Testimony: Increasing Child Care Choices


Testimony in Support of LD 1729: “An Act to Reduce Child Care Provider Regulation”

Senator Baldacci, Representative Meyer, and the distinguished members of the Committee on Health and Human Services, my name is Nick Murray and I serve as director of policy for Maine Policy Institute. We are a free market think tank, a nonpartisan, non-profit organization that advocates for individual liberty and economic freedom in Maine. Thank you for the opportunity to testify in support of LD 1729.

We are glad to see that it is becoming widely recognized that family care providers in Maine have been leaving the market in droves. Even though capacity has grown somewhat, prices are prohibitory for many parents. The situation has been worsening since we sounded the alarm in 2018. Now, it requires an urgent solution.

That’s why it is time to reduce the regulatory burden on the industry to expand options for families all across the state, for all income levels. We can do this without spending any more taxpayer dollars. This bill holds the path if we choose to take it.

LD 1729 eliminates onerous department requirements on licensing and employment, as well as rules prescribing 35 sq ft per child space for providers, what types of snacks may be served, and the provision of extra clothing for children in care, etc. 

Loosening child-to-staff ratios and aligning minimum threshold for family care licensure to national norms takes into account the reality of living in rural Maine and the current stalled nature of the market.

Please deem LD 1729 “Ought To Pass” and begin to unravel the web of rules and regulations holding back child care entrepreneurs from expanding to serve needy parents across Maine.

Attached below is an op-ed published in the Portland Press Herald on May 9, 2023, written by my colleague, Jacob Posik, director of communications at Maine Policy Institute. It succinctly outlines the problem, recent history, the policy landscape, and our view of the solution. Thank you for your time and consideration.