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Day two of David Pecker testimony wraps in NY Trump trial; Supreme Court hears arguments on Idaho's near-total abortion ban; ND sees a flurry of campaigning among Native candidates; and NH lags behind other states in restricting firearms at polling sites.

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The Senate moves forward with a foreign aid package. A North Carolina judge overturns an aged law penalizing released felons. And child protection groups call a Texas immigration policy traumatic for kids.

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Wyoming needs more educators who can teach kids trade skills, a proposal to open 40-thousand acres of an Ohio forest to fracking has environmental advocates alarmed and rural communities lure bicyclists with state-of-the-art bike trail systems.

Supporters of Paid Family, Medical Leave in ME Hopeful This Legislative Session

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Monday, January 23, 2023   

AARP Maine said it is hopeful lawmakers will find common ground on issues to support older Mainers this legislative session, including establishing a paid family and medical leave policy.

Surveys show more than 75% of Mainers support a plan to help those providing unpaid care to older parents or spouses while often working full-time jobs or raising children themselves.

Noël Bonam, state director of AARP Maine, said a paid family and medical leave program is needed so caregivers do not have to choose between caring for a loved one and their job.

"We know that there are over 180,000 unpaid caregivers in the state who are making all sorts of changes to their lives to support and take care of a loved one," Bonam reported.

An AARP study found unpaid caregivers in Maine provide more than $2 billion worth of care each year. Bonam argued a paid family and medical leave policy would help offer some balance and support to people working to keep their families healthy and together.

Broadband is another important issue for older Mainers, yet less than 50% of households in the state have access to reliable high-speed internet.

Bonam emphasized the pandemic revealed the importance of reliable internet service for older Mainers to access telehealth services and avoid the health risks stemming from isolation and loneliness.

"It's important for people living in remote places in the state to be able to live life in a way that feels fulfilling," Bonam contended. "In a way that feels connected to what is really going on in the rest of the state."

Bonam noted AARP is encouraging its members to regularly contact their lawmakers to share their struggles as well as hopes for impactful legislation for older Mainers this session. He added Mainers are fortunate to live in a state where residents can easily pick up the phone and give them a call.

Disclosure: AARP Maine contributes to our fund for reporting on Consumer Issues, Health Issues, Senior Issues, and Social Justice. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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