Last Thursday, Assistant House Republican Leader Rep. Ellie Espling of New Gloucester sent a letter to Senate President Mike Thibodeau and House Speaker Sara Gideon requesting they convene a Joint Select Committee that would work solely on the drug crisis that is crippling Maine.
“It is with the utmost respect to the Speaker and Senate President and the difficult decisions they have in front of them that I make this request,” said Rep. Espling. “I anticipate a great number of bills being submitted to address the drug epidemic as legislators from all ideological backgrounds bring their ideas forward. By appointing a committee to focus solely on these bills my hope is we can work toward a solution to a problem that is killing more Mainers every day.”
According to recent media reports, for the first time in history, more Mainers are dying from drug overdoses than motor vehicle accidents. Attorney General Janet Mills recently revealed an alarming statistic that one Mainer dies every day from a drug overdose.
During the 127th, thanks to a bipartisan effort, LD 1537 “An Act To Combat Drug Addiction through Enforcement, Prevention, Treatment and Recovery” was passed.
“I said at the time this was only a first step and that we have a lot more work to do on this issue,” added Rep. Espling. “We all agree that this needs to be a comprehensive approach that includes enforcement, treatment and education. This type of committee would provide the proper environment to work on such a comprehensive solution.”
In order for a Joint Select Committee to be convened, a Joint Order would have to be passed by the House and Senate. The last time a Joint Select Committee was formed was back in 2011 when the Joint Select Committee on Regulatory Reform and Fairness was convened.
The letter to Senate President Thibodeau and Speaker Gideon can be found here: 20161222115556853