Saturday, March 8, 2014
By Glenn Adams / The Associated Press
AUGUSTA — Survivors of domestic violence have one common wish, an advocate said Tuesday: that what happened to them doesn't happen to anyone else.
Gov. Paul LePage said the state took important steps toward making that wish a reality as he signed two more bills to prevent the crime that he said has no place in Maine.
"Today, it is my hope that we come that much closer to eliminating this type of heinous crimes against family members, or loved ones," LePage said.
Surrounded by sponsors, law enforcement officials and an advocate for victims, the governor signed a bill requiring judges to deny bail when there's danger that the defendant could commit more domestic violence.
He also signed a measure that say any victim of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking must be notified when the defendant is released on bail.
Last week, LePage signed a bill barring judges from waiving $25 fees that perpetrators in violent crimes must pay to a fund for victims.
The Republican governor promised Tuesday that there will be more legislation next session to address the problem. He foresees a bill focusing on batterers' intervention as a way to prevent abuse and violence in the home.
Julia Colpitts of the Maine Coalition to End Domestic Violence said victims of domestic violence bring to her a common theme.
"In the midst of their profound and personal grief, they have an amazing kind of altruism. To a one, they want to be sure that what has happened to them does not happen to anybody else," Colpitts said.
LePage, whose childhood was marred by domestic violence, has made the issue a high priority for his administration and has shown willingness to work with Democrats to enact laws.
Rep. Alan Casavant, Biddeford's mayor, sponsored the notification law.
Rep. Emily Cain of Orono, the House minority leader, sponsored the bail bill.