Mainers will have an opportunity to vote on a $15 million housing bond to build affordable senior housing across the state.

The bond heads to the ballot this November because Gov. Paul LePage failed to sign or veto the bill in 10 day period afforded to him under the Maine Constitution.

 “The bond will address a dire need for affordable senior housing across our state,” said House Speaker Eves, D-North Berwick, who sponsored the bipartisan proposal. “It will also help create good housing and construction jobs in every county in the state. It’s a win for seniors and our economy.”

Speaker Eves proposed the bond as part of his “KeepME Home” plan to help seniors live independently in their homes and communities.

Maine has a shortage of nearly 9,000 affordable rental homes for low income older people, and that this shortfall will grow to more than 15,000 by 2022 unless action is taken to address the problem, according to a report by independent national research firm Abt Associates. The state also has the oldest population and the 8th oldest housing stock in the nation.

The bond measure was among the fifty-one bills passed by the Legislature and sent to the Governor on June 30. According to the constitution, the governor has 10 days, not including Sundays, to sign or veto a bill. If he does not take either of those actions, the bill becomes law if the Legislature has not finally adjourned. For these 51 bills, the window closed on Saturday. The Office of the Revisor will chapter them today.

The governor incorrectly asserted that the bills will not become law, despite the clarity provided by the Maine Constitution, precedent and an opinion issued Friday by Attorney General Janet Mills on Friday. The governor’s argument is based on an illogical claim that the Legislature is finally adjourned, which would mean that the clock for the 10-day window has stopped.

The Legislature’s first regular session remains under way, as evidenced by its plans to return Thursday to take up the remainder of its work, including vetoes issued in accordance with the Maine Constitution.

 

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