- Associated Press - Monday, June 22, 2015

5:00 p.m. (EDT)

Maine’s Democratic-controlled House of Representatives has endorsed a measure to ensure people seeking asylum in the state continue receiving municipal welfare benefits.

The House voted 81-63 in favor of the bill on Monday. It also approved an amendment that was introduced by Republican Sen. Amy Volk and passed by the Senate last week that would limit general assistance benefits for asylum seekers to 24 months.

Republican Gov. Paul LePage’s administration is no longer reimbursing cities and towns for general assistance provided to certain immigrants, including asylum seekers and people who came to the U.S. illegally.

Supporters would have to pick up twenty votes in the House to overturn an all-but-certain veto from LePage.


4:30 p.m. (EDT)

The Maine House has supported an effort to get permission from the federal government to ban the use of food stamps to buy junk food.

The Democratic-controlled House voted 73-70 in favor of an amended version of Republican Sen. Roger Katz’s bill Monday.

It would direct Maine’s Department of Health and Human Services to request a waiver to restrict the purchase of certain products, like soda, chips and candy. A provision added by Democrats also requires the department to help organizations create initiatives to improve the diets of people in the food stamp program.

The Senate approved a different version that would only direct the department to seek the waiver. Republicans in the House who opposed the bill said the other piece sought by Democrats is unnecessary.

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