Governor Paul LePage and Representative Ken Fredette held a joint media conference today, where Rep. Fredette presented the Governor with a check for $18,000. This money will be used to fund the exploration, use, and implementation of electronic monitoring systems on domestic violence offenders in Maine. At the conference, Governor LePage announced that he would use money from his contingency fund to match the donation, doubling it to $36,000.
"I read a report by the Maine Domestic Abuse Homicide Review Panel which showed that between 2010 and 2011, twenty one of the forty eight homicides in Maine were domestic violence related," said Governor LePage. "This is a serious problem, and this fund is one step towards fixing it. All Mainers have the right to feel safe in their own homes."
Speaking at the event were Governor LePage, Representative Ken Fredette, Don Grimes of STOP, LLC, and Kelley Gay, organizer of the Amy, Coty, Monica Memorial 5K fundraiser and personal friend to the late Amy Lake. Also joining them were Margo Batsie from the Maine Coalition to End Domestic Violence, Corrections Commissioner Joseph Ponte, Attorney General William Schneider, as well as the parents of Amy Lake, Linda and Ralph Bagley.
Rep. Ken Fredette created the Electronic Monitoring Fund as part of the last Supplemental Budget passed by the Legislature to give the State the ability to accept and use donated funds for the use of electronic monitoring.
In the last legislature, Rep. Fredette was a strong advocate for stricter laws on domestic violence in Maine.
"I have been an outspoken proponent for toughening our domestic violence laws," said Fredette. "In the last legislature, I co-sponsored changes to our bail code as well as legislation to make mandatory fees of those charged with domestic violence crimes to pay into a victim's compensation fund. I plan to move forward this session with implementing electronic monitoring systems in Maine."
The electronic monitoring task force, a seven-member group created by executive order of the Governor, is charged with assessing the most effective and affordable ways to utilize electronic monitoring tools in Maine, as well as the most efficient ways to implement these systems.
The primary contribution to the initial $18,000 came from the Second Annual Amy Lake Memorial 5K fundraiser, which was held last month in Dexter.
"I would especially like to thank all those who participated in this year's Amy, Coty, Monica Memorial 5k Fundraiser," said Governor LePage. "Your efforts will help us stop future tragedies like the one experienced by Amy Lake and her two children, Monica and Coty."
Amy Lake and her two children were killed in their home by her husband, Steven, who then turned his gun on himself. Amy had a protection order in place against her husband at the time.