Maine’s local food hub bill vetoed in Gov. LePage’s veto spree

BY RAMONA DU HOUX

April 20th, 2014 

As part of his nine-bill veto spree today, Governor LePage killed another bill that received strong bipartisan support from the Legislature. The measure, LD 1431, encouraged the use of Maine-produced food in Maine schools.

“It is unfortunate that the governor does not value this bill for what it is – a collaboration between his own administration’s departments of Agriculture and Education to help grow institutional markets for Maine farmers and fishermen,” said Senator Chris Johnson, who is the sponsor of the measure. “And it helps the food service in more Maine schools succeed in providing healthier food for our children just as innovative school systems in Maine are already doing.

The bill supports the creation of “food hubs” where locally produced food can be aggregated, minimally processed (such as washing and chopping), stored, and distributed. It also creates a competitive, grant-funded school food service training program, and seeks federal grants to operate the program.

The bill received strong bipartisan approval from the Legislature with a vote of 33-0 in the Senate and 120-19 in the House.

The Senate will take up the veto of LD 1431, “An Act To Support School Nutrition and Expand the Local Foods Economy,” when the Legislature reconvenes on May 1. Two-thirds, or 24 votes, is needed to override the veto.

With a total of 142 vetoes during his tenure, Governor LePage has exceeded the number of vetoes by any other Governor, including the previous record holder, one-term Governor Jim Longley with 118 vetoes. LePage has 10 days to issue more vetoes, and Lawmakers will return to try and override some – like healthcare.