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Lawmakers Decide County Jails Will Get State Funding, Despite LePage's Opposition

By a large margin, lawmakers voted to override Governor Paul LePage’s veto of a bill to fund Maine’s county jails.

The measure is aimed at helping the jails address the demands caused by more inmates, and by inmates who need costly medical or mental health care. It provides an ongoing $3 million appropriation and a one-time use of another $3 million from surplus funds in accounts of the state’s professional licensing boards.

House Minority Leader Rep. Ken Fredette, a Republican from Newport, had urged the house sustain the veto.

“Now, particularly on this side of the aisle, I am asking people here to take a look at whether or not you want to support this funding, additional funding from a source that is not general fund funding,” said Fredette.

Bangor Democrat Aaron Frye urged the House to override.

“This bill here gets us to what we committed to in the past, with one-time money from a pot that is available that is not being spent,” said Frye.

The Governor objected to that funding, and says the jails are not accountable for how they use state funds.

Journalist Mal Leary spearheads Maine Public's news coverage of politics and government and is based at the State House.