For Immediate Release
AUGUSTA - State Rep. Ken Fredette's crusade against domestic violence received major support from Governor Paul LePage on July 13.
At a State House press conference, the governor was presented with an $18,000 check to explore electronic monitoring of domestic violence offenders. In a surprising announcement, he said that he would match the donation with $18,000 from his contingency fund.
"I'm grateful to Gov. LePage for his support, and I appreciate his strong backing of efforts to combat domestic violence," said Rep. Fredette (R-Newport), whose legislation established the Electronic Monitoring Fund within the Department of Corrections (DOC). This new Fund makes it possible for the DOC's commissioner to receive and use money to develop a plan to expand the use of electronic monitoring in cases involving domestic violence.
At the press conference, Rep. Fredette presented the governor with the $18,000 check. The funds came from the Second Annual Amy Lake Memorial 5K, held last month in Dexter. The organizer of the event, Kelley Gay, was on hand for the presentation, along with Ralph and Linda Bagley, of Dexter, whose daughter Amy and grandchildren Coty and Monica were killed two years ago as a result of domestic violence.
Also on hand were Margo Batsie, of the Maine Coalition to End Domestic Violence, Attorney General William Schneider and DOC Commissioner Joseph Ponte. Don Grimes, representing an electronic monitoring company called Satellite Tracking of People - STOP - explained the technology, in use in 46 states to monitor criminals, sex offenders and domestic violence abusers.
Rep. Fredette, an outspoken advocate for toughening Maine's domestic violence laws, submitted a bill in the 125th Legislature that would have brought electronic monitoring to Maine as part of legislation to amend the Maine Bail Code for domestic violence offenders. In lieu of passing that bill, he co-sponsored the governor's bill on amending the Bail Code. However, that bill did not include an electronic monitoring provision.
As a member of the Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee, Rep. Fredette attached an amendment to a supplemental budget passed in May. That measure set up the Electronic Monitoring Fund, which permitted the state to accept the donation from Kelley Gay and other organizers of the Dexter 5K. The governor's contribution brings the total to $36,000.
"These funds will be used by the DOC commissioner and the Maine Commission on Domestic and Sexual Abuse to develop a plan for electronic tracking of perpetrators of domestic violence," said Rep. Fredette. If reelected, he added, he plans to move forward in the next Legislature with a bill to implement electronic monitoring in Maine.
"Domestic violence is a terrible crime that forces victims and family members to live in fear," he said. "Almost half of all homicides in Maine are related to domestic violence. I have no doubt that many incidences and attacks could be averted by the use of an electronic monitoring system that keeps track of perpetrators' whereabouts. This is off-the-shelf technology with a proven track record, and I believe we need it in Maine." ###
Maine House Republicans
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