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Maine governor signs anti-poverty bills

June 28, 2019

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — Maine’s Democratic governor has signed legislation directing nearly $20 million in federal block grant funds over the next two years to expand assistance programs that help low-income residents find jobs.

Gov. Janet Mills says the bills signed Wednesday will help address Maine’s workforce shortage and impoverished children.

A bill sponsored by Democratic House Speaker Sara Gideon, who’s running for U.S. Senate, will eliminate the gross income test for temporary governmental assistance. The new law also requires transitional MaineCare coverage for individuals who became ineligible because they earned more money.

Republican Rep. Trey Stewart’s bill would address that “benefits cliff” for recipients of food and cash benefits, while also allowing welfare recipients to count time spent pursuing their GED toward their work requirements. Stewart said such reforms encourage people to work.

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