AUGUSTA, MAINE – Governor Paul R. LePage has expressed his extreme disappointment in lawmakers who neglected to identify funding for one of Maine’s most troubling epidemics.
During the early morning hours last week, lawmakers decided to ignore a Governor’s bill aimed to provide Maine with additional resources to combat the State’s growing drug problem.
LD 1811, "An Act To Appropriate and Allocate Funds To Strengthen the State's Efforts To Investigate, Prosecute and Punish Persons Committing Drug Crimes", sponsored by Senator Gary Plummer, would have provided funding for four new District Court Judge positions within the Judicial Branch, fourteen Drug Enforcement Agent positions in the Department of Public Safety and four Assistant Attorney General positions within the Office of the Attorney General.
“While liberals dominated their time on trying to expand welfare this session they ignored bills that would truly help Mainers,” said Governor LePage. “It’s clear that lawmakers misplaced their priorities this session by refusing to take action on a bill that would have combatted the drug crimes epidemic. The bill had broad bipartisan support, including endorsement from the Judicial Branch and law enforcement across the state. Lawmakers have a major disconnect with the Maine people who want real reform. I find it appalling that they have neglected their duty to provide for basic public safety and safe streets,” said Governor LePage.
LD 1811 was submitted to the Legislature in early March leaving ample time for public discussion and debate on the bill. It was killed in the early morning hours during the last days of the 126th Legislature.
Last fall, in an effort to learn more about the increased drug problems in Maine, Governor LePage hosted two Governor’s Drug Awareness Summits in Westbrook and Auburn. The Governor and Public Safety Commissioner John Morris joined local law enforcement from around the state to focus on the impacts of drug crimes on local communities, and the amount of illicit drug use that is taking place in Maine.
“Mainers need to feel safe in their homes and communities,” said Governor LePage. “The personal and economic costs associated with drug and alcohol abuse are significant. These forums provided the Administration an opportunity to discuss and work with local law enforcement to identify what absolutely needed to be done to fight those who are poisoning our communities with illegal drugs. This bill came as a result of those discussions. It’s inexcusable that the Legislature ignored this solution proving that they are all talk and no action.”