AFA Update: Sunday, May 31, 2015- Courts, HHS votes and a frame work for a budget

This evening the AFA committee voted on a number of significant lines including the funding of drug agents, drug prosecutors and judges and the cleanup of drug manufacture sites and dumps. Courthouses also receive money for facility costs at the Bangor and Augusta court houses as well as additional court security and screening.

The committee also provided $10M in additional funds for the Maine State Grant Program to help Maine students afford higher education.

Also this evening Democrats and Senate Republicans reached the framework for a deal that will protect key Democratic priorities. As you will read in the news aspects of this plan include support to allow Maine voters to have a say on a constitutional amendment to require a 2/3 vote of the Legislature or a people’s initiative to raise the income tax.

This is not the Governor’s constitutional amendment to eliminate the income tax.

16 states have supermajority requirements for increasing any revenues ranging up to 75%.

The committee also rejected the Governor’s plan to gut General Assistance and help to legally present new Mainers, people who are prohibited from working to support themselves or their families by federal law.

Audio of this evening’s hearing is here

The votes taken this evening are:

Item Motion Dissent
Funding for 4 new investigative agents to combat drug crimes $767,744 In 9-4 Sirrocki, Nutting, Winsor, Timberlake
Funding for Crime Scene Processing involving methamphetamine $600,000 In
Funding for the Maine State Grant Program for scholarships to Maine students $10M In 9-4 Sirrocki, Nutting, Winsor, Timberlake
$3M for increased reimbursements for primary care doctors In-Am
The rejection of the Governor’s plan to change the time limit for disability determinations from 45 days to 90 days Out 9-4 Sirrocki, Nutting, Winsor, Timberlake
The rejection of the Governor’s plan to eliminate 15 positons related to the plan to change the time limit for disability determinations from 45 days to 90 days Out
The rejection of the Governor’s plan to eliminate state support for new Mainers legally in this country and prohibited to work to support themselves by federal law Out 9-4 Sirrocki, Nutting, Winsor, Timberlake
Rejection of the Governor’s plan to make wrenching changes to the General Assistance program Out 9-4 Sirrocki, Nutting, Winsor, Timberlake
Facility costs at the Bangor courthouse In
Facility costs at the Augusta Capitol Judicial Center In
The rejection of the plan to increase per diem payments for active retired judges Out
Funding for 10 new Assistant District Attorney positions $1.9M In
Funding for 2 new judges and 2 new clerks $238,488 In-Am 12-1 Timberlake
A Research Assistant position in the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner In
Funding for increased security coverage at the Kennebec County courthouse In
Restore attrition savings taken from the Assistant District Attorney programs In
Establish 3 Deputy Marshall and 1 Sergeant positions in FY16 and 3 Deputy Marshall positions in FY17 In-Am 12-1 Timberlake
A Research Assistant position in the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner In
Funding for further increases in Homestead, Veterans tax, Tree Growth and BETR/BETE $3.6M in FY17 In

Rep. Sirocki stated her claim that General Assistance is contrary to federal law. Rep. Timberlake feels that General Assistance “rewards bad behavior.”

Yesterday the committee took a few votes in the evening.

The audio of that session is here.

Saturday, May 30, 2015
Item Motion
Transfer positions between the newly created Bureau of Land and Bureau of Water in the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP In
Transfers funding for state boarding homes from the PNMI acount In
Provide increased funding for the operation of the Unorganized Territories $1.1M In
Provide funding for reimbursement of the purchase of bullet proof vests In

Rep. Sirocki moved to reconsider and table the provision of $4.6M in each year to nursing homes that had been passed earlier in the day. This motion passed 11-2.

The committee will be continuing its work Monday afternoon.

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