June 04, 2020
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‘Typo’ bill to restore $38 million to Efficiency Maine passes through Legislature

Troy R. Bennett | BDN
Troy R. Bennett | BDN
Assistant House Majority Leader Sara Gideon

AUGUSTA, Maine — A bill that seeks to fix what has been widely described as a $38 million typo in a 2013 energy bill is en route to Gov. Paul LePage, who has indicated he won’t support it.

LD 1215, which was sponsored by Assistant House Majority Leader Sara Gideon, D-Freeport, received near-unanimous support in the Legislature, with unanimous support in the Senate and 138-1 support in the House. Rep. Ricky Long, R-Sherman, cast the lone vote against it. The bill has been working its way through the legislative process for months.

“Efficiency Maine has been held as a model for reducing Maine’s energy costs by Democrats, Republicans, business owners and homeowners,” said Assistant Senate Minority Leader Dawn Hill, D-Cape Neddick, who is a member of the Legislature’s energy committee. “I am pleased that we are continuing that legacy of working together to pass bipartisan energy policy.”

At one point there was controversy surrounding it when House Minority Leader Ken Fredette, R-Newport, proposed a competing “and” fix bill that also included the creation of a cabinet-level energy commissioner. But that controversy quickly subsided, and Fredette on Thursday voted in favor of the bill. However, Fredette’s bill remains under consideration and was tabled Thursday morning in the House.

Gideon’s measure now goes to LePage for consideration. The governor has until June 23 to act on the bill or let it go into law without his signature.

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