LePage says he’d veto Maine Legislature’s anti-drug bill

Gov. Paul LePage said in a Tuesday radio appearance that he’ll veto legislative leaders’ $4.8 million proposal aimed at fighting Maine’s drug crisis.

The Republican governor railed against the proposal in perhaps his strongest terms on WVOM, making the dubious claim that the sponsors “put the names of the companies that will get the money” in the text of the bill and accusing them of “corruption.”

He said if the bill passes, “it’ll be vetoed, and not only will it be vetoed, they’re going to have a hard time in the House to get two thirds” to override the veto, he said.

“I’m just not putting up with it,” he said. “The corruption is over.”

The proposal was rolled out by a bipartisan group of legislative leaders, including Democrats in the House and Senate and Senate Republicans, in December. It would fund 10 new drug agents and expand addiction treatment and education.

That includes granting funding to jails, an effort to establish a detox center in Bangor and the Maine Association of Substance Abuse Programs, which is made up of different nonprofit and health groups.

It doesn’t outline which groups would get the funding, but LePage said it wrongly bypasses his administration’s normal request for proposals process.

Lawmakers kicked off a public hearing on the bill on Tuesday, but it has run into opposition from House Republican leaders allied with LePage, who advocated slowing down the bill’s path to passage on Monday and have questioned the bill’s funding mechanism.

Michael Shepherd

About Michael Shepherd

Michael Shepherd joined the Bangor Daily News in 2015 after covering state, federal and local issues for the Kennebec Journal for three years. He's a Hallowell native who now lives in Gardiner. He graduated from the University of Maine in 2012 and is a graduate student at the University of Southern Maine's Muskie School of Public Service.