There has been a good amount of discussion among providers upon hearing of this bill that is coming before the Health and Human Services Committee on the afternoon of Feb. 13th. Following is information available from the State of Maine legislative site on this bill.
Presented by Representative Michael PERKINS
93 Willey Point, Oakland, ME 04963
Work: (207) 465-4835 Cell: (207) 716-6968 Home: (207) 716-6968
Seat Number: 57 House District: 77
Town(s): Oakland (Part) / Sidney
Cosponsored by Representatives: FAULKINGHAM of Winter Harbor, HEAD of Bethel, HUTCHINS of Penobscot, JAVNER of Chester, NADEAU of Winslow, PICKETT of Dixfield, SKOLFIELD of Weld.
What does LD 222 change?
This is a repeal of sections of 22 MRSA around the usage of state or federal funds to reimburse for child care services. The summary indicates that if adopted LD 222 would stop providers from charging any fee for any period of time they are closed for vacation. It would also stop the reimbursing of recipients of child care services for any period of time their provider is closed because the provider is on vacation.
Here is the exact language as printed:
Be it enacted by the People of the State of Maine as follows:
Sec. 1. 22 MRSA §3737, sub-§1, as enacted by PL 1993, c. 158, §2, is repealed and the following enacted in its place:
1. Prohibitions on payments. The department may not make:
A. Cash payments to recipients for child care services provided under this chapter, except when those payments represent reimbursement for services already provided to the recipient; or
B. Payments to providers of child care services or recipients for child care services provided under this chapter for any period of time the provider is closed because the provider is on vacation.
Sec. 2. 22 MRSA §8301-A, sub-§10 is enacted to read:
10. Vacation. A certified family child care provider, a licensed child care facility or a person who provides day care in that person’s home for one or 2 children whose care is paid for by state or federal funds may not charge any fee for any period of time the provider is closed because the provider is on vacation.
Sec. 3. 22 MRSA §8402, sub-§3, ¶G is enacted to read:
G. The nursery school may not charge any fee for any period of time the nursery school is closed because the provider is on vacation.
As written, it appears this bill would impact all legally operating providers of child care that provide care to families receiving subsidy.
A member of FCCAM’s Board recently spoke to Rep. Perkins to see if we could get more information around the purpose/intent of his original LR. From our conversation, the reason behind Rep. Perkins original LR was to help families that have to pay for care when their provider is closed and also find themselves having to pay additional fees for care during that time by another individual. Representative Perkin represented the original intent of his bill was to cover all families with children in care, not just those receiving state or federal reimbursement for care. From our discussion his concern appears to be around the financial hardship families can be found in when having to pay double for a single week of care.
Rep. Perkins seemed open to further discussion on LD 222 and FCCAM’s Public Policy Committee will be looking into this bill further and possible avenues of addressing the issue it raises.