Appropriations held a series of public hearings and work sessions this afternoon. The Commissioner of Transportation spoke to the committee about LD 1694 the Governor’s Transportation bond. Work sessions for bonds will be held at a later date.
Moving on to work sessions the Committee voted 7-4 to approve an amended version of LD 1579 to provide adequate Maine Clean Elections funding for the upcoming cycle by moving a January 2017 $500,000 transfer to August 2016.
LD 1645, Sen. Katz bill to enhance recruitment and retention at Riverview and Dorothea Dix Psychiatric Centers was also approved in an amended fashion (to include benefit costs as noted at the previous work session). The cost will be borne from salary savings. The vote was 7-5.
LD 927 to provide retirement options to state employees close to retirement age if their facility they serve in closes and is more than 100 miles from a comparable facility was tabled pending disposition of the proposal to renovate the Maine Correctional Center in Windham.
LD 655, Rep. Lajoie’s bill to look at the establishment of a state fire training facility, was amended to remove the funding and allow the fire commission to pursue private funds on a vote of 10-2.
Sen. Libby’s bill, LD 867, to equalize the sales tax treatment of medical marijuana was approved on a vote of 10-1 in an amended version that reimburses the General Fund for any loses though the Medical Marijuana Program Fund.
Work sessions on remaining bills, tabled bills and bills pending placement on the Appropriations Table will continue over the next week.