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For Immediate Release

Date: 10/30/13

Military Recruiter Uniforms Bill Survives Screening: What's Changed?

After quashing proposal, Dems reintroduce bill to allow recruiters to wear uniforms in schools

AUGUSTA - The Maine Legislative Council - the panel of six Democratic and four Republican members of legislative leadership - on Wednesday screened bill proposals submitted by various lawmakers. One of them was LR 2254, "An Act To Authorize Public Safety Personnel and Members of the Military When Visiting Schools in Their Official Capacity To Wear Their Uniforms," sponsored by Rep. Mick Devin (D-Newcastle). The bill was unanimously approved by the Council.

A bill introduced by Governor Paul LePage and sponsored by House Republican Leader Ken Fredette sought to accomplish the same goal earlier this year. It was defeated by House Democrats with a vote of 97-45, falling short of the two-thirds majority required for passage as a mandate on schools.

Many House Democrats did not believe the military recruiters who raised the issue, while others actually said that recruiters should not be allowed to wear their military uniforms in Maine's public schools.

"I'd like to know what has changed between when the Democrats killed this bill and now," said Rep. Fredette. "It's great if some of the more liberal members changed their minds on whether military recruiters should be allowed to wear their uniforms in schools, but it shouldn't even have been a controversial issue as far as I'm concerned. Our military service members should enjoy the respect they deserve when they walk into Maine's public schools, and they should be given the benefit of the doubt when they raise concerns."

The bill sparked an impassioned floor debate in the House Chamber in June, with veterans expressing shock and outrage that the measure faced Democratic opposition. "We bury these guys in their uniforms, but they're not allowed to wear them in schools?" said Rep. Peter Doak (R-Columbia Falls), a former Green Beret who served in the Vietnam War.

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