AUGUSTA – Amid the more than 300 bills the Democrat-controlled Legislative Council killed last month was a proposal from Rep. Corey Wilson (R-Augusta) to turn abandoned buildings into homeless shelters for U.S. military veterans.
Wilson said Wednesday he intends to appeal the council’s decision on Nov. 21.
The bill, L.R. 2377, would have caused the state to donate abandoned state buildings at the former Augusta Mental Health Institute (AMHI) to be used as homeless shelters. The buildings are currently scheduled for demolition and will be destroyed unless the state finds another use.
The second session of a legislative term is reserved for emergency bills and budget related items. His bill, Wilson says, is an obvious emergency.
“These buildings could be demolished at any time, so this is clearly an emergency,” said Wilson. “Furthermore, every day that a veteran lives on the streets is an emergency. Maine has one of the largest veteran populations per capita and it’s imperative that we take care of them.”
Wilson, himself a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom, blasted Senate President Justin Alfond (D-Portland) and House Speaker Mark Eves (D-North Berwick) for killing his bill. Eves is the chair of the council and commands a six-person majority.
“I’m shocked and I’m angry,” said Wilson. “This is why people get turned off by politics. The games and the inside baseball too often trump good policy and, in this case, veterans in need pay the price.”
In addition to killing a bill to help homeless veterans, the Democrat-controlled council killed two welfare reform proposals and a bill to help victims of human trafficking.
Bills that got a thumbs up from Eves, Alfond and other Democrats on the council include Eves’ proposal to expand Medicaid and Alfond’s bill to amend laws governing wine-tastings.
Maine Wire Reporter