AUGUSTA — A bill that boosts the pay of law enforcement officers, including troopers, game wardens, fire marshals and marine patrol officers and their supervisors, by 12 to 18 percent is on its way to the desk of Gov. Paul LePage after a vote in the Maine Senate.

The bill, LD 1523, originally provided pay increases to law enforcement supervisors, who were departing state service in droves to take higher-paying jobs at the local or county level, according to state officials and advocates for the pay raise.

“The brave men and women who protect us from criminals and enforce our laws had their pay frozen during the recession, and it’s time to make them whole,” Sen. Stan Gerzofsky, D-Brunswick, the lead Senate Democrat on the Legislature’s Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee, said in a prepared statement.

“They watched as their buddies in local police departments or county sheriff’s offices saw their pay raise with the cost of living,” Gerzofsky said. “But their own salaries were stuck, even as their bills grew. This bill gives our law enforcement officers what they deserve.”

The measure was amended by the Legislature’s budget-writing Appropriations Committee to include LD 1653, which provides raises for the rank-and-file officers.

“I’m proud that the Legislature is standing up for our state law enforcement officers,” said House Majority Leader Jeff McCabe, D-Skowhegan. “It’s time that the state provides them with the compensation their dedication and hard work deserves.”

He added, “We heard the law enforcement community when it told us loud and clear that current pay levels are hurting recruitment and retention. Let’s make sure that we can hold on and can attract the state law enforcement officers that keep Maine safe.”

The Senate on Friday accepted and enacted the version of LD 1523 that the House sent to it the previous night.

A version of the bill that the House initially approved provided raises in the 12 percent to 18 percent range, but the Senate amended the measure to provide pay increases of only 5 percent. The House restored the 12 percent to 18 percent raises with an amendment from Rep. Jim Davitt, D-Hampden. On Friday, the Senate concurred and sent that version to LePage.

The governor has 10 days to sign the bill into law, veto it or allow the bill to become law without his signature.


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