Appropriations continued public hearing on the governor’s proposed biennial budget.
Tuesday, joined by the Education committee, AFA heard testimony from the administration and supporters of the governor’s plans regarding the cultural agencies and higher education.
Wednesday morning the Transportation committee and AFA heard from the administration on the General Fund impacts of the governor’s proposed budget. Most significant is the proposal to shift 100% of State Police costs to the General Fund.
Criminal Justice and Public Safety participated in the afternoon as the Department of Public Safety (DPS) and Commissioner Fitzpatrick delivered the administration’s proposals regarding public safety and the Department of Corrections (DOC).
Discussion focused on:
- Plan to reduce professional services(primarily inmate medical) costs by 10%
- The return of a proposal to shutter Downeast Correctional Facility (DCF).
Members of the public roundly rejected the plan to close DCF.
Discussion of the 10% reduction in medical services revealed that this will be achieved by incarcerating 450-500 fewer people.
Thursday’s public hearing was dominated by opposition to the governor’s renewed plan to replace the current means of providing constitutionally required indigent legal services with a Public Defender’s Office. This proposal was rejected in the last legislature.
Public hearings wrapped up for the week with Marine Resources and testimony on the governor’s proposals for the Department of Marine Resources.
Concerns were expressed about the 30% increase in commercial fishing license fees, the elimination of 9 positions at the department and expenditures on the lobster marketing collaborative.
Appropriations and Health and Human Services committees will hold joint public hearings throughout next week’s break.