Senate gives initial approval to funding bill for Downeast Correctional Facility
AUGUSTA — The Maine Senate voted 31-3 to pass a bill the amended LD 1704, “An Act To Fund the Downeast Correctional Facility” on Thursday. The bill would fund Downeast Correctional Facility through April 2019.
“This is an issue that we have already debated both in Committee and in the Legislature. The governor’s actions fly in the face of folks in Washington County. I am glad we were able to send a message to folks today that we have their backs.” said Senate Democratic Leader Troy Jackson of Allagash. “In rural communities like Allagash and Machiasport, you often feel left behind by the rest of the state. I know Allagash is a long way from Washington County but when I go there, I feel at home—like I could be from there. And I am fighting for them today.”
This vote comes on the heels of the governor’s executive order to remove all prisoners from the Downeast Correctional Facility in Machiasport last week. Over 50 employees will be terminated as of March 1, 2018.
“This bill received unanimous support in committee because we believed it was morally and ethically the right thing to do,” said Sen. Bill Diamond of Windham. “We need to keep promises made to people in Washington County. I am pleased that my colleagues on both sides of the aisle were able to come together and pass this important bill in the Senate.
Sen. Diamond is the Senate Democratic lead on the Legislature’s Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee, which has jurisdiction over LD 1704.
The bill received a unanimous vote out of committee, and was passed 87-59 in the House. It faces further action in both the House and Senate.