AUGUSTA – Gov. Paul LePage is tweaking his $6.8 billion budget proposal to add funds for private lawyers and cut a civil rights program, among other things.

He’s proposing to eliminate the attorney general’s program aiming to reduce bias in schools, saving $550,000 over two years. His administration says the program should be under the Department of Education, if lawmakers keep it.

He’s also asking for $1 million each year for legal contingencies when the attorney general declines to represent him. LePage is suing Democratic Attorney General Janet Mills for refusing to represent him. Mills says her office’s independence is settled law.

The proposal also funds the Downeast Correctional Center, which LePage wants to close, through March. It also provides money to pay court-appointed lawyers – but only through January.

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