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AUGUSTA, ME - State Rep. Meredith Strang Burgess has been appointed to serve on two committees at the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), an organization that provides research, technical assistance and opportunities for policymakers to exchange ideas on the most pressing state issues. The appointments were announced recently by House Speaker Hannah Pingree.

Rep. Strang Burgess will serve on the NCSL's Health Committee and the Human Services and Welfare Committee. She said the appointments are a good fit with her work in the Maine Legislature, where she serves on the Health and Human Services Committee.

"I'm looking forward to meeting legislators from other parts of the country," said Rep. Strang Burgess (R-Cumberland). "The health care and health insurance issue is extremely important and very complex, as we are seeing now in the national debate. I think it's important to understand that the best ideas for dealing with it don't always come from Washington. The states are capable of developing workable solutions to tough problems, and NCSL is a good forum to discuss them."

The NCSL Health Committee has jurisdiction over state and federal health programs, legislation, regulations and policies. Its purpose is to educate Congress and federal agencies about state concerns regarding developments in federal health initiatives. Recently, the committee has addressed Medicare prescription drug coverage; Medicaid; health care cost containment; health care access; and public health and prevention.

The NCSL Human Services and Welfare Committee has jurisdiction over state and federal work in four major categories: social services, income security, food and nutrition and immigration. Social services involve child welfare, child care and Head Start. Income security issues address welfare reform and welfare to work programs, child support, food stamps, child nutrition and commodity distribution. Immigration issues include refugee assistance and benefits to legal aliens. The Human Services and Welfare Committee also works with states on engaging faith-based organizations and proposals supporting healthy marriages.

Rep. Strang Burgess said one of the strengths of the NCSL is its firm support for state sovereignty. "At a time of growing federal encroachment on states' rights, we're fortunate to have this strong advocate for federalism," she said. The NCSL, based in Denver, is a bipartisan organization. Its committees have no actual legislative authority. Instead, they attempt to educate Congress and federal agencies as to state concerns regarding the most pressing state issues.


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Rep. Strang Burgess is a second-term legislator representing House District 108, which includes Chebeague Island, Cumberland, Long Island and part of North Yarmouth.


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