Legislative Update from Jay McCreight
We made it! Summer is here, and with it, the end of the Legislative session. I’m delighted to report that we were able to pass a balanced two-year budget before our July 1 deadline and avert a state government shutdown.
This was a session like none before. We spent many of the final days wrestling with budget negotiations, which in itself isn’t unusual. Working hard to reach bipartisan agreement on some highly complex bills, such as the one rolling back jail consolidation, is also just what the Legislature does. However, dealing with a record-breaking number of vetoes from the governor is most unusual. The session had to be extended beyond the statutory adjournment in order to deal with them. The cost to the taxpayers is estimated at $18,000 for each day that we had to extend the session.
The Legislature also reached agreement on sending out two bonds to voters this November. The first is for transportation projects, something we send to voters almost every year. The second bond is for affordable housing for older Mainers, which means both new units and resources to help winterize existing homes, so that more of our seniors can choose to age in place. I’m very proud of the work of the Legislature and I thank all of you for being in touch and sharing your priorities with me, helping me to represent you better in Augusta.
There is one more session day on July 16 for lawmakers to address the final batch of vetoed bills, including a measure that would remove most of the governor’s power to hold back voter-approved bonds.
Many of you have asked me about the controversy surrounding the governor regarding Good Will-Hinkley and Speaker Mark Eves. I am extremely troubled by the allegations and applaud the Government Oversight Committee for authorizing an investigation into the incident.
As we wait for the results of that investigation, I will be spending time in our district with constituents and planning for the work the Legislature will take up next January. If the facts show that there has been any wrongdoing on the part of the governor, we will have to consider what the next steps are. Please know that no option is off the table, and I will continue to act in a manner consistent with my oath of office. None of us in the Legislature are taking any part of this situation lightly and I know you are not either.
As always, please feel free to get in touch with me if you need help or have any questions.
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