June 14, 2013

Maine House OKs bill to help needy out of poverty

The 'ticket to work' aims to address employment issues for people who receive public assistance.

By Michael Shepherd mshepherd@mainetoday.com
State House Bureau

AUGUSTA — A bipartisan bill dubbed a pathway out of poverty by its sponsor, a top legislative Democrat, got final, unanimous passage by the Maine House of Representatives on Friday.

click image to enlarge

Speaker of the House Mark Eves, D-North Berwick, swings the gavel during a session Thursday at the State House in Augusta.

The Associated Press / Robert F. Bukaty

The so-called “ticket to work” proposal would direct administrators of the state's Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program to work with benefit recipients to help them obtain long-term employment, first screening them to ensure they are prepared for such a move.

The bill, L.D. 1343, sponsored by House Speaker Mark Eves, D-North Berwick, faces another vote in the Senate before going to Gov. Paul LePage’s desk for approval.

The bill is one of several submitted in the Legislature this year trying to address employment issues for people receiving public assistance.

Eves submitted a similar bill in 2011 that initially passed both chambers of the Legislature unanimously, but it died when the Department of Health and Human Services estimated it would cost nearly $1 million, leading the Republican-led Legislature to reject it.

However, the current bill was supported by the LePage administration at a public hearing earlier this year. It is expected to require only a “minor cost increase” by using federal block grants and existing DHHS resources.

In a statement, Eves called the bill “real reform that ensures a pathway out (of) poverty for struggling Maine people.”

“The strong bipartisan support for this bill shows that we can come together to truly strengthen and reform our anti-poverty programs,” he said.

Were you interviewed for this story? If so, please fill out our accuracy form

Send question/comment to the editors

Further Discussion

Here at PressHerald.com we value our readers and are committed to growing our community by encouraging you to add to the discussion. To ensure conscientious dialogue we have implemented a strict no-bullying policy. To participate, you must follow our Terms of Use.

Questions about the article? Add them below and we’ll try to answer them or do a follow-up post as soon as we can. Technical problems? Email them to us with an exact description of the problem. Make sure to include:
  • Type of computer or mobile device your are using
  • Exact operating system and browser you are viewing the site on (TIP: You can easily determine your operating system here.)


More PPH Blogs