Rep. Jim Davitt is appealing the Maine Legislative Council’s rejection of his bill to increase funding for programs that support Maine veterans and their families.
“Too many veterans, service members and their families are struggling,” said Davitt, D-Hampden. “This bill will help existing programs better serve veterans’ immediate needs. It’s an important step our state can take to help military families in need.”
The bill would create a check-off box on the existing form Mainers use to file their income tax returns. By checking the box, filers could choose to donate $5 or another amount, which would be dedicated to funding nonprofit veterans’ services initiatives through grants to be administered by the Maine Bureau of Veterans Services.
“By working with organizations that already serve veterans, we can maximize the impact of these funds,” said Davitt. “Maine is fortunate to have dedicated people working to help veterans in need, but these programs need our support to ensure that no Maine veteran goes hungry or without housing.”
According to Maine Center for Economic Policy, more than 8,000 Maine veterans are living below poverty level.
During even-numbered years, the Legislature generally limits bill submissions to those that address emergencies and other pressing situations. The Legislative Council, which is made up of each party’s leaders in the Maine House and Senate, decides which bills fit the criteria.
Of the nearly 400 bills submitted for the 2016 legislative session, 33 received the green light from the Council. The Council will consider all appeals on Nov. 19.
Davitt, a veteran of the U.S. Army, earned the Bronze Star for his service in Vietnam. He is serving his first term in the Maine House and represents Hampden and Newburgh.