA -Among the bills that the Legislature will consider in the upcoming session is "An Act to Protect Working and Service Animals," sponsored by Rep. Jessica Fay, D-Raymond.
Under current law, if a police dog is injured or exposed to drugs, an on-duty EMT is prohibited from stabilizing the animal before transport to an emergency clinic. If approved, the bill would extend Good Samaritan liability protection to cover trained first responders who treat working and service animals in emergency situations.
"I am pleased that the Legislative Council voted to let this bill be heard by the whole Legislature next year," said Fay. "It was a privilege to present this on behalf of my constituent, Officer Cole, who is a police canine handler. Many K9 handlers have stepped up to say this bill will address concerns they have about availability of emergency treatment for their dogs in the field."
During even-numbered years, the Legislature generally limits bill submissions to those that address emergencies and other pressing situations. The Legislative Council, which is made up of each party's leaders in the Maine House and Senate, decides which bills fit the criteria. The Legislative Council approved only 63 bills out of the 268 proposed when they met Thursday.
The bill will be heard when the Legislature meets again in January.
Fay is serving her first term in the Maine Legislature and represents part of Casco, part of Poland and part of Raymond. She serves on the Legislature's Environment and Natural Resources Committee.


Contact:


Lindsay Crete [Fay], c. 231-1442



Sanborn's bill to allow a self-driving bus pilot project in Portland moves forward

Wed, 15 Nov 2017 14:37:24 EST

AUGUSTA - Rep. Heather Sanborn's bill to allow Maine cities and towns to develop a pilot project to test self-driving public transportation vehicles earned the green light from the Legislative Council Thursday.
The 6-4 vote means the full Legislature will consider Sanborn's bill, LR 2611, during the Second Session of the 128th Legislature, which begins in early January.
"Technological innovation moves fast and often our laws are too slow to catch up," said Sanborn. "I'm thrilled that the proposal to allow municipal pilot projects using fully autonomous transit vehicles has cleared its first hurdle."


The city of Portland is considering a pilot project using a 13-by-7-foot bus, called Olli. This electric shuttle, powered by IBM's Watson artificial intelligence system, is guided by advanced sensors, cameras, and GPS that allow it to drive safely through city streets. The bus has a top speed of 25 miles per hour and a range of just over 32 miles. Sanborn's bill would allow municipalities to test out the use of self-driving mini buses that could be used to make our public transit system more efficient and more accessible.
The Olli buses are capable of interacting with passengers, including those with disabilities, through various outlets. It also has the ability to use American Sign Language to communicate with the deaf and hearing impaired community.
Currently, there is no law that explicitly prohibits self-driving vehicles in Maine, but there are many regulations that require a driver to be in place behind a steering wheel with the ability assume control of the vehicle if needed. Olli buses do not have a steering wheel.
"By focusing only on public transit vehicles on a pilot project scale, this bill would allow us to wade cautiously into the area of self-driving vehicles without having to solve all of the regulatory questions that might arise around self-driving passenger cars," Sanborn said.
Should her bill pass, Sanborn hopes to work with Portland to launch the state's first Olli pilot project there.
"We are grateful for Rep. Sanborn's leadership on this cutting edge issue," said Portland City Manager, Jon Jennings. "This bill would allow Portland to prepare for and test how best to leverage this technology to meet our city's transportation needs."


During even-numbered years, the Legislature generally limits bill submissions to those that address emergencies and other pressing situations. The Legislative Council, which is made up of each party's leaders in the Maine House and Senate, decides which bills fit the criteria.


The Legislative Council has so far approved only 63 bills out of the 268 that were submitted.


Sanborn, a member of the Energy, Utilities and Technology Committee and the Insurance and Financial Services Committee, is serving her first term in the Maine House. Her district includes the North Deering neighborhood of Portland and part of Falmouth. Contact:


Lindsay Crete [Sanborn] c. 231-1442



Welcome to Windham, MaineFirst Co-op

Wed, 15 Nov 2017 14:32:04 EST

I am always proud to live in and serve Windham. We are an innovative community that takes care of one another. That is why I am so thrilled to announce the creation of a new program in our amazing town. MaineFirst Co-op is an initiative that will generate new jobs, grow agriculture in our state and, most importantly, support our veterans.


