Maine to reconsider expanding Medicaid for low-income residents

October 30th, 2013 by admin Leave a reply »

Posted: 5:20 PM
Updated: 5:33 PM

Maine to reconsider expanding Medicaid for low-income residents

That’s one of at least 100 new bills the Legislature will take up next session.

By Steve Mistler
Staff Writer

AUGUSTA – The Legislature will take up at least 100 new bills next session, including a proposal to expand Medicaid insurance for low-income Mainers, an overhaul of a troubled MaineCare rides program, lengthening the penalty period for a prior OUI conviction and lifting bans on select pesticides in medical marijuana cultivation.

Lawmakers will also consider a bill by House Speaker Mark Eves, D-North Berwick, that beefs up a rent and property-tax credit program adopted in June that was criticized for providing significantly less relief to low- and middle-income residents than the program it replaced.

In addition, Senate President Justin Alfond will have the opportunity to advance a bill that would change how the state distributes federal anti-poverty education funds to local schools.

The list, approved Wednesday by the Legislative Council, is expected to grow as lawmakers whose proposals were rejected appeal those decisions in November. Gov. Paul LePage and state agencies can also submit bills during the session that begins Jan. 7. The governor’s authority to introduce bills virtually at will likely means new life for Republican proposals rejected by the Democratic majority, including a pair of welfare reform bills sponsored by the House minority leader, Rep. Kenneth Fredette, R-Newport.

The council, comprised of the 10 members of legislative leadership, plowed through nearly

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