Equal Justice on the Move - Fall

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Finding solutions to poverty and improving the lives of people with low income in Maine
Equal Justice...on the move
  October 2016
In This Issue

Kathy Phelps, a mother, grandmother and self-employed hair dresser lives in central Maine. Kathy talks about the importance of accepting federal health care funds to expand access to affordable health coverage through MaineCare (more...)


"I’m here today because there are a lot of people like me who work hard but can’t afford health insurance coverage. It’s time that we expand access to health care coverage.

This initiative will make a real different in the lives of thousands of people.

I go to work everyday to earn a living and to support my family.

I’m a mother and a grandmother, and I don’t expect anything for free. I work hard, but I can’t afford the cost of health insurance or health care.

At 59, I still have six years to go before I qualify for Medicare.

This initiative could save my life."

Kathy Phelps speaks at a press conference on October 13, 2016 in support of launching a referendum campaign to expand MaineCare.

Fall Community Listening Sessions:
Setting an Agenda for Justice




Maine Equal Justice believes in basing our work on what Mainers with low income need and the solutions they want to see. This year, we worked with the Equal Justice Partner Circle – a group of leaders from around the state who have experienced poverty – and with social service providers from around the state to start setting our legislative agenda.  (more...)




This fall brings new opportunity and hope for the coming year. While Maine faces economic challenges and growing deep child poverty, there is a path forward and solutions we can accomplish if we are working together to make things happen. 

Over the last several months we have been meeting and talking with many of you to craft a proactive plan for the next legislative session. With your help we are honing in on the issues that people care about most and identifying opportunities to improve the system and make it work better for all of us. 

If you want to take action today to promote a solution that would make a huge difference in peoples' lives and in our state, there is a very specific thing you can do to help that would be incredibly helpful. You may have heard in the news last week that we'll be collecting signatures this fall for a new ballot initiative to expand access to health care in Maine. We need volunteers to help us reach our goal on November 8th! This is an ambitious effort, but we can do it with your help. Please use this link to sign up for a shift on Election Day: sign up today and keep reading to learn more about this initiative...



Most people living in Maine believe our state should accept federal funds to provide health coverage through Medicaid expansion to low income people.

Unfortunately, while Maine’s Legislature has passed Medicaid expansion 5 times the Governor has vetoed those bills and the Legislature has ultimately failed to get it done for Maine people.  

If we can’t adopt this life-saving policy through the Legislature, then we have no choice but to take the decision directly to the voters. 

For this reason, Maine Equal Justice, along with allies, has filed an application with Maine’s Secretary of State to initiate a citizen’s ballot initiative to accept federal funds to increase access to health insurance through the MaineCare program.   

The stakes are too high not to act...  (more...)





Growing hunger and child poverty demands our immediate attention. Maine is currently trending in the wrong direction and without intervention we are all in trouble.  Recent data helps to paint this picture...(more...




Kathy's story must be heard. Far too many seniors in Maine are forced to work low-wage jobs to put food on the table. We're proud that Kathy is part of our Equal Justice Partners Circle and we're proud of her advocacy work to raise wages for over 150,000 low wage workers in Maine.


Listen to Kathy and Vote Yes on Ballot Question #4 on November 8th!





Get the latest on Maine Equal Justice's advocacy in the courts:

  • Taking Steps to Improve DHHS Client Notices
  • DHHS Rule Ignores Intent of the Legislature and Letter of the Law
  • People Eligible for Food Assistance are Improperly Denied Help



New EBT Restrictions in the TANF Program:


Last year the Legislature imposed limits on what you can buy with TANF benefits using an EBT card. Unfortunately, some people may not know about the new rules and these purchases will not be blocked at the point of sale - this means that someone could violate the rule without realizing it and then be penalized after the fact. Help us get the word out so that people know about these changes in the law and their rights so they're not unfairly penalized.. (more...)



Wrap Up:


Many people are feeling frustrated these days, particularly with government and politics. The political climate is challenging and it seems that both reason and compassion have gotten harder to come by. That is why we need to work even harder and come together to make change happen in 2017.

Maine people know how to come together and solve problems. Now is the time for that kind of collaboration and problem solving.

One way we can all make a difference is to exercise our right to vote. Please be sure to vote on November 8th for candidates who are interested in solving problems and getting results for all Maine people.

Over the coming months, we will be working with others to prapare for the legislative session ahead. We hope that you will join with us to improve the lives of people living on the edge who deserve better. Together we can create opportunity so that everyone living in Maine has a shot at realizing their dreams and their full potential. We can ensure that every Maine family has food in the fridge, a place to call home, and access to affordable health care. 



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