New law builds on Mills Administration’s work to expand access to affordable, high-quality child care
Governor Janet Mills today signed into law LD 1712, a bill that will expand access to quality, affordable child care in Maine. The new law seeks to replicate a successful program in Somerset County modeled after the successful Early Head Start-Child Care Partnership. Under the law, Maine could create up to five additional programs across the state, which would be sponsored by coalitions of stakeholders, providers and other community members within the communities that the projects serve.
“The lack of high-quality, affordable child care in Maine is a major barrier to the success of our children and our economy. It prevents people from starting new businesses, taking new jobs and moving to rural communities. It also deprives kids of important developmental opportunities,” said Governor Janet Mills. “With this new law, and the important game-changing funds in the Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan, we can break down that barrier and give working families what they need to provide healthy, safe child care for their kids that allows them to go to work, bring home a paycheck, and strengthen our economy.”
The law builds on the Mills Administration’s ongoing work to expand affordable child care options in Maine. Through the Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan, Governor Mills has proposed investing $20 million to help Maine communities renovate, expand, or build new child care facilities and expand early childhood education programs. The Administration has also put forward a historic Child Care Plan for Maine that utilizes approximately $120 million in dedicated child care American Rescue Plan funds, on top of $50 million in previous COVID-19 pandemic assistance, to help Maine’s child care system recover and improve child care quality, accessibility, and affordability over the long-term. In the coming days, the Mills Administration will work with Legislative leaders to ensure sufficient funding for the successful implementation of LD 1712, the child care portion of the Maine Jobs and Recovery Act, and the Child Care Plan for Maine.
Maine is expected to receive an additional nearly $120 million in Federal funds through the American Rescue Plan for child care, as part of what the White House describes as the single biggest national investment in child care since World War II. This investment, combined with another estimated $8.4 million Maine expects to receive through an increase in Federal block grant funding, totals nearly $130 million that Maine will use to support one of the goals of the Children’s Cabinet: increasing access to high-quality child care and expanding Maine’s child care workforce.
These investments build on the Mills Administration’s efforts to support Maine families’ access to child care before and during the pandemic, including helping low-income parents who receive subsidies by waiving their contribution to child care fees, distributing $10 million in federal CARES Act funding directly to providers through stipends and grants, and making available $8.4 million in Coronavirus Relief Funds to reimburse providers for COVID-19-related business costs. The state additionally maintains the Child Care Choices website, which allows families to locate and connect with providers in their area.
Additionally, Governor Mills has signed the following bills into law:
- LD 86 An Act To Make Sales to Area Agencies on Aging Tax-exempt
- LD 121 An Act To Require a Background Check for High-risk Health Care Providers under the MaineCare Program
- LD 127 Resolve, To Establish a Pilot Program To Provide Grants for Professional Development in Computer Science Instruction
- LD 190 An Act To Amend the Laws Governing Retirement Benefit Reductions for Corrections Officers Currently Included in the 1998 Special Plan
- LD 198 An Act To Improve Maine's Tax Laws by Providing a Property Tax Exemption for Central Labor Councils
- LD 223 An Act To Clarify Maine's Fish and Wildlife Licensing and Registration Laws
- LD 229 An Act To Increase Investment Caps in the Maine Seed Capital Tax Credit Program
- LD 242 An Act To Support the Maine Fire Protection Services Commission
- LD 247 Resolve, To Reestablish the Commission To Study College Affordability and College Completion
- LD 267 Resolve, Directing the Department of Transportation To Erect and Maintain Markers To Commemorate and Recognize the Lafayette Trail
- LD 268 An Act To Eliminate Online Burn Permit Fees for All Areas of the State
- LD 322 An Act To Provide Occupants of Motor Vehicles with Gold Star Family Registration Plates Free Entry to State Parks and Historic Sites
- LD 347 An Act To Facilitate Maine's Climate Goals by Encouraging Use of Electric Vehicles
- LD 386 Resolve, Directing the Department of Education To Establish the Process for Transitioning the Provision of Early Childhood Special Education Services for Children with Disabilities from 4 Years of Age to under 6 Years of Age from the Regional Child Development Services System to School Administrative Units
- LD 401 An Act To Provide a Sales and Use Tax Exemption for Certain Nonprofit Cemeteries
- LD 404 An Act To Preserve Deer Habitat
- LD 435 An Act To Provide a Sales and Use Tax Exemption for Certain Educational Collaboratives
- LD 440 An Act To Conserve the Frances Perkins Homestead National Historic Landmark
- LD 467 An Act To Support E-9-1-1 Dispatchers and Corrections Officers Diagnosed with Post-traumatic Stress Disorder
- LD 492 An Act To Create a Regional Grant Program To Help Rural Businesses Find Qualified Staff
- LD 494 An Act To Change the Compensation Structure of the Maine Labor Relations Board and the State Board of Arbitration and Conciliation
- LD 514 An Act To Establish and Promote a System of Safe Disposal of Expired Marine Flares
- LD 541 An Act To Improve Health Care Data Analysis
- LD 593 An Act To Restore Eelgrass Mapping and Enhance Salt Marsh Vegetation Mapping in the State
- LD 610 An Act To Amend the Laws Governing Employer Recovery of Overcompensation Paid to an Employee
- LD 636 An Act To Encourage the Purchase of Local Foods for Public Schools
- LD 644 An Act Regarding Motor Vehicle Registration Violations
- LD 651 An Act To Stabilize Student Count in Maine's School Funding Formula
- LD 658 An Act To Provide Funding for 2 Veteran Service Officers in the Maine Bureau of Veterans' Services
- LD 693 An Act To Make the Pilot Program Providing Mental Health Case Management Services to Veterans a Permanent Program
- LD 719 Resolve, To Establish the Commission To Create a Plan To Incorporate the Probate Courts into the Judicial Branch
- LD 764 An Act To Authorize the Maine Emergency Management Agency To Requisition Food Supplies for Emergency Use or Special Duty Assignments
- LD 803 An Act Regarding Violation of a Protective Order
- LD 858 An Act To Limit Reincarceration for Persons on Probation
- LD 940 An Act To Establish Appliance Energy and Water Standards
- LD 1167 An Act Relating to Fair Chance in Employment
- LD 1603 An Act To Implement the Recommendations of the Committee To Study the Feasibility of Creating Basic Income Security
- LD 1611 An Act To Amend Maine's Harness Racing Laws Regarding Race Dates and Pari-mutuel Pools
- LD 1702 An Act To Authorize a General Fund Bond Issue To Improve Transportation
Governor Mills has vetoed the following bill:
The veto message from Governor Mills to the Legislature may be viewed by clicking on the corresponding bill link above.
Governor Mills continues to review bills enacted by the Legislature. The Governor’s Office will announce action on remaining bills in the coming days.