Governor Refuses to Allow Legislature to Fix Nursing Home Funding Bill

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Back on June 20th , Senate Republicans agreed to spend nearly all of our allotted money for bills on the Appropriations Table on a piece of legislation, sponsored by the Democratic Senate President, with an amendment sponsored by the Democratic Chair of the Appropriations Committee.

We did so in good faith, fully expecting the end result would extend the wage increases given to employees of nursing facilities in Maine that were set to expire if we did not do so.

With great disappointment we learned two weeks later that Governor Mills had chosen not to sign or veto the bill, leaving it in limbo until January and denying the funding that had been allocated to nursing facilities for this important purpose.

This morning, Senate Republicans submitted a Joint Order to recall this piece of legislation, freeing the bill from its limbo, and making a simple change before returning it to the governor for her signature. Democrats found the idea so attractive, they followed with their own Joint Order printed exactly the same, word for word.

Both the Senate and the House voted to pass this Joint Order, but before they could vote on the amendment to fix the bill, the governor made it clear to the Legislature that she would not release the bill back to us and would not provide any explanation why.

The governor’s determination not to allow this funding to be made available leaves the bill in limbo until January and the funding unavailable to these critical care organizations that greatly need it.

Senate Republic Leader Dana Dow: “The governor has taken extraordinary steps to stop a simple bill with modest funding that seeks to help an industry that we all agree is in dire straits. While this is not the complete solution to all of the problems faced by nursing homes, it would have been a good start.”

Assistant Republican Leader Jeff Timberlake: “We can’t believe that the Governor has done something that may be unprecedented in 200 years of Maine history, solely because she absolutely refuses to allow money that has already been allocated to reach our most vulnerable neighbors, friends, and family members.”

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