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Maine Legislature convenes special session on bonds, state hospital funding

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August 26, 2013

Maine

By Nick Katers

AUGUSTA, Maine: Governor Paul LePage called for a special session of the Maine State Legislature last week to debate a $149.5 million state bond measure. This bond package includes $100 million for transportation, $35.5 million for school funding and $14 million to improve state armories. The Joint Appropriations Committee approved the bond measure by unanimous vote on August 22 and the full Legislature will vote later this week. A two-thirds majority of each house is required to advance the bond measure to the November 5, 2013 ballot.[1]

The proposed bond would use $100 million for transportation costs including $44 million on road maintenance and $27 million on bridges. The University of Maine and Maine Community College systems will split $31 million if the bond is approved. Armories used by the Maine National Guard would receive $14 million for renovations and repairs.[1]

The Legislature must also determine how to fill a funding gap for the Riverview Psychiatric Center in Augusta, which could lose $20 million in federal funds for failure to meet minimum standards. Federal officials noted that Riverview does not have sufficient room for its current population and inadequate security to handle patients from state prisons. Legislators will hear testimony from state health officials this week before reviewing options to keep the facility in operation.[2]

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