Legislative Committee Approves Funding for Health Care Workers & Jails

AUGUSTA, Maine (WABI) - Lydia Dawson, Association for Community Service Providers, said, "The clock is ticking and every day closer to June 30th, is a day closer to the devastation of Maine services. It's time for the legislature to move forward and act to prevent harm to Maine people."

The Maine Association for Community Service Providers joined forces with several organizations, representing direct care works-"these services are critical to allowing them to remain in their homes instead of being placed in more expensive and costly restrictive settings," said Mollie Baldwin, of Home Care and Hospice Alliance of Maine.

As well as law enforcement -"If the legislature and the governor decide not to fund the county jails in 2019, this will have a huge and negative impact on the jails," said Cumberland County Sheriff, Kevin Joyce.

Even school representatives are calling for change.

Maine School Management Association's Eileen King said, "funding for public legislation should be in the hands of the legislators, they represent our children, our teachers, our staff, our schools, our communities and we ask them to return the job they started."

According to The Maine Association for Community Service Providers, with dozens of unfunded bills left on the table, advocates are urging lawmakers to call a special session.

Dawson added, "We are hoping that this is the start of the legislature addressing this crisis and critical bills and funding issues."

For Cullen Ryan, he said one specific bill is crucial for his son. It focuses on ensuring access to community services for people with disabilities.

Ryan said, "Direct service Providers, the people who work with my son and others with intellectual disabilities. these people are the very nexus of where the system of care meets my son. Direct Service Providers need to be paid enough to stay. This bill, if not enacted, this will happen all across Maine."

The Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee met Wednesday afternoon to discuss the unfunded bills.