AUGUSTA - Governor Paul R. LePage will propose emergency legislation to fund his initiative to fight drug crime by adding Maine Drug Enforcement Agents, judges and prosecutors, which was a major initiative he outlined in his State of the State Address.
"Although my proposal was widely supported, it died when the Appropriations Committee failed to fund it," said the Governor. "But this issue is much too important to let die. I am pleased that we have found the funding to help combat the drug epidemic that is ravaging our state. We cannot wait any longer. We must act now to crack down on drug dealers and make our streets safe for Maine families."
The Governor will propose using revenue in the Unclaimed Property Fund account to pay for LD 1811, "An Act to Appropriate and Allocate Funds to Strengthen the State's Efforts to Investigate, Prosecute and Punish Persons Committing Drug Crimes." LD 1811 would add 10 new MDEA agents, two new District Court judges, deputy marshals and assistant clerks, and two prosecutors in the Attorney General's office.
In addition, the bill would provide $750,000 to augment existing drug addiction treatment programs. The total cost of the proposal is about $2.5 million.
The proposal initially had broad bipartisan support in the Legislature, and it won endorsement from the judicial branch and law enforcement agencies across the state.