Legislative Update (April 2019): ANA-Maine Annual Public Policy Seminar at the State House
ANA-Maine Legislative Collaborative Advocacy
By Juliana L’Heureux, B.S., M.H.S.A., R.N.
Maine’s Governor Janet T. Mills welcomed nurses to the State House on January 22, 2019, during the annual “Nurses in Public Policy: Nurses in the Hall of Flags”, legislative seminar. “We want Maine nurses to know how appreciated you are!”, said Governor Mills.
Nurses convened in the historic Maine State House to meet and greet with state legislators and public policy leaders during the first session of the Maine 129th Legislative Session. Participants included nursing students, graduate students, public policy leaders and legislators. Special guest speakers were Rep. Anne Perry, a nurse practitioner and Rep. Michele Meyer, a registered nurse.
Moreover, the ANA-Maine annual public policy seminar at the State House demonstrated how nursing leadership has been participating in coalitions with our health care colleagues from the Organization of Maine Nurse Executives (OMNE), the Home Care and Hospice Alliance of Maine (HCHAM) and the Maine Immunization Coalition (MIC). The purpose of the program is to help educate nurses about public policy and to raise awareness about the importance of running for elected positions.
During the past four years, ANA-Maine has collaborated as an advocating participant with the following health care advocacy organizations:
- Maine Immunization Coalition with the Maine Primary Care Association
- Maine Equal Justice coalition to expand MaineCare
- Maine All Care coalition
- Maine Providers Standing Up for Health Care – a grassroots advocacy group consisting of physicians, nurse practitioners, nurses and social workers.
- Organization of Maine Nurse Executives – OMNE
- Home Care and Hospice Alliance of Maine
- Maine Hospice Council and Center for End of Life Care
- Maine Public Health coalitions
In 2019, ANA-Maine is among the coalitions supporting two legislative bills. If they are passed, one will provide funding for nursing faculty loan repayment and a public health law to increase vaccination compliance by removing philosophical exemptions as a reason to oppose immunizations for preventable contagious diseases like measles, mumps, rubella, pertussis and polio.
ANA-Maine is providing public testimony in support of the following bill:
- An Act To Increase Faculty in Nursing Education Programs: This bill (a) extends eligibility to apply to individuals who are currently enrolled in master's 24 or doctoral degree programs; 25 2 (b) specifies that applicants must indicate an intention to work as full-time nursing 26 faculty in a nursing education program in the State, and increases the required 27 commitment from 3 to 5 years after acceptance into the nursing education loan repayment 28 program; 29 3, and (c) increases the maximum amount of loans eligible for repayment under the 30 program from $4,500 to $30,000 for a master's degree, and from $6,000 to $60,000 for a doctoral degree.
- An Act To Protect Maine Children and Students from Preventable Diseases by Repealing Certain Exemptions from the Laws Governing Immunization Requirements: The bill directs the Department of Education and the Department of Health and Human Services to remove any immunization exemptions based on religious or philosophical beliefs from their rules and requires the Department of Education to adopt rules allowing a student who is covered by an individualized education plan and has elected a philosophical or religious exemption from immunization requirements to continue to attend school under the existing exemption as long as an appropriate medical professional provides a statement that the medical professional has provided information on the risks and benefits associated with the choice to immunize.
Nurses are represented in the Maine legislature by two House Representatives, Rep. Michele Meyer, a registered nurse who represents House District 2, serving Eliot, Kittery and South Berwick and she sits on the Committee on Health and Human Services; and Rep. Anne Perry, a nurse practitioner who represents House District 140, serving Baileyville, Calais, Charlotte, Passamaquoddy Indian Township, Passamaquoddy Pleasant Point, Pembroke, Perry, Robbinston, and Baring Plantation and she sits on the Committee on Health and Human Services.
ANA-Maine Legislative Committee is led by Juliana L’Heureux, B.S., M.H.S.A., R.N., the legislative liaison. New committee members are always welcome to participate. Responsibilities include reviewing legislative bills related to health policy and participating in coalitions. Please check the ANA-Maine website here and contact email@example.com.