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Mills storm relief bill caught up in last-minute state budget battle [Video]

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Small Business Funding

AUGUSTA — Gov. Janet Mills’ storm relief bill appears to be at risk of falling victim to a wide-ranging legislative brawl over the supplemental budget.

A bipartisan group of Senators that now includes Senate President Troy Jackson wants to load the bill with a bevy of costly riders – which is estimated to bring the bill’s total cost to $117 million – that have nothing to do with the $60 million infrastructure repair that Mills asked lawmakers to approve as an emergency measure a month ago. The additions include raises for education techs, new behavioral health programs, and higher, non-lapsing funding for nursing homes and veterans homes.

But House Speaker Rachel Talbot Ross, D-Portland, and Mills want a storm relief bill that isn’t weighed down with all that extra spending. They want to keep the other spending contained within the official supplemental budget bill, which was voted out of the …

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