Two State Senators propose an amendment to Governor Mills emergency heating bill

Published: Dec. 13, 2022 at 5:47 PM EST
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AUGUSTA, Maine (WABI) - Two state senators are proposing an amendment to a 474-million dollar emergency heating bill from Governor Mills that failed to pass the Senate last week when it didn’t get enough votes from Republicans.

That bill would have sent $450 checks to an estimated 880-thousand Mainers.

Republican Senator Rick Bennett and Democratic Senator Nicole Grohoski say the relief program should target people facing the highest energy burden.

They propose three different tiers of checks tied to the federal poverty level.

They say this system would save about 187-million dollars compared to the direct checks plan proposed by the Governor.

“The majority of the feedback I’ve been receiving from constituents over the past couple of days about this proposal is that the checks are too small for people who really are in need and too large for others. So, what we’re proposing is a different way of distributing funds based on data that’s available from the Office of the Public Advocate about actual energy use and costs in Maine,” Senator Grohoski said.

Scott Ogden, a spokesperson for the governor, responded in a statement:

“The Governor is committed to helping Maine people stay safe this winter, and she will continue to work with legislative leadership on a path forward for the emergency heating aid proposal. The amendment unveiled today appears to eliminate an agreement negotiated by Republicans that helped the heating aid proposal win strong bipartisan approval in the House. The already-passed compromise proposal, while not perfect, was negotiated by Republicans and Democrats, reflects concessions and consensus from both parties, and was overwhelmingly approved by most of the Legislature. We hope that we can find a path forward that preserves the progress already made.” Ogden said in a statement.