February 2, 2018
AUGUSTA – Maine’s 16 school-based health clinics will once again receive state funding if a bill sponsored by Rep. Jim Handy, D-Lewiston, becomes law.
The Legislature’s Health and Human Services Committee, in a vote of 8-4, recommended that the Legislature restore funding to the clinics.
“These clinics provide a vital service to the kids in their communities,” said Handy. “I am glad that members of both parties on the committee voted to make sure we reverse this cut. Balancing a budget on the backs of our kids is not acceptable.”
Last year’s biennial budget included $10 million in cuts to the Fund for a Healthy Maine. The bulk of funding for Maine’s school-based health clinics was provided through the Fund for a Healthy Maine as well as federal matching dollars through the Maternal Child Health Services Block Grant. As a result of those cuts, the Department of Health and Human Services notified the clinics that they would lose Fund for a Healthy Maine funding. The loss of state dollars also eliminated the matching block grant funds.
Handy’s bill, LD 1710, “An Act To Restore Maine's School-based Health Centers,” seeks to restore state funding to the clinics, which would also restore their eligibility for federal block grant funds. The amended version of the bill funds the clinics for two years.
"Our local school-based center is beloved because it works so well to keep kids healthy and safe," said Sen. Shenna Bellows, D-Manchester. "Restoring funding for school-based health centers statewide is critical to the drug prevention work we so desperately need to do with Maine youth."
The bill will now go to the full House of Representatives for a vote.
Lindsay Crete [Handy], c. 231-1442
Christine Kirby [Bellows] c. 294-2468