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Maine Legislature approves governor's supplemental budget

The Maine Legislature enacted the supplemental budget with a two-thirds majority vote Tuesday. It will go into law as soon as Gov. Janet Mills signs it.

AUGUSTA, Maine — The supplemental budget is on its way to Gov. Janet Mills’ desk and awaiting her signature, as of Tuesday evening.

The Maine House first reviewed LD 1995, the bill related to the supplemental budget, Tuesday afternoon. Last week, it passed unanimously in the appropriations committee, a move members brought attention to on Tuesday before a vote.

“[We] worked very, very hard into late hours to come to some commonality and common bipartisanship,” Rep. Teresa Pierce, D-Falmouth, House chair of the Joint Standing Committee on Appropriations and Financial Affairs, said. “I think it speaks for [the committee’s] diligence and commitment to the process.”

Ranking member of the committee Rep. Sawin Millett Jr., R-Waterford, echoed Pierce’s sentiments.

“The events of last Thursday night into early Friday really put the frosting on the cake because we were able to get to consensus. Well, unanimity,” Millett said.

The bill did receive some pushback, mainly from three representatives who took to the floor to explain why they could not vote in favor of the supplemental budget. 

Rep. Jeffrey Evangelos, I-Friendship, explained he was not happy the bill includes $850 relief checks for people who make six-figure salaries.

Rep. Laurel Libby, R-Auburn, said she wanted to see the budget include funding to provide legal services to low-income people instead of granting “wish list” items. 

Rep. Sophia Warren, D-Scarborough, expressed her disappointment that the budget doesn’t include much funding to address environmental issues.

“Giving much of the money back and beginning to make changes to our burdensome tax code is good – but state government is keeping some of the money and not using it to fund essential needs,” Libby said.

“If climate change is a pressing issue for some in this body – for yourselves, for your children, for your grandchildren – this budget does not reflect that view or that urgency,” Warren said.

Despite those remarks, the House and Senate passed the supplemental budget as is, with an overwhelming majority. 

From there, the House and the Senate voted to enact LD 1995 as an emergency measure, with a two-thirds majority in each chamber.

The bill awaits Mills' review and signature. Upon signing, the the bill will take effect immediately. 

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