Rep. Anne-Marie Mastraccio
By Zendelle Bouchard
In the 131st Maine Legislature, Sanford’s four state legislators have focused on priorities including taxation and health care. In this article, we profile the work of Rep. Anne-Marie Mastraccio. Rep. Lucas Lanigan is also profiled in this issue (see that story). Next week, we will profile Rep. Ann Fredericks and Sen. Matt Harrington.
Anne-Marie Mastraccio (D) represents District 142, which includes parts of both Sanford and Springvale. She is a member of the Committee on Government Oversight and the Committee on Health Coverage, Insurance and Financial Services.
In the second session (2024), lawmakers are allowed to introduce budgetary and emergency appropriation bills only. Mastraccio introduced the following:
- LD 2136 – An Act to Provide Financial Support for Shelters for Unhoused Individuals. This bill would increase the state’s annual shelter-operating subsidy from $2.5 million to $12.5 million. At a public hearing on Jan. 16, City Manager Steve Buck testified in favor of the bill. He said that Sanford “is using all tools allowable to address the capacity needs of our unhoused populations,” but that the strategies that worked in 2021, when the Sanford Police Department’s Mental Health Unit was created, are no longer working due to insufficient capacities in shelter services. After a work session on Jan. 30, the Committee on Housing voted unanimously that the bill Ought to Pass. Mastraccio said the bill has a lot of support. However, there are multiple steps the bill must still go through before it can be enacted.
She was the primary sponsor on the following bills in the first session (2023):
- LD 1026 – Resolve, To Direct the University of Maine System to Establish a Dental Therapy Degree Program. This resolution was amended to direct UMaine to study the feasibility of establishing such a program and was passed by the legislature and signed into law by the governor.
- LD 1256 – An Act to Increase Access to Oral Health Care by Expanding the Maine Dental Education Loan Program. This bill expands eligibility for the Maine Dental Education Loan Program to include dental hygienists, dental therapists, expanded function dental assistants and dental assistants. It was passed by the legislature and signed into law by the governor.
- LD 1370 – An Act to Simplify the School Budget Validation Process. This bill would have changed the month from June to November for voting on the question of whether to continue an annual regional school unit budget validation referendum process. The bill would have raised the number of voters required on a petition for an article to consider reinstatement of a budget validation referendum process from 10% to 25% of the number of voters voting in the last gubernatorial election in the municipalities in the school administrative unit. It also would have required at least 25% of the total number of voters who voted in the last gubernatorial election in the area covered by the regional school unit to vote in order for it to be valid. The bill was referred to the Committee on Education and Cultural Affairs, but after two work sessions was reported out as Ought Not to Pass. Mastraccio said her concern with the budget validation process is that not enough voters turn out to make it a valid vote. She said there was another bill proposed with similar intent, but if that one fails to pass, she may rework her bill and resubmit it if she is elected to another term.
- LD 1407 – An Act to Amend the Maine Insurance Code Regarding Payments by Health Insurance Carriers to Providers. This bill amends the Maine Insurance Code in several ways, which Mastraccio said will limit the number of times insurance carriers can make changes to the contracts they sign with health care providers without detailing the changes. It will also limit the amount of time insurance carriers can retroactively change the terms of the contract and then demand payment for the changes. The bill was carried over to this year, and on Jan. 16 the Committee on Health Coverage, Insurance and Financial Services held a work session and made amendments, after which it was voted Ought to Pass as amended. It has not been scheduled for a floor vote yet.
- LD 1581 – An Act Regarding Dental Hygienists and Dental Therapists. This bill makes changes to the supervision requirements and scope of practice for dental hygienists, independent practice dental hygienists, public health dental hygienists and dental therapists. With several amendments, it was passed by the legislature and signed into law by the governor.
- LD 1766 – An Act to Require Insurance Carriers to Compensate Providers for Costs of Providing Medical Records for Utilization Review. This bill would have required a carrier requesting medical records or documents for utilization review to compensate a health care provider for reasonable expenses to provide the requested records or documents. The bill was referred to the Committee on Health Coverage, Insurance and Financial Services, which reported it out as Ought Not to Pass. Mastraccio said this was another bill about trying to reduce costs for health care providers. She added that the issue is being addressed by other pending bills, but it may also be worked out between the stakeholders before any legislation is passed.
- LD 2040 – An Act to Restore the Board of Dental Practice’s Authority to Issue Letters of Guidance. This bill restores authority to the Board of Dental Practice to issue letters of guidance involving matters other than a dismissal of a complaint against a licensee. On Jan. 25, the Committee on Health Coverage, Insurance and Financial Services voted unanimously to recommend passage after making some amendments.
Mastraccio’s cosponsored bills that became law include:
- LD 224, which prevents insurance companies from denying reimbursement to health care providers for not participating in maintenance of certificate programs.
- LD 600, which expanded availability of naloxone hydrochloride, used to treat opioid overdoses.
- LD935, which removed barriers to abortion coverage in private insurance.
- LD1092, which established a program to prevent and respond to the commercial sexual exploitation of children in Maine.
- LD1123, which will enable cardiovascular and pulmonary disease suffered by law enforcement officers in the course of their duties to be covered by workers’ compensation.
- LD1229, which supports peer mentors for parents involved in the child protective services program.
- LD1366, which creates an alternative pathway to certification for Ed Tech IIIs.
- LD1453, which amended the physical therapy practice laws.
- LD1559, which reinvigorated the state’s Public Transit Advisory Council.
- LD1619, which made changes to Maine’s reproductive privacy laws and allows physicians to make the determination of whether an abortion after viability is necessary.
- LD1619, which allows staggered terms for members of the Maine Indian Tribal-State Commission.
- LD1709, which requires the adoption of rules regarding the operation of construction hoists and training of hoist operators.
- LD1749, which establishes the Physical Therapy Licensure Compact.
- LD1836, which prohibits health insurers from requiring cost sharing for medically necessary breast examinations, with some exceptions.
- LD1856, which resolves to study the establishment of a MaineCare public health insurance plan.
- LD1895, which establishes the Maine Offshore Wind Renewable Energy and Economic Development Program to be administered by the Governor’s Energy Office in collaboration with the Public Utilities Commission
- LD1970, which created the Maine Indian Child Welfare Act to establish procedures and standards for cases concerning custody proceedings, foster care placements, termination of parental rights and adoptions involving Indian children.
With regard to future priorities, Mastraccio said she hopes the state will establish a blue-ribbon commission on the state of oral healthcare in Maine, with the goal of increasing the number of dentists and other oral care providers in Maine. She said she is also keeping an eye on other bills that are of particular importance to Sanford, such as one relating to cable TV franchise fees.
For more information, read this detailed article on the path a bill takes through Maine’s legislature: https://legislature.maine.gov/house/house/Documents/PathofLegislation.
Mastraccio’s House webpage is here: https://legislature.maine.gov/house/house/MemberProfiles/Details/111.