|February 11, 2019
Report from the State House
Doctor of the Day Ryan Best, MD, MMA board member and chief resident in internal medicine at Maine Medical Center, performed double duty last Thursday. In addition to his DoD service, he testified that afternoon to the Health and Human Services Committee about his volunteer work at the Portland Free Clinic during consideration of LD 181, a bill to appropriate $100,000 to Maine's several free clinics to assist with their operating expenses.
On Tuesday and Wednesday, various administrators from programs in the Department of Health and Human Services presented overviews of their work to the HHS Committee. Several of the presenters were "Acting" directors, while the department begins the process of naming its candidates to fill those positions. For example, word on the street is that a national search is being conducted for a person to serve as Director of the Maine CDC. There was also testimony on LD 177, a bill that would fund additional resources in nursing homes for bariatric patients, in order to lessen the pressure on hospitals.
The Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee took testimony on LD 94, a bill to allow parents a greater say in the types of literary and other resources their children are allowed to see in school. Concerns were expressed by the sponsor and several witnesses about depictions of various sexual situations, violence, and suicide. Opponents cautioned against censorship and unintended consequences.
At this point in the session, much of the work is simply referral of bills to the various committees, and those committees are beginning to hear evidence on a few of them. That pace will pick up markedly in the coming weeks.
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