AARP Maine would like to express a sincere thank you to all the volunteers who joined us this session for our Tuesdays at the State House in Augusta. Thanks to you, we were able to attend multiple committee hearings, meet with our state legislators and offer testimony on several of the bills we followed.  Many legislators commented on the number of “red shirts” they saw each Tuesday and we are grateful for your passion and dedication to the important issues that have a great impact on Mainers 50-plus.

This legislative session, we fought for financial protection, fair utility rates, protection of free broadband at local libraries and to preserve lifeline telephone service. We worked to make prescription drug prices more transparent, and had unanimous support of a Joint Resolution to Support Family Caregivers in Maine.

The following is a list of all the bills on which AARP testified.

Financial Security

WIN LD 123, An Act to Recodify and Revise the Maine Probate Code (support); this bill is a significant (640 page) reform of the state probate and guardianship laws.

WIN LD 669, An Act to Address the Unmet Workforce Needs of Employers and to Improve the Economic Future of Workers (support); this bill is a comprehensive plan to address Maine’s workforce shortages.

WIN LD 660, An Act to Allow Credit and Debit Card Surcharges (oppose); this bill would have passed credit or debit surcharge currently paid by the business directly to the customer.

WIN LD 259, An Act To Prohibit Charging Maine Seniors Higher Automobile Insurance Premiums Based Solely on Their Age (support); this bill prohibits an insurer from taking certain actions against an applicant or insured under a motor vehicle insurance policy based solely upon the age of the applicant or insured.

LOSS LD 1507, An Act to Create a Student Loan Bill of Rights (support); this bill would have required student loan servicers to register with the State of Maine and comply with all state and federal regulations.

LOSS LD 192, An Act To Require Insurance Coverage for Hearing Aids (support),; this bill would have required insurance plans to provide coverage for hearing aids at a minimum of $3,000 per hearing aid to all individuals with documented hearing loss.

Not yet voted – LD 735, An Act to Authorize a General Fund Bond Issue to Support the Independence of Maine’s Seniors (support); this bond invests in the development, repair, weatherization and modification of safe, affordable homes for older Mainers.

Utilities

WIN LD 1896, An Act to Improve Efficiency through Electric Rate Design and Advanced Technology (oppose); this bill would have increased the minimum electricity bill to $25, among other changes.

WIN LD 1729, An Act Regarding Compensation by Large Transmission and Distribution Utilities (support); this bill requires periodic auditing of utilities’ metering and billing systems to ensure accuracy and transparency.

WIN LD 1848, An Act to Extend Arrearage Management Programs (support); this bill continues to fund a program that assists utility customers who get behind on their bill.

WIN LD 1746, An Act to Ensure that Low-Income Residents of the State have Access to Telephone Services (support); this bill continues to exempt Lifeline Telephone Service from state taxes.

WIN LD 256, An Act To Ensure Continued Availability of High-speed Broadband Internet at Maine’s Schools and Libraries (support); this bill amends the payment formula to provide free broadband at Maine’s schools and libraries.

Not yet voted – LD 520, An Act to Authorize a General Fund Issue to Increase Rural Maine’s Access to Broadband Internet Service (support); this bond invests in the expansion of broadband service in currently underserved rural areas of Maine.

Caregiving/Health Care/Long Term Care

WIN LD 1406, An Act to Promote Prescription Drug Price Transparency (support); this bill addresses prescription drug prices.

WIN HP 1332, A Joint Resolution to Support Family Caregivers in Maine (drafted); this joint resolution acknowledges the importance of family caregivers in Maine, and identifies a plan to continue addressing policies that support family caregivers and their loved ones.

WIN LD 842, An Act to Support Home Health Services (support); this bill funds in-home direct care.

LOSS LD 1708, An Act to Allow Qualifying Medicaid Recipients to Hire Relatives and Legal Guardians for Consumer-directed Attendant Services (support); this bill would have allowed a Medicaid recipient to appoint a person of their choice, including a relative or guardian, to be a paid personal care assistant.

LOSS LD 692, Resolve, To Provide Meals to Homebound Individuals (support); this bill would have funded Meals on Wheels.

LOSS LD 837, An Act to Provide Supplemental Appropriations and Allocations for the Operations of State Government (support); this bill would have funded the expansion of Medicaid/MaineCare.

Other

WIN LD 192, An Act To Require Photographic Identification to Vote (oppose); this bill would have required photo id to vote.