Legislative Update 1/27/2020
$16 Minimum Wage for Support Staff , Wednesday, January 29 at 9 a.m.
LD 1965 is MEA’s bill to raise the minimum wage for school support staff to $16 per hour. The public hearing is scheduled in the Labor Committee on Wednesday, January 29. We would love to have MEA members there to share their stories and ask the Committee to support this bill. We know many Maine school districts are experiencing huge shortages of support staff. Last year, a school in the Belfast area had to cancel school because they could not find bus drivers to transport the students.

If you can attend, please let me know right away. If you are unable to attend, please consider sending us video testimony. If you can shoot a short (2-3 minute) video with your phone and send it to me at jkosinski@maineea.org), I can share that with members of the Labor Committee.

MEA is disappointed the hearing is scheduled during a time when many support staff cannot attend, so please consider sending in video testimony or written testimony MEA can share it with the committee.

If you would like to attend, email me at jkosinski@maineea.org right away.  

Retiree Health Care Improvements, Wednesday, January 29 at 9 a.m.  
The Education Committee will conduct a work session on making improvements to the amount the state pays towards retiree health care benefits. Currently, the state pays 45% of the cost of the health care plan for retirees, but we hope to make progress on this issue this session.

If you’d like to attend this meeting, please let me know by emailing jkosinski@maineea.org. This is a work session, so MEA will be there to observe, not speak. Please wear RED!  

Labor Bills: On January 29, 1pm, the Labor Committee will hold public hearings on a number of key bills that MEA supports. LD 1949 fixes a mistake last year that would have included Ed Tech I’s in MainePERS. That was a mistake and this bill will fix it so Ed Tech I’s can stay in Social Security. LD 1959 fixes a law that currently requires a person to work for 6 months in order to be a “public employee.” This bill will remove the 6 month requirement from law to avoid any confusion in the future.

LD 2019 requires public employers, such as school boards and the higher ed institutions, to provide step increases and maintain health insurance to employees even when contracts expire. Red for Ed!

Lastly, don’t forget to sign up for MEA #RedForEd Days on Tuesday, February 18th and Wednesday, February 19th: http://bit.ly/2020-Red-for-Ed. The snow day is Thursday, February 20th. Feel free to share this with others.  During these days we will be talking about the bills above, among many others.  Please join us if you can. As always, call or email with any questions.