Legislative Committee of the Maine Children’s Growth Council
Standards for Submitting Comment on Pending Legislation
Maine Children’s Growth Council was charged in statute to improve the social and financial investments in Maine’s young children and their families. This includes advancing the goals and priorities of the Council’s strategic plan, which is currently addressed in the Invest Early for 2020: Building the Foundation for Maine’s Future report.
To achieve progress on the priorities in the strategic plan, the Council’s work may occasionally involve providing comment on bills submitted for consideration to the State Legislature.
- The Council may choose to provide written comments on specific legislation based upon the request and recommendation of its members when proposed legislation either:
- Addresses directly the statute that created the MCGC, or
- Positively or negatively effects the specific Council’s priorities noted in the strategic plan. These include:
- Increase adequate, appropriate and timely screening of young children that leads to equally adequate, appropriate and timely services.
- Increasing prevention services to prevent health and developmental problems and toxic stress including, but not limited to, support efforts to reduce Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs or Toxic Stress), to enhance home visiting systems in Maine, and improve parent’s access to evidence-based parent education opportunities.
- Increase a stable, knowledgeable early childhood workforce compensated based on experience and education to assure Maine’s youngest children of high quality early care and education services. Support Quality Rating and Information System, Quality for ME, Maine Early Learning Guidelines, and Cross Systems Professional Development.
- Increase shared responsibility by promoting adequate data collection and analysis, program monitoring and evaluation, and collaboration of efforts to help build a quality system in Maine.
- The written comments will provide information as to the impact, either positive, negative or both, that the proposed legislative has on the priorities noted in Section I, B. MCGC’s written comments will not take a position supporting or opposing legislation, although individual MCGC members may do so in their professional or individual capacity.
- The co-chairs of the Council shall draft proposed comments or shall designate an MCGC member(s) to do so. Every effort shall be made to circulate the proposed comments to all MCGC members via email prior to the meeting when a decision is made to ratify those comments.
- All comments must have the support of two thirds of the voting Council members when the comments are reviewed. Members not present may submit their vote via email until the close of business of the day of the meeting, and those votes shall be reflected in the minutes for that meeting.
- Other requests for the Council to provide comment on proposed legislation will require a written request to the Council co-chairs with a short description of the bill’s purpose and how it will promote the priorities listed in the Invest Early report.
- The Council may choose to refrain from comment on legislation involving young children and their families.
- The MCGC has representatives from many sectors including state government. It is understood that not all Council members will be able to support comments made on specific legislation. Any MCGC member may abstain from a vote to endorse the Council’s public comment. Written testimony should include a disclaimer that not all members necessarily support the comments.
- Given that amendments to proposed bills are offered and approved on an expedited basis during the legislative session, MCGC members may be required to review and respond to new language via electronic mail, as opposed to having discussion at a regular MCGC meeting. Under those circumstances, the MCGC co-chairs and/or the MCGC member serving as the point person for comment on pending legislation shall make efforts to disseminate proposed amendments to the full Council in order to provide each member with an opportunity for input. It is the responsibility of each member to provide comment within the timeframe given or loose the opportunity for input.
- The MCGC reserves the right to draft and develop legislation that it believes is significant for the advancement of priorities in the strategic plan.