Sen. Volk’s Bills to Address Opioid Epidemic and Labor Trafficking Survive Vetoes

Contact:
Krysta West
Communications Director
Senate Republican Office
(207) 287-1505
krysta.west@legislature.maine.gov

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

AUGUSTA – The Legislature voted on Wednesday, May 2 to override the Governor’s vetoes of LD 1740 and LD 1771 by wide margins.

LD 1740, which was overridden in the Senate unanimously and in the House by a vote of 136-12, establishes the crimes of criminal forced labor and aggravated criminal labor in the Maine code. Under this new law, law enforcement officers and prosecutors will be better supported in their efforts to bring offenders of these crimes to justice.

“During my time in Augusta, trafficking arrests have been made right in Gorham and I have met a number of survivors, some as young as my own children, others older than I am,” said Sen. Amy Volk (R-Cumberland). “Prior to this effort, there were no specific laws in Maine statute to address the crime of labor trafficking. My hope is that by clarifying forced labor in Maine Statute, we will curb demand and bring abusers to justice.”

LD 1771, An Act to Support Vulnerable Families, increases access to treatment programs for families impacted by addiction. Its veto was overridden unanimously in both bodies.

This new law uses federal dollars to expand upon a treatment model that has been utilized by McAuley Residence, a department of Mercy Hospital in Portland, for 30 years. This model treats mothers with substance use disorders by providing stable housing and a comprehensive array of support services that allow for recovery and reunification with children. By utilizing a high-accountability model that treats the entire family, this facility achieves a remarkable 80% long-term sobriety success rate. The Department of Health and Human Services will issue an RFP to establish a similar program in at least one other service center community, likely Bangor and/or Lewiston.

“I am truly humbled by the support I have received from my colleagues on both sides of the aisle on this very important bill, as I am confident it will save many lives, as well as positively impact the next generation. The McAuley Residence has shown that this model is extremely effective for mothers who are willing to put in the hard work to tackle their addictions while keeping their families intact. Because of this new law, more drug-addicted women will have access to this whole-family treatment and more children will be able to remain with their families. This is an example of our state prioritizing programs that strengthen families and protect some of our most vulnerable children.”

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