This collaborative effort was made possible by the United Farmer Veterans of Maine and North Star Sheep Farm of Windham. Together, they worked hard to make this co-op a reality.


The co-op will be the future home of several for-profit business start-ups owned by at least 600 veterans from Maine. The co-op has already purchased the Windham Butcher Shop, which will be a huge asset as MaineFirst develops and grows.


I can't think of anything better than a group that is dedicated to strengthening Maine's economy and growing our agricultural sector, while assisting our veterans.


One of the goals of this co-op is to keep businesses in Maine. Currently, some farms have to ship their meat out of the state to be processed. The co-op will encourage local farmers and businesses to work with one another right here in Maine.


I was pleased to be invited to the unveiling event where the United Farmer Veterans of Maine and North Star Sheep Farm outlined what MaineFirst Co-op will do for the servicemen and women who have served our state. It was exciting to hear about all the great ideas they have and the benefits it will have for Maine.


Our veterans have put their lives on the line for us, fighting for and defending our great country, and this organization is a positive way to give back to those who have served.


According to the United Farmer Veterans of Maine, Maine is home to the fastest growing local food movement and home of the youngest new farmers in America. Maine also has one of the highest numbers of veterans per capita in America. This co-op is a unique opportunity to capitalize on that growth and to encourage more veterans to return home or move to our state.


Farming and agriculture is a critical sector in our state. In fact, the industry has a $1.2 billion impact on Maine's economy. By attracting more families and businesses, we can help the industry to grow even more.


From 2007 to 2012, Maine was one of 19 states to see increased farmland and we now have over 1.35 million acres of farm land. And, according to the Maine Farm Bureau, 61 percent of farms are less than 99 acres and 84.8 percent are individually owned. This means that we have a lot of small, local farmers contributing to our economy.


With the creation of MaineFirst Co-op, we have the opportunity for new farmers to startup businesses and to create more jobs in this state.


I am so proud that it has started in my hometown of Windham. Welcome, MaineFirst Co-op!


It is an honor to continue to serve as your state representative. As always, please feel free to send me a letter 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 represents part of Windham. He serves on the Committee on State and Local Government and the Committee on Transportation.



House Republicans Block Bipartisan Marijuana Legislation

Wed, 15 Nov 2017 14:24:03 EST

AUGUSTA | The Maine House of Representatives failed to override Governor LePage's veto of landmark cannabis legislation that would have safely and responsibly implemented the state's newly passed recreational marijuana referendum during a special legislative session Monday. While the bill originally passed by strong margins, it failed to reach the two-thirds support needed to survive a Governor LePage's veto (74-62) due to the majority of House Republicans opposing the measure. "This was our chance to do our job, to protect the people of Maine and create this new industry. I'm deeply disappointed that this legislation, which was written after six months of work by Democratic, Republican and Independent lawmakers, was successfully derailed by a small group of people," said Representative Teresa Pierce (D-Falmouth), House chair of the Legislature's Marijuana Legalization Implementation Committee. "It didn't matter how thoughtful this legislation was, certain individuals were set on a predetermined outcome of slowing down this process because they didn't like the outcome of the referendum. While we received strong bipartisan support, those who voted against this bill voted to ignore public safety concerns, abandon law enforcement officers who asked for more guidance, and ease the path to underage marijuana access in Maine. I sincerely hope the people of Maine voice their opinion on today's vote to their representatives before we return to the Legislature in January." "I've been advocating for safe, responsible and legal recreational marijuana ever since for as long as I've been in public service - first as the sheriff of Cumberland County, then as a member of the House of Representatives and now as a state senator," said Sen. Mark Dion (D-Portland), member of the MLI Committee. The governor's veto is the latest in a long line of setbacks, but we remain closer than ever before to enacting reasonable drug policy reforms to end the system of black-market profits and needless incarceration. We will continue our work, knowing the people of Maine are on our side. It's only a matter of time before the voters' will is fulfilled."LD 1650 https://legislature.maine.gov/LawMakerWeb/summary.asp?ID=280066919"> An Act To Amend the Marijuana Legalization Act originally passed the House by a vote of https://legislature.maine.gov/LawMakerWeb/summary.asp?ID=280066919"> 84-52.The failure to pass LD 1650 ensures the original referendum takes effect as written, preventing critical safety measures and blocking stronger local control for municipalities that were established by the new bill. LD 1650 was drafted by a 17-member bipartisan committee established by the legislature and received a 15-2 vote in committee. The group held hours of public hearings, utilized expert testimony and engaged stakeholders affected by the existing law. LD 1650 established a clear regulatory framework for adult-use recreational marijuana. Key provisions of the bill included protections against use by minors by banning marketing practices that targeted underage Mainers, provided funding for youth prevention and public safety campaigns, and established stronger guidance for members of law enforcement. LD 1650 established an opt-in for local municipalities to preserve community autonomy in entering the new industry. It also provided answers to questions left by the original referendum.The referendum includes less clarity and direction in relation to law enforcement and contains fewer safeguards around youth prevention.The referendum also allows for the possibility of marijuana drive-up windows, internet sales and home deliveries, all of which were banned by LD 1650. The Marijuana Legalization Implementation committee will continue to meet to determine legislation moving forward.Contact:Lindsay Crete [Pierce] 231-1442[...]



