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Co-chair of Maine Legislature's Appropriations Committee Quits

In a highly unusual move this late in the legislative session, the House co-chairman of the Legislature's budget-writing Appropriations Committee has resigned. As Mal Leary reports, legislative leaders from both parties are trying to convince Republican Pat Flood to change his mind.

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Rep. Flood, a four-year veteran of the Appropriation's Committee, was visibly upset Thursday night and in the early morning hours today following the panel being forced to consider a procedural motion that exempted the GOP health reform bill from the normal Appropriations Committee process.

This afternoon, Flood submitted his resignation as the co-chairman of the panel to House Speaker Robert Nutting, an Oakland Republican.

"I've not accepted his resignation," Nutting told Capitol News Service. "We're going to take the week to work through this and have some conversations, and on Monday, we're going to reconvene the committee and get back to work on the budget."

Nutting met with members of the committee following Flood's action and told him he's not accepting the letter. Nutting also has served on the committee, and he says he understands Flood's frustation.

"I think we were all surprised last evening at the level of partisanship and discontent in this building based on a Republican bill to change the health care insurance market in the state of Maine," Nutting says. "I think it escalated to a point that we don't normally see until we get to the end of the budget cycle. This may have been like a test of the end of the budget cycle, but we will get through this."

House Democratic leader Emily Cain, from Orono, also met with Nutting. She was the co-chair of the committee last session. She praised Nutting's decision to refuse the resignation and will join him in efforts to convince Flood to stay as the co-chairman of the panel.

"I would like to see him stay as the chair because I believe he brings the right style of leadership that works cross the aisle and is the appropriate approach in a two-thirds budget environment, which is what we're all working for," Cain says.
The committee's scheduled to meet again Monday afternoon for a public hearing on the governor's budget change package, but Nutting and Cain hope Flood will be co-chairing the meeting.


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