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Governor kills Maine proposal to end 'three strikes' law for petty theft

Democratic Maine Gov. Janet Mills vetoed Tuesday a proposal by state Rep. David Sinclair to end the state's "three strikes" law for petty theft convicts.

Maine's Democratic governor has vetoed a proposal to end the state's "three strikes" law for people convicted of petty thefts.

The proposal, from Democratic Rep. David Sinclair, sought to set a threshold for theft by a repeat offender. Sinclair's proposal stated that a person with two or more prior convictions would not be charged with a felony if they committed theft of property valued at $500 or less.

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Gov. Janet Mills vetoed the proposal Tuesday. Mills wrote in her veto message that the proposal would "make Maine an outlier among New England states."

Mills also wrote that retail theft is "a serious problem in Maine" and that the proposal to alter the three strikes rule could possibly make it worse. Preventing prosecutors from being able to charge a third theft as a felony "will take away an important tool to hold people accountable," wrote Mills, a former state attorney general.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Maine was among the supporters of the proposal. Michael Kebede, a policy counsel with the group, testified that it "would ensure that our criminal codes are more proportionate to the conduct they seek to punish."

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