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At the signing of LD 1990, in the Governors Cabin Room on April 5, are (left to right) Rep. Andre Cushing, Delano LePlante, Maine State Trooper Mike Edes, Jocelyne LePlante, Governor LePage, Sgt. Roy Peary (behind the governor), Chief Deputy Troy Morton, Deputy Sheriff Bobbie Pelletier and Penobscot County Sheriff Glenn Ross.
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For Immediate Release

Date: 04/06/12

Governor signs bill allowing law enforcement community to support members with catastrophic illness

AUGUSTA - Under a bill signed into law today by Governor LePage, Maine's law enforcement community will be able to provide financial support to police officers and their immediate family members who suffer a serious illness.

LD 1900, the enabling legislation, carried an emergency preamble, meaning it took effect as soon as the governor signed the document. The bill received final passage by the House and Senate this morning with unanimous consent.

State Rep. Andre Cushing (R-Hampden) sponsored the bill, "An Act To Support Members of the Law Enforcement Community Who Have Suffered a Catastrophic Illness." His action was prompted by a situation involving the Penobscot County Law Enforcement Association, which raised money for a deputy's wife who was suffering from cancer.

As word spread by e-mail of the fundraising effort, donations flowed in from other police departments and friends of law enforcement. However, when the effort moved beyond the Penobscot County Sheriff's Office, it was found to have violated laws against police solicitations from the general public. All contributions had to be returned to the donors.

The law formerly prohibited police solicitations of any kind. That restriction was altered a few years ago to allow a law enforcement department to raise funds to support one of its members, but only within the department. The new law permits law enforcement agencies across the state to contribute funds in support of their brothers and sisters in other agencies who are afflicted with a catastrophic illness.

Under the new rules, a law enforcement agency may host ticketed fundraising events that are open to the public. However, those events must be advertised only through public announcements and tickets must be available for purchase only from a "designated public benefit corporation." Solicitations may not be sent directly to potential donors by mail or any other means.

The bill signing, which took place at the State House, was attended by Deputy Sheriff Bobbie Pelletier of the Penobscot County Sheriff's Office, whose wife, Kim, lost her battle with cancer earlier this year. Her parents, Delano and Jocelyne LePlante, of Cyr Plantation, also attended the ceremony.

Penobscot County Sheriff Glenn Ross came to Augusta for the bill signing, along with Chief Deputy Troy Morton and Sergeant Roy Peary. State Police Sergeant Mike Edes, president of the Maine State Troopers Association, was in attendance, along with John Morris, commissioner of the Maine Department of Public Safety, and legislators on the Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee. ###

Jay Finegan
Maine House Republicans
Tel: (207) 287-1445