Crown Politics

After hours behind closed doors, Maine budget panel leaves most work undone

The Legislature’s budget committee convened Wednesday after hours of negotiations to agree to advance bills funding raises for direct-care workers and the state’s share of county jail costs for the coming fiscal year.

Dozens of other bills that have been passed by the Legislature but not funded, including a Medicaid expansion bill and a number of opioid addiction measures, were left unaddressed for now.

The panel voted unanimously late Wednesday in favor of three bills — LD 643, LD 967 and LD 1490 — which it wrapped into a supplemental budget bill, LD 924.

Wednesday’s meeting wasn’t without some tension, with Rep. Jeff Timberlake, R-Turner, at one point complaining that the county jail funding bill wasn’t voted down after being absorbed in the budget bill, as he said was agreed upon in negotiations.

“Now we’re leaving another bill open that’s possibly another game or another move that can be made on this, and maybe more funding,” he said. “That wasn’t what we agreed upon.”

The St. John Valley Times/Fiddlehead Focus is pleased to feature content from our sister company, Bangor Daily News. To read the rest of “After hours behind closed doors, Maine budget panel leaves most work undone,” an article by contributing Bangor Daily News staff writer Christopher Cousins, please follow this link to the BDN online.

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