|February 4, 2019
State House Report: MMA Testifies on Gun Violence and Patient Protection Bills
The MMA, the Sportsmen's Alliance of Maine, and the National Rifle Association joined forces this week to testify in support of LD 85, a bill that would provide tax breaks for the purchase of firearm safety devices such as gun safes, lock boxes, and trigger locks. There was no testimony in opposition to the measure, which would provide both a sales tax exemption and an income tax deduction for the purchase of devices that would help keep firearms out of the hands of children. The MMA has also proposed a bill calling for civil penalties for failure to use such devices, but the bill has not yet been printed.
Gordon Smith, who just this week resigned as Executive Vice President of the MMA to become Maine's Opioid Response Director, gave his first testimony as spokesman for the Governor on LD 29, an opioid education measure.
On Thursday afternoon, the Health & Human Services Committee heard testimony on the nomination of Cape Elizabeth native Jeanne Lambrew to become Commissioner of the Maine DHHS. Testimony was overwhelmingly positive, and the Committee voted unanimously to support the nomination. You can read a full article about the hearing here: https://www.pressherald.com/2019/01/31/health-committee-unanimously-recommends-lambrew-for-top-dhhs-job-in-maine/.
Last Tuesday, MMA also participated in a public hearing before the Health Coverage, Insurance & Financial Services Committee on L.D. 1, a bill sponsored by the legislature's Presiding Officers, Senate President Troy Jackson (D-Aroostook) and House Speaker Sara Gideon (D-Freeport). This bill is the first significant health policy bill of the session and reflects Governor Mills' and the legislature's majority Democrats' commitment to pursuing health care reform initiatives towards a goal of health care for all Mainers. The purpose of the bill is to ensure that patient protections in the federal ACA are codified in Maine law in case of potential losses at the federal level, something that is much less likely following the 2018 elections when Democrats took control of the U.S. House of Representatives. After the Presiding Officers presented the bill, Governor Mills' health policy aide, Beth Beausang, expressed the Governor's support for the bill. Beth has joined the Governor's Office after a number of years handling health policy issues for First District Congresswoman Chellie Pingree and the MMA looks forward to working with her. MMA joined members of the Health Care For Maine (HC4ME) Steering Committee and other patient advocates in supporting the bill. There was no opposition to the bill and the health insurance carriers and insurance agents spoke "neither for nor against" the bill, raising some technical issues. You can find the MMA's testimony on the web here: https://www.mainemed.com/sites/default/files/content/testimony/ld1_testimony.pdf.
The new legislature's committees continue with orientation activities, but public hearings will become a more significant part of their agendas as bills continue to be printed and referred. The legislature also is anticipating release of Governor Mills' first biennial budget proposal which is due Friday and which she will present to a joint convention of the legislature on Monday, February 11th. You can find coverage of the Governor's budget preparations by the Portland Press Herald here: https://www.pressherald.com/2019/01/31/gov-mills-to-outline-her-first-state-budget-proposal-before-the-legislature-on-feb-11/.Next Article >
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