$28 million budget bill for county jails, psychiatric hospital heads to Maine Gov. LePage

Maine lawmakers on Tuesday sent a $28 million budget bill to Gov. Paul LePage that addresses a funding shortfall for county jails and supports new positions at a state-run psychiatric hospital.

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The Democratic-controlled House backed the supplemental budget bill with a 146-1 vote and the Republican-led Senate followed with unanimous approval. The bill adjusts funding in the current budget year, which ends June 30.

The measure provides $2.5 million to aid several county jails that have warned they will run out of money before June. It also supports 29 new positions at Riverview Psychiatric Center, which lost federal certification in 2013 for failing to comply with a variety of standards.

The measure also maintains about $5 million in a fund that supports anti-smoking programs. LePage, a Republican, had sought to cut about $7 million from the fund. Budget negotiators agreed to take out about $2 million to maintain the level of Medicaid reimbursements for primary care providers.

The bill approved Tuesday is separate from LePage's $6.3 billion budget proposal, which covers the fiscal year that starts July 1 and the following year. Lawmakers are continuing negotiations on that budget and are expected to approve a bill in the coming months.