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Before Passing Budget, Maine Republicans Press For Bill To Overhaul Worker Compensation System

Maine Lawmakers have been in formal sessions and in private meetings trying to find a way to pass a two-year state budget that takes effect July 1.

The budget has received initial approval, but Republicans are withholding votes over an unrelated issue.

The nearly $8 billion budget garnered strong support in both the House and Senate but was short of the two-thirds vote needed for final passage. Republicans are pressing for a compromise bill that would overhaul the state workers compensation system, and want it passed before they will give final approval to the budget. It is not unusual, at the end of the session, for some issue unrelated to the budget to be used as a bargaining chip in negotiations.

Democrats are hoping for final passage of both the budget and the workers comp package Friday night, but some Republican leaders say no deal has been finalized.

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