Tuesday, March 28, 2023

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Nashville mourns six dead in the latest mass shooting, the EPA takes public input on a proposal to clean up Pennsylvania's drinking water, and find ways to get more Zzz's during Sleep Awareness Month.

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A shooting leaves six dead at a school in Nashville, the White House commends Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's decision to pause judicial reform, and mayors question the reach of state and federal authorities over local decisions.

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Finding childcare is a struggle everywhere, prompting North Carolina's Transylvania County to try a new approach. Maine is slowly building-out broadband access, but disagreements remain over whether local versus national companies should get the contracts, and specialty apps like "Farmers Dating" help those in small communities connect online.

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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