Maine Senate rejects Gov. Mills’ emergency winter heating relief bill
AUGUSTA, Maine (WABI) - Governor Mills’ emergency winter heating relief proposal to provide $900 checks to most families did not pass on the first day of the 131st Maine State Legislature.
The $474 million proposal passed the House with a 125-16 vote, but failed the Senate with a 21-8 vote.
The bill needed 24 Senate votes for the required two-thirds majority to pass an emergency bill.
The emergency heating assistance would have provided $450 payments to an estimated 880-thousand Mainers, adding up to $900 for a family.
Republican Senator Trey Stewart says they are asking for transparency and accountability and did not receive that.
”There are several, several components - this is not a simple bill,” Republican State Senator Trey Stewart said. “If you’ve read the bill, you know that there’s a number of components in there that are incredibly complicated. We need transparency and accountability in that process. And that is going to necessarily involve feedback from the Maine people, which has not yet happened. And I can’t underscore that enough.”
“Me and Janice fought more than anyone in this building, but I still appreciate the hell out of the opportunity that she gave me to help the people that I care about in the state,” Democratic State Senate President Troy Jackson said. “To watch that all go away because people didn’t want to help those that are less fortunate - look, I am the type of person that, I don’t begrudge anyone that’s done well in this world and hasn’t had to worry about putting oil in their tank - but to let other people suffer because of that, and basically make up excuses along the way to cover your tail because of that is very, very hard to swallow.”
In a statement, Governor Mills called the plan “the fastest, most direct way to get help to Maine people as we work to bring down energy costs in the long-term,” and added, quote, “Tonight, a minority of the minority choose to reject this help for Maine people.”
Senate Republicans say the bill will now head to the Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee for a public hearing.
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