Final committee action on drug bill

Appropriations met this afternoon to hold work sessions on a number of bills including LD 1537, “An Act To Combat Drug Addiction through Enforcement, Prevention, Treatment and Recovery”.

Audio of today’s work session is here.

The committee was provided with a packet of information and drafts resulting from Friday’s work session.

Part A
Discussion on Friday touched on the use of the word “grant” or “contract.” The committee decided to use neither term instead stating that “funds will be provided.”

Part B
Regarding the issuance of grants to local law enforcement and county jail initiatives the majority accepted the recommendation of the majority of the policy committee to have the AG distribute these funds.

Part C
The geographic question raised on Friday about the location of a new 10 bed social detoxification center was addressed by retaining the language suggested by the policy committee of “northern or eastern area of the State.”

Part D
The word “grant” was treated the same as in Part A.

There was extensive discussion about whether or not funds appropriated for peer support recovery centers should lapse at the end of the fiscal year. The majority of the committee not make changes.

Part E
No concerns were raised.

Part F
Part F identifies the S&P settlement as the source of funding for a great deal of the expenditures of this bill. Rep. Winsor suggested that the S&P funds not be used recommending instead the Fund for a Healthy Maine as a source. This was not met with enthusiasm.

Part G
The Judiciary’s request that they be allowed to use $240,000 of Personal Services funds for All Other purposes to reduce the criminal docket backlog was approved.

Final Votes
The final vote was Ought to Pass as Amended 9-4.  Timberlake, Sirocki, Nutting and Winsor submitted a minority report with the following deviations from the Majority Report.

  • In Part B designate the Department of Public Safety as the disperser of funds to support local and county law enforcement.
  • Lapse all funds at the end of fiscal year
  • Use Fund for a Healthy Maine instead of S&P settlement funds

The bill should be considered on Thursday.

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