Wednesday, 25 January 2017 11:50

AG Mills: Legislative approval needed for psychiatric facility Featured

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STATEWIDE - It looks like it isn't going to be easy for Gov. LePage and the Department of Health and Human Services to build a psychiatric facility in Bangor.


According to Attorney General Janet Mills, the plan will need legislative approval, no matter where in the state it's located.


The step-down facility is supposed to house those deemed by the courts as not criminally responsible or mentally incompetent to stand trial.


The original plan was to build in Augusta, but that was blocked in November with some Democrats saying the proposal wasn't appropriately vetted. Then, Gov. LePage changed course, saying the step-down facility would be built in Bangor, where it was believed he would not need legislative approval.


But according to a memo obtained by ABC 7 and Fox 22, that's not the case. The letter is written by Mills and addressed to Sen. Roger Katz and Rep. Aaron Frey. In it, Mills says there is no statute that would allow the Commissioner for the Department of Health and Human Services to build without the legislature voting on it.


Meanwhile, the Appropriations Committee discussed the proposed step-down facility on Wednesday, voting in favor of something that might not necessarily happen.


Earlier this month Gov. LePage withdrew his proposal to have the facility build in Augusta. However, the committee voted unanimously Wednesday that if the governor brings back that proposal, they will support it.


Press Secretary Adrienne Bennett says at this time, the governor is not looking to build the facility in Augusta and will instead move forward with plans to develop at Dorothea Dix in Bangor.

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