May 14, 2013

Bill to arm Maine forest rangers stalls

By Susan M. Cover
State House Bureau

(Continued from page 1)

On Monday, Dunphy and Nadeau met with five forest rangers at a Dunkin' Donuts in Waterville to discuss what to do now that the governor has created a task force. The bill could be carried over for consideration next year once the task force report is complete.

"We just don't want it to die," Nadeau said. "It's (the forest rangers') bill, and the avenue they want to take is what we'll respect."

Two rangers who attended the meeting — Cook and John Crowley, chief ranger pilot — could not be reached for comment Monday.

Sen. Stan Gerzofsky, D-Brunswick, chairman of the criminal justice committee, said he agrees with the bill but doesn't want it to go forward without any funding. Each year, dozens of bills pass in both the House and Senate but never go anywhere because the Appropriations Committee has no money to pay for them.

Because Gerzofsky has not released the bill from committee, there's no official estimate of cost. When the bill failed to pass in 2001, it contained a cost estimate of more than $500,000.

"If you pass this, it's going to be killed in Appropriations," he said. "There's no money."

Susan Cover — 621-5643

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