Wednesday, April 16, 2014
Shortly before midnight Monday – somewhere between the vote on General Assistance and full approval of the budget by the Appropriations Committee – Maine Sen. Roger Katz offered a creative amendment to help service-center cities.
The former Augusta mayor was thinking of his hometown when he proposed a change to General Assistance. Citing a statistic that 60 percent of people on GA were recently released from prison or jail, he proposed requiring the offenders hometown to pay for the program, rather than the city where the jail happens to be located.
Take for instance, Augusta, the county seat and home of the Kennebec County Correctional Facility. Katz said if a man from Randolph spends some time at the jail, he then might go to the city of Augusta looking for some General Assistance. But Katz' amendment would have required Randolph to pick up the tab rather than Augusta.
Committee members, however, particularly those from more rural areas, quickly shot down the proposal. Fellow Republicans Rep. Ken Fredette, Rep. Tyler Clark and Rep. Dennis Keschl all said they would vote against it.
That prompted Rep. John Martin to advise Katz that it might be best to withdraw the amendment. Katz did, saying he appreciated political advice from Martin, now in his 46th year of legislative service.Tweet
Open Season is your guide to the 2014 campaign. Our team of political writers has its sights set on Maine’s major elections, from the Blaine House to the U.S. Capitol.
Steve Mistler is covering the 2014 governor's race. He covers politics and government for the Portland Press Herald. He spends a lot of time in the hallways of the State House.
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