|February 25, 2019
State House Highlights of the Week: A Packed House in HHS for Hearings on Banning Liquid Nicotine, Requiring Vitamin K Injections
LD 443, relating to Vitamin K injections and antibiotic eye drops for newborn children, brought many mothers with young children to the committee room to oppose the bill. The opposition centered on two issues: first, the "personal liberty" argument that parents should have total control over what is put into their children's bodies, and second, the argument that this is a dangerous substance which can cause terrible harm to newborns. This latter argument was supported by the witnesses' reading of the package insert, including especially the "black box warning", to the Committee.
The other bill heard the same day which drew much comment was a bill to ban liquid nicotine. Many witnesses testified that only with "vaping" were they able to stop smoking and, over time, reduce their nicotine intake.
HHS also held work sessions on LD 152 to ban the use and possession of "vaping" devices on school grounds. It was approved unanimously by the Committee. LD 343 (allow food and beverages in tobacco specialty stores) and LD 416 (allow smoking in outdoor sections of restaurants) were defeated on essentially party lines.
On Thursday afternoon HHS Commissioner Jeanne Lambrew held a meeting with around 40 people on the topic of public health nursing. Many public health nurses, past and present, were in attendance, along with representatives of the major health systems, the Maine Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the MMA. It was an excellent, robust discussion, at the end of which the Commissioner impressed those in attendance with her excellent summary of the significant points raised.
Monday afternoon the MMA testified in support of two bills to sustain and expand the school based health centers throughout the state.
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