Legislative Update from Senator Ned Claxton
Dear friend,

After an all-night, marathon session that started last Wednesday morning and wrapped up early Thursday morning, the Maine Legislature has adjourned. It's likely we'll come back for a few days later this summer to tie up some loose ends, but the big things have been taken care of: Bills have been either voted on or held over until the next session for additional work, and the biennial budget has been passed and signed into law. I'm incredibly proud of all the work we've done. 

Now, I'm looking forward to spending more time at home and out in the community. Read on to see what we accomplished in the closing days of the First Regular Legislative Session. 

As always, you can contact me by emailing me at ned.claxton@legislature.maine.gov or calling my office at (207) 287-1515.

Putting the needs of Mainers first in the state budget

Budgets are about priorities. On Monday, June 17, Gov. Janet Mills signed into law a two-year budget that prioritizes property tax relief, health care, education, workforce training and renewable energy.

  • Maine's budget makes serious investments in the education of our children and young people so they can get the skills they need to become productive leaders, workers and adults. It allocates $111 million in new state support for K-12 education. This budget also allocates $18 million in the School Revolving Loan Fund, which provides critical funding to repair crumbling school infrastructure, including modifications for adding pre-K programs.
  • The budget supports efforts to combat the opioid crisis by funding prevention efforts and eliminating red tape that prevents people from getting help. This includes $5.5 million from the Fund for a Healthy Maine (FHM) to support prevention efforts, increases to the weekly rate for medication-assisted treatment and eliminating the 24-month limit for medication-assisted treatment.
  • The budget restores the low-cost drugs from Maine's elderly program to cover an additional 800 Maine seniors. The high cost of prescription drugs is harming our seniors, who need this medicine to survive. The budget funds another program that makes prescription drugs more affordable and accessible to our seniors.
This budget doesn't increase income or sales taxes for Mainers.

I'm grateful to the work of my colleague Sen. Cathy Breen, Chair of the Legislature's Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee, and the rest of the committee for their work to secure a strong bipartisan budget. It prioritizes the needs of our state and our people while setting our state on a strong, fiscally responsible path for the future.
Prescription drug reform package signed into law!

On Monday, Gov. Janet Mills signed the Senate Democrats' prescription drug cost reform package into law. 

The bills, LD  150411621272 and  1499 work together to increase transparency in the industry, establishes a board that will work to keep costs low, establishes a drug importation program for cheaper medication from Canada and works to regulate the middlemen of the industry who often drive the costs of medications up. 

When I ran for the Maine Senate, one of my top priorities was to pass legislation that would lower drug costs for the people of Maine. I truly feel that we delivered and I'm so proud to be a part of the team that brought these bills through the Maine Senate with unanimous, bipartisan votes. 

I'm glad to see these bills signed into law and can't wait to see the difference they make for so many Mainers. 
Senate President Troy Jackson speaks at the bill signing ceremony for the prescription drug reform bills
Watch out for ticks!

The cool, wet spring this year has led to an increase in black flies, mosquitoes, and, yes, ticks. According to an article in the Sun Journal, 45% of the deer ticks sent to the University of Maine's Tick Lab tested positive for the bacteria that causes Lyme disease. The Maine outdoors are beautiful this time of year. If you're out and about, remember to wear bug repellant, and always check for ticks once you get home.
Central Maine Credit Union visits the State House

On Tuesday, June 18, I was honored to present Central Maine Credit Union with a legislative sentiment in the Maine Senate. 

The Credit Union made a very generous donation to Camp Connor, in Poland, so they could continue serving free meals to kids. I'm thankful to the Credit Union for stepping up, and helping to fund this great program. Not only will kids be able to enjoy all their favorite summer activities at Camp Connor, they'll do so on a full stomach. 

I was happy to be there and speak with Dustin, who works at the Credit Union, and talk a little bit about the legislative process and to thank him personally for the Credit Union's generosity.

Dustin White from Central Maine Credit Union and me in the Senate Chamber

Always Put Out Your Campfires

We all know the wise words of Smokey Bear: Only you can prevent wildfires. The Maine Emergency Management Agency sent out a reminder recently to always put out campfires before you go to sleep or leave your campsite. Make sure your fire is extinguished completely by pouring water on it or covering it with dirt. Let's all do our part to protect Maine's forests!

Senator Ned Claxton | (207) 287-1515 | ned.claxton @legislature.maine.gov  |  www.mainesenate.org
  Visit our blog