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GOP lawmakers, residents sue Democratic leaders over state budget

The Maine State House is seen Monday, Nov. 12, 2018, in Augusta, Maine.
Robert F. Bukaty
The Maine State House is seen Monday, Nov. 12, 2018, in Augusta, Maine.

Several legislative Republicans, along with a few citizens, are filing suit, challenging the actions of the Democratic-controlled legislature and Democratic Gov. Janet Mills in passing the first part of the new state budget.

That budget bill, funding existing services, was passed by a majority vote in late March. To have the bill effective at the start of the new fiscal year, the legislature adjourned and Mills called it back into session to finish this year's business.

The Republicans say Maine's constitution requires an "extraordinary occasion" before the governor can call the legislature back. They contend no such "extraordinary occasion" existed.

Mills and Democratic legislative leader didn't immediately comment on the lawsuit, according to the Bangor Daily News. Attorney General Aaron Frey’s office will represent the state in the case, a spokesperson said, adding the office does not comment on pending litigation.

Should the challenge succeed, it could prevent the legislature from passing a second budget bill to pay for new programs, or any other measure still under consideration in Augusta.