AUGUSTA — A bill to fund a small, rural Maine prison that s long been on the state’s chopping block is heading to a panel of lawmakers.

Republican Rep. Will Tuell’s bill would provide about $5.5 million to fund Downeast Correctional Facility for the fiscal year beginning in July.

Republican Gov. Paul LePage has pushed to close the prison, which houses roughly 60 inmates. Lawmakers during last year s budget negotiations only funded the prison for one more year.

Tuell’s bill calls for the state to report the economic and community impact of closing the Machiasport prison.

The bill is set for a Monday public hearing.

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