Windstorm aftermath

Thu, 09 Nov 2017 13:47:14 EST

I hope that everyone is warm, safe and recovering from the aftermath of the terrible windstorm we had recently.


I want to extend my deepest thanks to the line workers who operated tirelessly around the clock to ensure that our power came back on and that the downed lines were cleared, making our roads safe.


I also want to thank the town of Windham for opening up Windham High School as a place to shower, charge your phone and get warm. I am so thankful to live in such a caring community.


If you are still in need of assistance, do not hesitate to contact me. Please feel free to send me a letter at 166 Albion Road in Windham, call me at 892-6591 or email anytime at Rep. Mark Bryant.

Sincerely,


Mark Bryant
State Representative



Storm

Thu, 09 Nov 2017 11:54:18 EST

Mainers owe a debt of gratitude to all the line workers who have spent the last week plus pulling round-the-clock shifts to restore power to our homes.


These professionals took time away from their families to clear out dangerous electrical hazards, ensuring that all of us could be safe and go on with our lives.


Thanks also to MSAD 75 for opening the high school as a shelter and a place for hot showers. Thank you as well to Legion Post 202 for providing free hot meals and a place to get warm.


So if you see a line worker, a first responder, a volunteer or anyone else who was out there helping, please thank them for getting us all through a storm that caused more outages than the 1998 ice storm.
Sincerely,


Denise Tepler
State Representative



Planning for the effects of a changing climate along Maine's coast

Thu, 09 Nov 2017 11:50:13 EST

I have sponsored a bill, LD 1095, "An Act to Establish the Maine Coastal Risks and Hazards Commission," that the Legislature's Environment and Natural Resource Committee will work on when lawmakers reconvene in January. The bill proposes a commission to examine the risks that hazards such as storm surge, sea-level rise and extreme precipitation pose to municipalities and state assets in Maine. This commission will ultimately be able to recommend legislation, rules and other actions to help the state and coastal communities prepare for these conditions. Prioritizing and preparing for coastal hazards will ultimately save lives, money, infrastructure and the natural resources that are critical to maintaining our valued industries and quality of life on the coast of Maine.My proposed bill builds upon and adapts the model successfully used by New Hampshire. They set up a commission consisting of a wide array of stakeholders and experts to assess the coastal risks and hazards brought about by the changing climate. Their efforts resulted in an invaluable summary and detailed recommendation report. The report, released in March of 2016, has had a real impact in New Hampshire. The findings and the recommendations have significantly increased the knowledge base of coastal risks and hazards in New Hampshire, while concurrently generating buy-in on proposed recommendations across the multiple sectors represented on the Commission.Many of the Commission's recommendations have already passed in New Hampshire, while more are working their way through the system. There are also municipal grant projects underway focused on implementing the Commission's recommendations. The fruits of the Commission's labor are paying off, and the State of New Hampshire is better prepared and more resilient for it.Of course, New Hampshire has only 18 miles of coastline. Maine's coastline is far longer and of greater economic importance. Additionally, we have a much more varied coastline. Individual organizations and communities have recognized the need for planning for changes. We have lots of small coastal studies, and a great deal of data, information and planning resources generated through many state and federal agencies and other sources. There has been some good work done by some coastal towns. Overall, however, we have an uncoordinated patchwork of resilience along our 5,000 miles of coastline, and we are leaving ourselves vulnerable.A recent meeting with municipalities showed that a regional approach to preparedness would be very helpful. The commission called for in my bill will be able to take a regional or even a statewide coordinated approach and bring together all the disparate information and resources available. This will provide us with necessary guidance, coordination, direction and best practices to help all our coastal communities be more resilient to these hazards.The proposed commission will have a broad-based membership of municipalities, state agencies, regional planners, legislators and coastal stakeholders (such as tourism, fisheries, and insurance and real estate interests) that an interagency or departmental study does not necessarily include. It is important to give all pertinent interested parties a seat at the table and incorporate their many perspectives to bring consensus.I am very excited about the possibilities this bill presents, and I look forward to working with all concerned to make sure it passes. We can't afford to wait any longer to develop the sort of comprehensive look at the hazards we face and the means we have at our disposal to face them. Preparing for the increased likelihood of coastal hazards is an investment we need to make. It is an investment that will protect Maine's vibrant coastal economy. Blume is serving her second term in the House and represents the coastal part of York. She serves on the Legislature's Marine Resources Committee an[...]



