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Bill to keep two northern Maine Veterans Homes open will go before House and Senate next week

In this June 26, 2013 file photo, Sen. Troy Jackson, D-Aroostook County, speaks during debate over the state budget shortly before the Senate voted to override Gov. Paul LePage's veto, at the State House in Augusta, Maine. The story of the Republican governor's clash with Democratic lawmakers over whether to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act ended with the governor's veto - and a vow by Democrats to try again was voted the top story of 2013 in Maine in a survey by The Associated Press and its member news organizations in Maine.
Robert F. Bukaty
File photo

The Maine Legislature’s Veterans and Legal Affairs Committee Friday unanimously supported a bill from Senate President Troy Jackson to prevent the closure of the Maine Veterans Homes in Caribou and Machias.

“We cannot and will not turn our backs on the brave men and women who have served our country and now find themselves in need of quality, compassionate long-term care," said Jackson. "This legislation will ensure that the closure of these homes remains the option of last resort.”

The bill establishes a process to ensure the state explores every available avenue before approving the closure of a Maine Veterans Home. The Senate and House will take up the measure next week.