Maine legislative committee kills anti-gang bill

Posted Feb. 09, 2012, at 5:26 p.m.

AUGUSTA, Maine — A bill to crack down on gang activity by making recruitment illegal has been killed for this session by a Maine legislative committee.

The Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee voted unanimously Thursday to reject the bill after questions were raised about its potential cost and whether Maine has a gang problem serious enough to warrant the legislation.

In its original form, the bill also authorized enhanced sentences for certain violent and drug crimes when they’re committed by a criminal street gang member.

Sponsors of the bill had warned that gang activity is expanding from cities to rural areas where it can “fly under the radar.”