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Politics

By One Vote, Maine House Rejects Bill to Criminalize Lying to the Legislature

By a single vote, the Maine House rejected a proposal that would make it a crime to lie to a legislative committee.

Supporters, like Republican state Rep. Richard Pickett of Dixfield, say that lawmakers need to be sure what they are told in testimony is truthful.

“We have very important business to do in this body and we need to have the truth come before us each and every time so that we can make good, knowledgeable, informed decisions,” he says.

Opponents say the measure would be very difficult to implement, and could create scenarios in which unintended mistakes could end up putting a person behind bars.

Republican state Rep. Lance Harvill of Farmington ridiculed the proposal.

“I dreamed that I came to the Legislature to introduce a bill. Walked into the committee, signed in, took my jacket off, rolled up my sleeves was injected with truth serum. Strapped into a lie detector test and grilled by committee members like a suspect from ‘Law and Order,’” he said.

The bill faces further votes in the House and Senate.