2017-08-17 / Editorial

Help is near if issue persists

Legislative Lowdown
by Rep. Martin Grohman

One of the most rewarding parts of being a state representative is being able to assist constituents with state matters. Although it is not always the case, I am sometimes able to help. Let me give you a couple examples.

The state of Maine licenses many personal care professions, including nail technicians. This caused a problem for a successful local business. Although experienced, trained and professional, a member of their staff was unable to work as a nail tech because she could not get her Maine license. The situation had existed for several months and was resulting in lost revenue for both the nail technician and the business. I contacted state officials with the Barbering and Cosmetology Licensing Program, who were helpful, but because her original training was in another country, we had to obtain the services of a translator. After properly translating the documents and verifying their authenticity, we were able to obtain the license.

I make it a point to work with veterans and regular readers may know that I am especially focused on supporting Vietnam veterans as we mark the 50th anniversary of this conflict. Many unfortunately returned home with some form of disability and are eligible for compensation. A Vietnam veteran who was part of a state honor ceremony that I arranged shared with me that he had been unable for many years to obtain the disability compensation he felt he was eligible for. I contacted the Maine Bureau of Veterans Services, and upon investigating the file, identified a technical error that had caused the payments to be held. Requiring several weeks of work, this was an especially gratifying opportunity to correct a problem that had been frustrating this honored veteran for many years. In the end he received the benefits as well as back payments, an outcome I was very pleased with.

A successful and growing business located in the mill complex had made a commendable effort to work with pre-release inmates, who often have significant potential but find it difficult to connect with employers that will give them a chance. It had hired a number of members of this population as part of its manufacturing operation. While some had not been successful, one individual in particular showed high potential. However, due to a technicality, she was not eligible for transitional housing, which in turn disqualified her for the job. This was a difficult problem to work out, and we were not initially able to correct it. The case required action by the governor. I contacted him and he intervened on the person’s behalf, getting one more person back on their feet and helping a local manufacturing business at the same time.

There have, of course, been many situations where I have unfortunately not been able to help. I am currently working on several situations related to Public Law 488, which restricts opioid prescriptions. There are many misconceptions and misunderstandings among both the medical professional and patient community related to this new legislation. In one case I have been able to clarify requirements to allow an individual to find a suitable prescription, but in two others I have so far been unsuccessful (although you’ll note I didn’t say I was giving up).

I am also frequently contacted regarding custody matters related to the Department of Health and Human Services. These are often complex, challenging situations. I cannot generally advocate for one side or another but I can make sure everyone has the proper contacts within DHHS and is being communicated with regularly.

I make it a point to maintain good relationships with the hardworking staff at our state agencies. If I can help you with a nagging issue at the state level that is preventing you from achieving your goals, please feel free to reach out to me at martin.grohman@legislature.maine.gov or 283- 1476.

Rep. Martin Grohman of Biddeford is serving his second term in the Maine Legislature and is a member of the Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee. Outside the legislature, he is chair of the Biddeford Solid Waste Commission (note that Biddeford’s Household Hazardous Waste Day is Saturday September 9). Marty also hosts a podcast for Maine entrepreneurs called The Grow Maine Show, available on Apple Podcasts. Sign up for legislative updates at www.growmaine.com or facebook.com/repgrohman.

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