Heating relief for Mainers advances in Maine politics

Heating relief for Mainers advances in Maine politics

The Maine legislature held an hours-long public hearing Wednesday on the bill to consider several amendments.

AUGUSTA, Maine — Maine’s appropriations and financial affairs committee advanced legislation that would provide working families and older Mainers emergency energy relief funding.  

Lawmakers on a special legislative committee Wednesday night unanimously backed the proposed emergency winter energy relief bill that would distribute $398 million in energy relief.

If it passes, an estimated 880,000 eligible Mainers would get a one-time $450 payment.

According to the office of Senate President Tory Jackson, the checks will go to eligible Maine taxpayers making less than $100,000 a year, less than $150,000 a year if filing as head of household, or couples making less than $200,000. 

This comes after a similar proposal put forward by Gov. Janet Mills was blocked by republicans in the senate earlier this month. Republican leadership said they felt the issue needed a public hearing. 

Lawmakers held a public hearing for hours Wednesday, and heard from countless advocates, citizens and state officials. 

Troy Jackson, Maine senate president, said the following in a statement: 

“One thing is clear: Maine people from one end of the state to the other are worried about how they will afford to heat their homes this winter. And they’re worried about their friends, neighbors and family members too. There is no time to waste. Winter is no longer around the corner. It’s here, and we know the weather will only get colder.  

“I’m hopeful that today’s public hearing underscoring the urgency of the energy crisis allowed lawmakers and members of the public the opportunity to ask questions and get the answers they need to support this compromise proposal. With this Winter Emergency Energy Relief package, lawmakers can help folks get by as we enter the heart of winter. To all the Mainers who came out to testify today, thank you for weighing in on this proposal and outlining the work that must be tackled in the upcoming session,” he concluded. 

The Maine Legislature is set to reconvene Jan. 4. 

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