Saturday, May 25, 2013
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
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John Richardson joined the Press Herald in 1990 after working as a reporter in New Jersey. He has covered a variety of beats, including marine issues, the environment and health care. He is now covering politics and focusing on Maine's U.S. Senate race.
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Colin Woodard has covered politics and elections for more than two decades, from Bosnia and Bucharest to Washington, D.C., Augusta, and Portland City Hall. He has written for a wide range of national and international publications and is the author of four books, including "American Nations," a history of North America's regional cultures. He joined the Portland Press Herald at the end of April and covers political finance and lobbying, among other things.
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Michael Shepherd joined MaineToday Media in May 2012 after graduating from the University of Maine in Orono, where he edited The Maine Campus, the student newspaper there. Until November he'll be writing the Truth Test, a recurring feature analyzing political statements and advertising.
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