Windstorm

Thu, 09 Nov 2017 11:43:10 EST

I want to thank everyone who has worked so hard to help our community through the aftermath of the recent windstorm that left so many without power.


In the face of days without heat, lights and, for many of us, running water, neighbors looked after each other and helped however they could. The Winslow Public Library, the high school and others opened their doors for residents to charge cell phones, use the internet, and have a hot shower or a square meal.


I especially want to thank the line workers, who have been away from their own homes around the clock to clear downed lines and restore electricity, and the first responders who acted to keep residents safe.


If you are still in need of assistance, please don't hesitate to contact me at 873-2025 or Rep. Catherine Nadeau. As always, I am glad to hear from you on any topic.


Catherine Nadeau
State Representative



House Democratic Leaders Herbig and Golden Statements

Wed, 08 Nov 2017 15:28:55 EST

AUGUSTA - Late Tuesday night, Maine voters resoundingly approved the expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. This citizens' initiative will require state government to provide Medicaid through MaineCare for persons under the age of 65 and with incomes equal to or below 138 percent of the official poverty line. Maine is the first in the nation to settle the issue by referendum.


Despite this decisive victory, Governor Paul LePage and House Minority Leader Ken Fredette have already ">http://stateandcapitol.bangordailynews.com/2017/11/08/lepage-erects-high-hurdles-for-medicaid-expansion-after-maines-historic-vote/"> pledged to obstruct the results of the election and erect barriers to implementation.


House Majority Leader Erin Herbig Statement:


"At a time when healthcare costs continue to be an insurmountable barrier for too many families and small businesses who love Maine and want to stay here, Maine voters once again had each other's backs by voting to expand Medicaid and provide affordable healthcare access for everyone in our state."


"Last night, the people of Maine accomplished what we've been fighting for the past five years and sent a clear message to elected officials across our country: support affordable healthcare access for all or we will decide for you."


Assistant Majority Leader Jared Golden Statement:


"Mainers don't leave each other behind. Despite any efforts by Governor LePage and his allies, we will not abandon the families who, for too long, have had to choose between putting food on the table or paying for needed medical care."


"Access to affordable healthcare is a basic promise to Maine and we moved towards fulfilling it last night. Every representative who continues to oppose that right should know they're on notice by the people of Maine."br />

Contact:


Lindsay Crete [Herbig, Golden] c. 231-1442



Rep. Handy named as chair of Maine's bicentennial commission

Mon, 06 Nov 2017 16:36:00 EST

AUGUSTA - State Rep. Jim Handy, D-Lewiston, has been appointed House chair of the Maine Bicentennial Commission.


The commission was created by the passage of Handy's bill, LD 1143. The new law created a 22-member commission that will bring together educational, cultural and business interests to plan for the 200th anniversary of Maine becoming a state.


"We want all Maine communities to join in the celebration of our statehood. The diverse membership of the commission will explore themes in Maine history and heritage with an eye to the future of what Maine can be," said Handy.


