Two bills sponsored by state Rep. Jay McCreight, D-Harpswell, took effect in August — one to protect patients’ access to abortion care and another to address the availability of counseling services.
L.D. 1899 gives health care facilities the ability to establish and mark a “medical safety zone” extending 8 feet from the center of an entryway, according to a statement from the House Democratic Office. Within the zone, individuals may not intentionally block entrances or exits, harass or threaten patients, or make so much noise that patients cannot hear or process information once inside.
“Safe, unimpeded access to abortion is central to our body autonomy, agency and ability to make choices about our own health care,” McCreight said in a statement. “This bill will provide additional important protections so that people in Maine will no longer be repeatedly and intentionally obstructed from receiving the care they want and need.”
L.D. 1920 addresses Maine’s need for clinical behavioral health care and aims to grow the state’s counseling workforce.
The bill establishes Maine’s participation in the Counseling Compact, a multiple-state agreement allowing professional counselors who are both licensed at the clinical level and residing in a member state to practice in other member states without needing multiple licenses, according to the House Democratic Office. This will give out-of-state professionals relocating to Maine the ability to start practices without delay.
“We have a significant and increasing need for behavioral health care services in Maine, with many people waiting for help,” McCreight said in a statement. “This new law will help eliminate barriers to interstate professional counseling practices, improve patient access to these services and ensure that the highest quality standards are maintained.”
Seventeen states have joined the Counseling Compact, while five more have legislation pending to join.
Now in her fourth term, McCreight serves as House chair of the Legislature’s Marine Resources Committee and as a member of the Veterans and Legal Affairs Committee.