Monday May 14, 2012 | 01:46 PM

On the eve of the return of the Legislature, proponents of a proposed Land for Maine's Future bond gathered in the Hall of Flags today to try to drum up support.

They say the $5 million bond, which is a bill sponsored by Sen. Roger Katz, R-Augusta, will conserve natural resources and create jobs. Five times already, dating back to 1987, voters in Maine have approved spending money on the program.

"The needs for LMF couldn't be more important than they are today," Katz said.

The Sportsman's Alliance of Maine is on board too, and even asking for more money to be spent. David Trahan, SAM's executive director, said they want to ensure access for hunters and fishermen, and preserving important habitat for things such as wild brook trout.

The LMF bond is one of five approved by the Appropriations Committee. They total $96 million, and will be voted on individually when lawmakers return this week. Bonds need two-thirds support, and Democrats have argued for even larger investments, so it appears they will likely pass.

But the big question is whether Gov. Paul LePage will come on board. His spokeswoman, Adrienne Bennett, said the governor wants lawmakers to pass the budget first, then he'll consider bonds.

"He's fiscally prudent and he wants to get a handle on spending before we take a closer look at borrowing," she said.

As a candidate in 2010, LePage said he would not support a Land for Maine's Future bond, at least not the $9.75 million that was on the ballot that year.

Here's what we reported back then: 

When it comes to the Land for Maine's Future program, all candidates but LePage said they would support a bond on the November ballot that calls for the state to borrow $9.75 million for the program. LePage said he supports the other bond on the ballot, which is $5 million for new dental services in Maine.

All other bond issues are putting shackles on the next governor,” he said.

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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.
Steve can be reached at 791-6345 or smistler@pressherald.com.
On Twitter: @stevemistler

Eric Russell is covering Independent Eliot Cutler during the 2014 governor's race. He is a general assignment reporter for the Portland Press Herald.
Eric can be reached at 791-6344 or erussell@pressherald.com
On Twitter: @pphericrussell

Matt Byrne is covering Republican Paul LePage during the 2014 governor's race. He covers Falmouth, Cumberland, North Yarmouth, Yarmouth and Freeport for the Portland Press Herald.
Matt can be reached at 791-6303 or mbyrne@pressherald.com
On Twitter: @mattbyrnePPH

Randy Billings is covering Democrat Mike Michaud during the 2014 governor's race. He covers Portland City Hall for the Portland Press Herald.
Randy can be reached at 791-6346 or rbillings@pressherald.com
On Twitter: @randybillings

Kevin Miller is covering Maine's U.S. Senate race and 1st Congressional District race. He covers politics and government for the Portland Press Herald.
Kevin can be reached at 317-6256 or kmiller@pressherald.com
On Twitter: @kevinmillerdc

Michael Shepherd is covering Maine's 2nd Congressional District race. He is a news and State House reporter for the Kennebec Journal.
Michael can be reached at 621-5632 or mshepherd@centralmaine.com
On Twitter: @mikeshepherdME

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