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State lawmakers head back to work for new legislative session

Governor Mills and democratic leaders plan to introduce a new bill aimed at improving health insurance for Maine people and small businesses.

AUGUSTA, Maine — Lawmakers are headed back to work in Augusta Wednesday to start the new legislative session this year. 

Hundreds of new bills are on the table to tackle everything from broadband and criminal justice reform, to climate change and improving health care for Mainers.

Gov. Mills and democratic leadership plan to announce a new bill to improve health insurance for Maine people and small businesses Wednesday. 

The details of that legislation will be shared in a press conference scheduled for noon.

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It will likely build on efforts already passed to expand Medicaid and guarantee coverage for those with pre-existing conditions, according to a release.

Some legislation is aimed at helping small businesses provide employees with health insurance, primarily by offering incentives. 

“This session, I look forward to working with the Legislature to continue to tackle health insurance issues, to support quality early and adult education, to strengthen our economy and expand our workforce, and to protect Maine people from the impacts of climate change,” Mills said in a statement.

The new session is starting with at least a $120 million state budget surplus.

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Many republicans have criticized Gov. Mills for too much spending, but she told NEWS CENTER Maine she does not intend to raise taxes.

Mills will submit a supplemental budget that would increase spending. It is unclear exactly what that budget would entail. 

One thing it is likely to include is more funding for the Department of Health Human Services and child protective services. 

“By tackling these issues, Maine can and will continue to make progress for its people and future generations," Mills said.