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Mills says she's considering laws aimed at curbing neo-Nazis' rise

Christopher Pohlhaus, founder of the neo-nazi Blood Tribe, yells "Sieg Heil" with Blood Tribe members at a March protest in Ohio.
Ford Fischer
/
News2Share via Bangor Daily News
Christopher Pohlhaus, founder of the neo-nazi Blood Tribe, yells "Sieg Heil" with Blood Tribe members at a March protest in Ohio.

Gov. Janet Mills said Thursday that she is open to looking at potential changes to Maine's laws in response to a neo-Nazi training camp reportedly being built in rural Penobscot County, but isn’t backing any specific proposals.

Mills said she is "deeply concerned" about the reported rise of white supremacist and anti-Semitic groups in Maine. Neo-Nazi groups have held several small but loud rallies around the state in recent months, including one outside of the State House a few weeks ago. And the leader of one group has invited his followers to help build a training camp on land he co-owns in Springfield.

But speaking during Maine Calling, Mills said she isn't ready to endorse any specific legislative proposals at this point. Instead, the former attorney general said that she will work with lawmakers and the current attorney general to review any proposed changes.

"So like the attorney general, my administration will not hesitate to act the moment that anything they might do crosses the line from constitutionally protected speech to something else, some activity that might pose an immediate threat to the safety of Maine people,” Mills said.

One proposal from Democratic Sen. Joe Baldacci of Bangor would prohibit anyone from offering training in firearms, explosives or other tactics with the intent of causing a "civil disorder." That proposal and others will be taken up by legislative leaders this fall as they decide which bills to allow to be considered during next year’s shortened legislative session.