AUGUSTA – The Legislature has killed a bill that would have prohibited state officials from hiring family members.

The Senate voted 22-13 on Wednesday to reject L.D. 840, which was sponsored by Sen. Cynthia Dill, D-Cape Elizabeth.

Dill said her bill was prompted by Gov. Paul LePage’s decision in December to hire his adult daughter, Lauren LePage, to work in his office, as assistant to the governor’s chief of staff, John McGough.

On Tuesday, the House voted 85-63 to defeat the bill.

During Wednesday’s floor debate in the Senate, Sen. Phil Bartlett, a Democrat from Gorham, said people should be hired for government jobs based on their abilities, not their personal connections.

“It goes to the heart of the American dream, that everybody has a chance to get ahead,” he said.

Sen. David Hastings, a Republican from Fryeburg, said it’s not the job of the Legislature to tell the governor whom to hire.

“We are overstepping our bounds and should take care of our own business,” he said.

The bill would have prohibited the governor, the Legislature and constitutional officers from hiring family or household members.

It would not have affected any recent hires because it would have taken effect in October.

Two Democrats, Sens. Bill Diamond of Windham and Stan Gerzofsky of Brunswick, joined the 20-member Republican majority to defeat the bill.

In a prepared statement after the vote, Dill said, “This is the people’s business. It’s state government. There is no room for hiring practices that favor genealogy over qualifications. Nepotism by definition is giving favoritism irrespective of qualifications, and that doesn’t make for good or efficient government.” 

MaineToday Media State House Writer Tom Bell can be contacted at 699-6261 or at:

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