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Lawmakers to Consider Overrides of More than 30 LePage Vetoes

Maine lawmakers will be busy today dealing with veto messages by Gov. Paul LePage. A bill concerning drug overdose medication is deemed to be a priority. (sustainablepulse.com)
Maine lawmakers will be busy today dealing with veto messages by Gov. Paul LePage. A bill concerning drug overdose medication is deemed to be a priority. (sustainablepulse.com)
April 29, 2016

AUGUSTA, Maine - Maine lawmakers meet today for a single purpose -- to address vetoes from Gov. Paul LePage -- and there is no shortage of them to consider.

Assistant House Majority Leader Sara Gideon said a priority will be trying to overturn the LePage veto of LD 1547, a bill that provides access to an opioid-overdose drug. Gideon, D-Freeport, said this is an issue where saving lives is at stake, and added that she is optimistic lawmakers from both sides of the aisle will join to override the veto.

"It doesn't matter what your party is, what your income level is. It doesn't matter where in the state you live," she said. "If you haven't been touched yet by this awful disease, then you likely will be soon, and I think people understand that and take it very seriously."

The American Medical Association sent a letter this week urging Maine lawmakers to overturn the governor's veto. It said broader access to the drug commonly known as Narcan would save lives. LePage has maintained that Narcan only prolongs addicts' lives long enough to get them to the next overdose.

According to the governor's website, LePage cast more than 30 veto messages that will come up for consideration today. Gideon said there will be no shortage of major issues in the balance.

"Oh, there's so many vetoes on the table right now," she said. "The governor vetoed a bill regarding county jails and funding for that, summer school programs, clean elections -- honestly, so many important issues."

The text of LD 1547 is online at legislature.maine.gov.

Mike Clifford, Public News Service - ME