Maine Senate President

Michael D. Thibodeau

128th Maine Legislature

Maine Senate President Announces Appointees to Opiate Task Force

AUGUSTA – Maine Senate President Michael Thibodeau (R-Waldo) has announced his appointments to the Maine Legislature’s “Task Force to Address the Opioid Crisis in the State.” The Maine Legislature established the committee following a record amount of opiate overdoses in Maine last year. On average, more than one person a day died from a fatal overdose in 2016. The task force will examine current state laws regarding law enforcement, prevention, treatment and recovery. It will also review the report and recommendations of the Maine Opiate Collaborative issued on May 6, 2016 as well as initiatives that have been successfully undertaken in other states. An initial report to the Legislature from the task force is due on April 30, 2017, and a final report will be issued by December 6, 2017. Lawmakers will use the reports to submit legislation during both sessions of the 128th Legislature. Members of the committee will include lawmakers, members of law enforcement, the medical community, and drug treatment specialists. Senate President Thibodeau’s appointees are: Maine Senate: Senator Andre Cushing (R-Penobscot), Chair Senator Scott Cyrway (R-Kennebec) Senator James Dill (D-Penobscot) Senator Geoffrey Gratwick (D-Penobscot) Other appointees: Katie Fullam Harris-Opioid Treatment Facility Dr. Steven Diaz- Augusta Administrator of Hospital Gordon Smith-Association of Physicians Sherriff Jeff Trafton-Law Enforcement Senate President Thibodeau said, “I am pleased all of these individuals have made a commitment to help solve this epidemic, and I look forward to the results of their...

Senator Dana Dow Proposes to Eliminate Three Percent Surtax

AUGUSTA – State Senator Dana Dow (R-Lincoln) has sponsored legislation to roll back the three percent surtax on business owners and households earning more than $200,000. If passed, LD 571, “An Act To Eliminate the 3 Percent Surcharge on Certain Income and Provide an Alternative Funding Source for the Fund To Advance Public Kindergarten to Grade 12 Education,” would eliminate the new income tax designed to increase funding to K-12 education, replacing the funds with taxes from other sources, such as the those collected from the sale of recreational marijuana products, on Airbnb stays and from Amazon sales, until the state has met the 55% funding obligation. “The people of Maine voted to make education funding a top priority over a decade ago when they voted on a referendum to require the State to pay 55% of the cost of education,” said Sen. Dow. “Last year, they again voted to increase education funding with the passage of Question 2. Unfortunately, to fund this increase in support, Question 2 raised Maine’s income tax rate significantly, making it the highest in the country. “This new income tax rate makes our state uncompetitive, both on a regional and national scale. As a result, we’ve already started to see businesses, health care professionals and other affected citizens leave our state, taking jobs and resources with them, because they can’t afford to operate here under these conditions. “We have heard the people’s message loud and clear in Augusta; funding our schools will continue to be a top priority. But we can’t reach this goal off the backs of Maine’s employers and small businesses. That’s...

Maine Supplemental Budget Clears Committee Hurdle

Appropriations Committee Passes 2017 Supplemental Budget AUGUSTA – The Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee today voted in support of an amended version of the proposed 2017 Supplemental Budget, unanimously. The amended supplemental budget, which largely remained the same, includes: $4.8 million ($3 million from the General Fund and $1.807 in federal money) to support opioid addiction treatment for uninsured and MaineCare patients through the Opioid Health Homes program $155,000 for the Secretary of State’s office to cover a gap in funding for the June election $5,050,000 for the University of Maine System to continue the tuition freeze $2 million for the early college program $35 million for the Budget Stabilization Fund (Rainy Day Fund) $13.99 million as a one-time payment to the Maine Public Employee Retirement System (MPERS) $7 million for Maine Military Authority Restructuring $2.98 million for the Grand Lake Stream Fish Hatchery $2.5 million for the Casco Fish Hatchery $524,151 for Maine Emergency Management Agency to go towards disaster assistance programs $375,000 for Veterans service grants $150,000 for the Attorney General to improve opioid detection in autopsies “It was encouraging to see everyone come together to agree on measures of great importance to our state such as combating the opioid crisis and keeping the cost of higher education affordable for students who chose to attend a public college in Maine,” said Senator James Hamper (R-Oxford), Senate Chair of the AFA Committee. “I am hopeful that we will continue to build on this momentum during our work on the governor’s biennial budget proposal.” The 2017 Supplemental Budget will now go to the Senate for...

Contact

Senator Mike Thibodeau
3 State House Station
Augusta, Maine 04333

(207) 287-1500
mike@mainesenatepresident.com

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