June 26, 2018

Contact: Christine Kirby [Breen], 294-2468

Senate sends Breen bill to support early childhood educators to the governor’s desk

AUGUSTA — On Monday, the Maine Senate enacted a bill from Sen. Cathy Breen, D-Falmouth, to provide child care providers and preschool teachers with the resources and support children struggling with challenging behaviors.

“If Maine’s young children have tools and skills to better manage their behaviors early on, they are better equipped to succeed in school and enter the workforce,” said Sen. Cathy Breen. “With more children showing persistent challenging behaviors in early childhood programs, we need to make sure our early childhood teachers have the support they need to care for every child. This program has already shown progress in Washington County and around the country.  It’s time to see what it can do for all Maine children.”

The bill — LD 1321, “An Act to Promote Social and Emotional Learning and Development in Early Childhood” — creates the Early Childhood Consultation Program pilot project, training a group of behavior experts available to assist teachers and child care providers with these issues before they result in expulsion. Requests for consultation are entirely voluntary and are designed to help keep children in a learning environment. 

Data show that more and more children are coming to preschool with persistent challenging behaviors — such as withdrawal from their teachers and peers or kicking, biting or shoving — that prevent them from participating in their education. More than half of preschool teachers report that their classrooms have been negatively impacted by a student’s challenging behavior.  

The bill received support during its public hearing from the Maine Children's Growth Council, Maine Children’s Alliance, Bath Police Chief Michael Field, Maine Education Association, Maine School Management Association, and many others. Pam Gerbi, representing the United Way, said “If we do nothing now in Maine to change the current environments in our early care settings, more children will struggle early on, perhaps be suspended or expelled from their educational setting, and then be more likely to struggle when they arrive in kindergarten, resulting in higher risk for long-term problems in school and in their employment.”

LD 1321 will now head to the governor, who has 10 days to sign it, veto it, or allow it to become law without his signature

Christine Kirby

Communications Director

Senate Democratic Office


June 1, 2018

Contact: Christine Kirby [Breen], 294-2468

Sen. Breen joins Maine Conservation Task Force

The task force includes a diverse group of individuals and organizations looking towards the future of conservation efforts in Maine

AUGUSTA — On Monday, Sen. Cathy Breen, of Falmouth, joined with a diverse group of individuals and organizations to form a new task force to explore the future of conservation efforts in Maine and build on previous success. The group plans to meet five times, get public buy-in and produce a final report, which will be released in early 2019.

“As a district made up of coastal communities, my constituents know first-hand the benefit of conservation efforts so Maine people can enjoy our natural resources year round. It’s why land trusts and the Land for Maine’s Future Program have become incredibly popular over the past thirty years,” said Sen. Breen. “I am honored to be invited to participate in this task force as we as we look towards the future of land conservation in Maine. We must continue this work to protect and preserve our natural resources so they can be enjoyed by future generations.”

The task force is chaired by David Trahan, Executive Director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine, and Tim Glidden, President of Maine Coast Heritage Trust. Membership also includes a number of different stakeholders from both the public and private sector, and across the political spectrum.

The group is set to focus on the following priorities:

  • Identifying land and water conservation initiatives that reflect the evolving priorities of Maine people and communities;
  • Improving public access to existing conservation lands;
  • Enhancing collaboration between economic development organizations, recreational groups, land trusts, municipalities, businesses, and other civic organizations;
  • Maximizing ways in which land and water conservation activities benefit local and regional economies; and,
  • Proposing funding, strategies, and policy options to support the Task Force’s recommendations.

“Maine’s natural landscape is central to our character and economy. It is critical that we do what we can to make sure it doesn’t go away,” said Sen. Breen.

Sen. Breen has served on the Falmouth Town Council from 2005 to 2011, including two terms as chairwoman. In 2007, she shepherded the passage of the Open Space referendum, one of the most successful municipal efforts to conserve local land and wildlife habitat in Maine history. Since joining the Senate, she has been a champion for conservation projects, including the Land for Maine’s Future program.