Archive for February 1st, 2015

Maine Citizens for Clean Elections Deliver over 85k Signatures to State House

Posted on February 1, 2015. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , |

85,185 signatures were collected and delivered by over 200 Maine Citizens for Clean Elections volunteers to Maine Department of the Secretary of State’s office on January 21 after a rally held in the State House’s Hall of Flags. The signatures, gathered since the November election, should be enough to place a ballot measure before Maine voters for establishing new campaign donor disclosure requirements and replacing the “matching funds” provision for publicly-financed candidates.

MCCE’s Andrew Bossie, BJ McCollister, Ann Luther, former State Senator Ed Youngblood (R-Brewer) and former Rumford GOP state representative candidate Jolene Lovejoy spoke to those assembled.

    Andrew Bossie: “We are here to celebrate a remarkable and important citizen-led effort to shine the light on dark money, keep politicians accountable and restore Maine’s Clean Election law. “This is an effort of, by and for Maine people. We’re here today because we want a government that works for everyday voters, not one bought and paid for by wealthy special interests. We’re here today because when our democracy is threatened, we the people, will fight to keep it strong.”

    Former State Senator Ed Youngblood (R-Brewer) speaking at MCCE rally

    Former State Senator Ed Youngblood (R-Brewer) speaking at MCCE rally

    Ann Luther: “Today is about Maine people leading on one of the most important issues of our time. We will simply not back down when it comes to strengthening our democracy and the role of everyday people just like us within it.”

    Former Senator Ed Youngblood (R-Brewer): “The Clean Election Initiative is all about making sure that Maine people have the opportunity to step up, run for office, and serve their constituents without relying on big-money special interests. So much about politics is about divisions, but in this Clean Election endeavor, we are Mainers first. Republicans like me worked alongside Democrats, Greens, and unenrolled voters to collect these signatures. That is a reflection of the widespread concern about the skyrocketing cost of elections and the growing role of big money.”

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Sifting Through the LePage FY 2016/2017 Proposed Budget: DHHS Meets With AFA, HHS

Posted on February 1, 2015. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

DSC_0121Maine Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Commissioner Mary Mayhew along with Alec Porteous and Stephanie Nadeau met with the 127th Legislature’s Appropriations and HHS Committees for three hours on January 22 to discuss the administration’s FY 2016/17 biennial budget as it pertains to the state’s largest agency (Governor Paul LePage’s 2016-2017 Biennial General Fund Budget Proposal can be found here). The entire meeting is below, recorded in five clips.

From a DHHS press release:

    “For years, DHHS has come to the budget committee with news of massive shortfalls that send lawmakers scrambling,” said Commissioner Mayhew. “This time, it’s different. Under Governor LePage’s leadership, we have stabilized spending in the Medicaid program and are no longer managing to a crisis. Instead, the budget proposal tackles some of the Governor’s biggest priorities: nursing home funding, waitlists, primary care, and much more.”

    The DHHS budget proposal identifies significant savings to help fund important new initiatives, with a net request of just over $6 million for the FY 2016-2017 biennium-this out of a total Department General Fund budget of more than $2 billion.

    DSC_0123Among those initiatives are $24 million in additional Medicaid reimbursement funding for nursing homes; $46 million to move elderly, disabled, and mentally ill patients off of waitlists for services; $28 million to improve access to primary care providers; and $14 million to fulfill Maine’s obligation to mental health under the Consent Decree.

    Roughly $11 million in savings from a proposed reform to General Assistance reimbursement to municipalities will be directed specifically to fund services under Section 21 for disabled Mainers on waitlists.

    A total of $20 million from the Fund for a Healthy Maine (FHM) will be repurposed away from third-party advocacy organizations and directed to fund increased access to primary care providers for Medicaid recipients.

    After doubling in size, enrollment, and cost in the decade prior to Governor LePage’s first inauguration, Maine’s Medicaid program has since seen enrollment drop from a high of 354,000 in 2011 to 291,000 today. In 2011, 26 percent of Mainers were enrolled in Medicaid, compared to 18 percent of the national population. In 2014, Maine’s Medicaid enrollment matched the national average of 22 percent. “After years spent bailing out the sinking ship of Medicaid, we have finally charted a new course where spending on able-bodied adults is controlled and services for the elderly and disabled are prioritized,” added Commissioner Mayhew. “I am proud to be presenting this balanced budget to the Appropriations Committee on behalf of Governor LePage, whose tenacity and responsible priorities have gotten us where we are today.”

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

After the conclusion of the meeting, Daniel E. Wathen, Consent Decree Coordinator, met with the two committees to discuss multiple ongoing issues at Riverview Psychiatric Center and answer questions from legislators. The two clips of that meeting are below.

Part 1

Part 2

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