Legislators await the voting results of L.D. 2266, an act regarding offshore wind terminals located in coastal sand dune systems, in the House on Wednesday at the State House. Derek Davis/Staff Photographer

AUGUSTA — Gov. Janet Mills sent a strongly worded letter to lawmakers Wednesday urging them to approve the supplemental budget that was passed by committee this week and reject a heavily amended version of a storm relief bill, or face her veto.

But as the clock neared 9 p.m., neither chamber had taken up final votes on either measure.

The governor’s letter came out early on the last day of the legislative session and as lawmakers still faced a significant workload before them, including approval of a supplemental budget and the storm bill, L.D. 2225.

That bill calls for $60 million in infrastructure repair that Mills asked lawmakers to approve as an emergency measure a month ago but that lawmakers in the Senate have amended with a series of costly proposals including raises for education techs, new behavioral health programs and higher, non-lapsing funding for nursing homes and veterans homes.

Mills said she would veto the storm bill if it arrived at her desk as amended by the Senate.

“It does not comport with the supplemental budget, and it entangles more than $100 million of unrelated, ongoing spending with my storm relief bill, which is exactly what I wanted to avoid when I introduced it as a standalone bill months ago,” the governor wrote. “Worse, the amendment will blow a hole in the state budget and force those of you who return next year to cut vital programs – like 55% of education.”


She said she would sign the bill if it is left intact with the $60 million in relief without the Senate’s amendments. “Send me L.D. 2225 clean, and I will sign it and we can get to work repairing the damage from these awful storms,” Mills wrote.

The House on Tuesday advanced a version of the bill that does not include the Senate’s amendments but strips the bill of the emergency preamble that would allow it to take effect immediately. Mills indicated she would still support the bill as a non-emergency measure.

The governor also said she would sign the version of the supplemental budget that was approved by the Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee on Monday if left unchanged.

Some lawmakers on Wednesday were openly asking how they were going to finish all the work that still needs to be done with just one day left and the two chambers seemingly so divided on key matters.

Before the Senate took a midday break while waiting for bills to come over from the House, Sen. Matt Pouliot, R-Augusta, asked Senate President Troy Jackson exactly how long the “last legislative day” was going to last: until the sun rises Thursday morning, as is usual, or for the next two weeks?

“I don’t see any reason to stay in for the next couple of weeks,” Jackson said with a sigh and a shrug from the Senate rostrum.

“I do think the end of the week would have been nice to run the table,” he said, referring to the place where bills that will have a fiscal impact are parked until they are funded, “but that being said, our adjournment is today. In light of no carry-over order or extension, what happens at the end of the day? I have no idea.”

A similar exchange played out later that afternoon, when Jackson said the Senate would again “break for some significant amount of time,” prompting a round of laughs in the chamber.

This story will be updated.

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