Friday, August 26, 2022

Jessica Fay: New laws aim to improve life for Mainers

By State Rep. Jessica Fay 

Summer will soon be winding down and back-to-school season will be here before we know it. Until then, I hope that you are able to spend plenty of time enjoying Maine’s beautiful outdoors and gathering with friends and family.

So far this summer, I have enjoyed volunteering at Casco Days (in the pouring rain, it was still fun!), working in my garden and tending to Raymond’s age-friendly accessible garden as well as swimming and paddling in our local lakes.

This time of year, my legislative work continues - I serve on the Government Oversight Committee which meets year-round. While I still tend to these ongoing committee meetings, my current legislative work largely involves answering questions from constituents and helping people connect to the resources they need. It’s also a time to reflect on all we accomplished this year.

While some of our work was already being implemented and other measures will go into effect later, a number of the bills we passed into law this year went into effect earlier this month. To give you a sense of the wide range of bills we enacted to make life better for Mainers this session, here are a few that went into law this month:

· A new law that improves access to lifesaving, chronic medication in emergency situations by allowing a pharmacist to dispense an emergency supply of a chronic maintenance drug to a patient without a prescription if the pharmacist is unable to obtain authorization to refill the prescription from a health care provider but has sufficient records of the prescription that meet a number of criteria. 

· A new law provides ongoing funding for Meals on Wheels to provide home-delivered meals to homebound seniors. It also allows the Department of Health and Human Services to reimburse an area agency on aging for mileage that exceeds the state reimbursement rate.

· Lawmakers passed two new laws to improve property tax relief for Maine veterans. The first measure allows persons who served in the Armed Forces of the United States during the period from February 1, 1955, to February 27, 1961, to qualify for veterans’ property tax exemptions based on the status of the property beginning on or after April 1, 2023. The second law provides an additional refundable property tax fairness credit for veterans who are 100 percent permanently and totally disabled.

· A new law better supports survivors of domestic violence by codifying and restructuring the Protection from Abuse Statutes so that the language is clear, easy to read and accessible to survivors of domestic violence, attorneys and judges.

· A new law enhances apprenticeship programs by providing $400,000 in funding for the Maine State Apprenticeship Program and pre-apprenticeship opportunities.

Personally, I am most proud of the legislation I successfully sponsored to improve boating safety, increase Maine’s veterinary workforce, establish a working group that will support the building of our essential support workforce and provide grants to families to treat contaminated well water.

As always, please feel welcome to call or email me with any ideas, questions or concerns you have. It remains an honor to represent you in Augusta. <

Jessica Fay is serving her third term in the Maine Legislature and represents parts of Casco, Poland, and Raymond. She serves on the Legislature’s Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee.

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