Rep. Handy is serving his sixth non-consecutive term in the Maine House. He has also previously served Lewiston in the Maine Senate and 18 consecutive years on the Lewiston School Committee. He is on the board of directors at Literacy Volunteers-Androscoggin and SeniorsPlus.


Contact:


Lindsay Crete [Handy] 231-1442



MLI Co-Chair Statement on Governor's Veto of Bipartisan Marijuana Legislation

Mon, 06 Nov 2017 09:33:43 EST

AUGUSTA - In response to Governor LePage's decision to veto LD 1650, ‘An Act to Amend the Marijuana Legalization Act, Rep. Teresa Pierce (D-Falmouth) issued the following statement:


"I'm disappointed by Governor LePage's decision to veto this bipartisan, commonsense legislation. This bill was written after six months of work by Democratic, Republican and Independent lawmakers, and succeeded in creating critical safety measures and strengthening local control as we move to implement the will of Maine's voters.


"I'm cautiously optimistic that we will have the votes to override this veto. If not, we risk major public safety concerns, abandon law enforcement officers who asked for more guidance, and ease the path to underage marijuana access in Maine. I urge my colleagues to override this veto and establish a much needed regulatory framework - anything less would be irresponsible."


Contact:


Mary Erin Casale (207)415-4965



Legislature will consider Handy's bill to restore school based health clinics

Wed, 01 Nov 2017 14:30:46 EDT

AUGUSTA - Among the bills that the Legislature will consider in the upcoming session is "An Act To Restore Maine's School-based Health Centers," submitted by Rep. Jim Handy, D-Lewiston. If successful, the bill would restore the 15 school based health clinics that lost funding in July. Four of the affected clinics are based in Lewiston and Auburn.


"These clinics provide a vital service to the kids in their communities," said Handy. "I am going to fight to make sure we reverse this cut. Balancing a budget on the backs of our kids is not acceptable."


The bulk of funding for the clinics was provided through the Fund for a Healthy Maine as well as federal matching dollars through the Maternal Child Health Services Block Grant. In his biennial budget proposal, Governor LePage eliminated funding for FHM. Democrats pushed to restore $10 million to the fund but were only able to secure $5 million in the final budget. The Department of Health and Human Services, which controls the fund, notified the clinics that they would lose FHM funding as a result of those cuts. The loss of FHM dollars also eliminated the matching block grant funds.


During even-numbered years, the Legislature generally limits bill submissions to those that address emergencies and other pressing situations. The Legislative Council, which is made up of each party's leaders in the Maine House and Senate, decides which bills fit the criteria.


In a vote of 6-4, the Legislative Council voted to approve Handy's bill request to be heard during the Second Session of the 128th Legislature. The council approved 63 bills out of the 268 that were considered on Wednesday.


Rep. Handy is serving his sixth non-consecutive term in the Maine House. He has also previously served Lewiston in the Maine Senate and 18 consecutive years on the Lewiston School Committee. He is on the board of directors at Literacy Volunteers-Androscoggin and SeniorsPlus.


Contact:


Lindsay Crete [Handy], cell 231-1442



GOP Forces Delay of Ranked Choice Voting

Thu, 26 Oct 2017 14:55:18 EDT

AUGUSTA - Today, the Maine House of Representatives passed an amended version of LD 1646: An Act To Bring Maine's Ranked-Choice Voting Law into Constitutional Compliance. After an advisory opinion from the Maine Supreme Court found pieces of the original referendum unconstitutional, the Legislature was tasked with crafting a solution or facing uncertainty in all electoral results. The amended law will delay implementation of the ranked choice voting system until December 2021. If the Legislature is unable to fix the law's constitutional issues before then, it would be automatically repealed.


Speaker Sara Gideon released the following statement: "Mainers asked for election reform and it is our responsibility to enact that law, while also upholding our constitutional duty as legislators. That is why Democrats have always supported finding a solution that will allow for full implementation of ranked choice voting. In fact, every single Democratic member of the House voted to amend the constitution months ago and bring it in line with the will of Maine people. Unfortunately, the Maine Republican Party's unrelenting opposition to these referendum results made it utterly impossible to pass."


"Today's bill keeps in place important portions of the referendum. And I personally hope that in the coming years, a future legislature and a new governor will implement ranked choice voting in a manner that fully complies with the constitution. Until that day, Democrats vow to continue to fight to pass a constitutional amendment and finally give Mainers the electoral reform they want."


