Legislative Highlights

On Friday, March 11th, the Veteran's and Legal Affairs Committee held a work session on LD 2001, An Act To Fund and Support the Veterans Homes in Caribou and Machias and Require Legislative Approval for the Establishment and Closure of Veterans Homes. The bill passed unanimously out of committee in an amended form and is expected to be considered by the Senate and House of Representatives next week. Governor Mills has announced a proposed $3.5 million in funding to help keep Veterans homes in Caribou and Machias open.  
On Monday, March 14, the Health and Human Services (HHS) Committee continued work on the Supplemental Budget and unexpectedly voted all their remaining aspects of the Supplemental. We had expected that process to last through Thursday. We worked quickly with Senator Baldacci to get an amendment submitted that would address the 125% of minimum wage funding shortfall in the Supplemental Budget. Ultimately the proposal was withdrawn when it became evident from the discussion that there would be no clear path forward for the amendment at that time.
The HHS minority caucus also proposed funding the Governor's $25 million initiative for one-time COVID payments for nursing homes and residential care facilities from the MaineCare stabilization fund rather than the general fund. This will be reflected in a minority report.
The HHS report on the Supplemental will be sent to the Appropriations and Financial Affairs (AFA) Committee and informs, but does not bind, their work. The budget report back to AFA will begin on Friday, March 18th at 11:00 AM.
We encourage MHCA members to contact Appropriations Committee members to urge their support to fully fund 125% of minimum wage for direct care workers.
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