AP NEWS

Committee OKs governor’s supplemental spending plan

February 28, 2019

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — A legislative committee unanimously recommended Thursday that lawmakers pass Gov. Janet Mills’ plan to pay Maine’s bills and repeal limits for Medicaid-funded addiction treatment.

Lawmakers will decide whether to pass the supplemental spending plan, which pays Maine’s bills through July 1 and amounts to about $7.5 million.

The plan also includes proposals that will help Mills, a Democrat, fulfill campaign promises to address health care access, the opioid crisis and bringing more economic development to rural areas.

For instance, the plan would lift limits imposed by her predecessor Republican Gov. Paul LePage on Medicaid funding for drugs that can help treat opioid addiction.

Maine saw 282 drug overdose deaths from January to September last year, down from 297 in the same period in 2017. The vast majority of deaths involved opioids.

The plan also includes $1 million to celebrate Maine’s upcoming 2020 bicentennial and $2.5 million to meet Maine’s share of estimated disaster recovery costs.

Mills’ plan also suggested allowing Maine to purchase land to build a pre-release center in Washington County, a rural community where LePage shuttered a jail. Voters previously authorized a $149 million bond issue to help fund such a pre-release center.

But the appropriations committee on Thursday decided that lawmakers will consider that proposal in separate legislation.

Lawmakers will soon start holding hearings on Mills’ $8 billion, two-year proposed budget.