Democrats Balk At School Safety Bill

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School Safety
Democratic leaders in Augusta are using unorthodox parliamentary tricks to prevent the Legislature from considering a proposal to make Maine’s schools safer.

State House sources say Democratic leaders have asked for a fiscal note on a bill to develop safety standards for school access before referring the measure out of committee. Typically, lawmakers ask for fiscal impact determinations when a bill is referred out of committee.

Rep. Lance Harvell (R-Farmington) introduced L.D. 529 as emergency legislation that would ensure future school construction projects abide by certain standards for access. The act has ten co-sponsors – all Republicans – including Sen. Thomas B. Saviello (R-Franklin), and Reps. Heather W. Sirocki (R-Scarborough) and Deborah J. Sanderson (R-Chelsea).

Harvell’s bill is an attempt to improve school safety in the post-Newtown era, but sources in Augusta believe Senate President Justin L. Alfond is suppressing the bill because it is a solution to school safety that does not involve gun control.

“This is a manipulative fiscal note, for sure, it’s political malpractice,” said Maine GOP Chairman Richard M. Cebra.

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