This week at the State House included our bi-weekly Tuesday at the State House, testimony on six bills of interest, a very successful press conference and a legislative update at our monthly Bangor Coffee.
Tuesday at the State House
Two dozen AARP members proudly wore their red t-shirts at the State House this Tuesday, continuing our bi-weekly event to engage members with the legislative process. The day began with a line out the door and across the parking lot to enter through security! We made friends with the realtors in line in front of and behind us, who were there for the Association of Realtors event in the Hall of Flags. We made our way to the Senate- where THEY OPENED THE SENATE GALLERY! This is a rare treat indeed. When seats became available in the Senate Chamber we were alerted by the clerk and moved downstairs to view the Senate from the Chamber. After session adjourned for the day we spent time mingling in the halls with legislators as always and then enjoyed lunch in the Cross Café before moving to afternoon activities including a press conference and committee hearings.
AccessABLE Home Tax Credit Press Conference
AARP Maine State President Rich Livingston spoke at a press conference to highlight and promote the newly available AccessABLE Home Tax Credit. Other distinguished speakers included Senate President Mike Thibodeau, House Speaker Sara Gideon, the MS Society and Maine Housing Authority. You can view the press conference in it’s entirety (thanks to Facebook Live) on our Facebook page. As you can see, it was an absolutely beautiful spring day. Perfect for an outdoor press event!
Bills of Interest
Meanwhile, just inside the building adjacent to the press conference, AARP testified on two bills. Volunteer Michael R from Bucksport testified for his first time before a committee in support of a bill that requires a notice to policy holders when there is a request to increase their long-term care insurance policy.
Volunteer Susan H from Portland testified in opposition to a bill that allows higher fees and interest rates on small, short-term loans. A very big thank you to our two volunteers, the members who waited patiently through the committee hearing other bills, and to the committee for graciously welcoming our members (and complimenting Michael and Susan each on their red AARP shirts).
On Wednesday and Thursday AARP submitted testimony in favor of proposals that include; employers posting notice about eligibility for the Earned Income Tax Credit, property tax relief for seniors, restoring public health nursing by filling current vacancies and addressing housing insecurity for older Mainers.
The week wrapped with a legislative update at our monthly Bangor Coffee. AARP Maine Advocacy Director Amy Gallant discussed the 21 bills on which AARP has testified this session and a few of the many yet to be scheduled for public hearing.