BACKGROUND:
In May, the Maine Supreme Judicial court issued an advisory opinion to invoke a ‘solemn occasion' and issued an informational opinion on the constitutionality of ranked-choice voting. The seven justices of the court unanimously ruled that the Ranked-choice Voting Act conflicted with the constitution.


In June, the House passed ">http://www.mainelegislature.org/legis/bills/bills_128th/billtexts/SP057702.asp"> LD 1624, "RESOLUTION, Proposing an Amendment to the Constitution of Maine To Implement Ranked-choice Voting". The bill would have amended Maine's constitution to give authority over the form and structure of elections to the Legislature, to be determined in statute and allowed for the implementation of Ranked-Choice Voting in 10 state and federal elections and primaries. As a constitutional amendment, LD 1624 needed to be approved by two-thirds of the Legislature at final enactment. It would then be sent to the voters for approval or rejection.


The bill passed today delays the implementation of ranked-choice voting until elections held after December 1, 2021. This amendment provides that the laws governing ranked-choice voting are repealed unless the Constitution of Maine is amended to authorize the Legislature to determine the method by which the Governor and members of the Legislature are elected. The amendment requires the Secretary of State to submit a report on the implementation of ranked-choice voting to the joint standing committee of the Legislature having jurisdiction over election matters no later than January 2, 2019.


Mary-Erin Casale | Communications Director



Exercise your right to vote

Wed, 25 Oct 2017 13:46:53 EDT

With autumn activities well underway and our preparations for winter gearing up, don't forget to vote Nov. 7. While we've seen people jumping in to run for state and federal office left and right, this year most Mainers will be going to the polls to answer questions. Four questions, to be exact.


Question 1 is a citizen initiative that would allow a new casino in York County. The question reads: 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 is a citizen initiative that would expand healthcare coverage to thousands of Mainers who have been left out of the Affordable Care Act. The question reads: Do you want Maine to expand Medicaid to provide healthcare coverage for qualified adults under age 65 with incomes at or below 138 percent of the federal poverty level, which in 2017 means $16,643 for a single person and $22,412 for a family of two?


Question 3 is a bond issue that would provide funding for road repair and construction, as well as other transportation projects. The question reads: 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 is a constitutional amendment that would protect state pensions from devastating stock market losses by conforming to industry standards. The question reads: 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?


Whether you're voting ‘yes' or ‘no' on any issue, I encourage you to exercise your right to vote on Nov. 7. I hope that this will give you a little insight into what is on the ballot. With so many issues, there is a lot to consider. If you're not able to make it to the polls on Election Day, you can request an absentee ballot until the end of the day, Nov. 2. You can call the Gorham Town Clerk to request your ballot at 222-1670.


Please feel free to call me at 712-9735 or e-mail me at Rep. Maureen Terry if you have any questions or concerns.
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.



Chair of LCRED Committee on Latest Development in Federal Workforce Funds

Wed, 25 Oct 2017 09:24:19 EDT

AUGUSTA - Coastal Counties Workforce, Inc. (CCWI) of Brunswick, Maine has filed a federal lawsuit against Maine Governor Paul R. LePage and Labor Commissioner John Butera for their refusal to release federal funds allocated for workforce development and training services in 2017 and to prevent them from cutting off already allocated 2016 funds.


The approximately $8 million in annual funds at issue are provided by the United States Department of Labor (USDOL) under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). Without these funds, CCWI and Maine's other Workforce Groups will be forced to cease operations by November 30th, leaving thousands of Maine's citizens without training and workforce development services.


Labor, Commerce, Research and Economic Development Committee House Chair Rep. Ryan Fecteau (D-Biddeford) released the following statement:


"The best pathway out of poverty is a good paying job. The federal funds at stake are specifically devoted to ensuring access to robust and relevant training programs that result in lifelong skills and credentials matched to in-demand jobs - exactly what Mainers and employers need. The decision to forfeit these dollars is reckless and harmful to Maine's people and Maine's economy. I support Coastal Counties Workforce, Inc decision to pursue these funds via legal action and I urge Governor LePage and his administration to reconsider their actions."


Contact:


Lindsay Crete, cell 231-1442