AUGUSTA — The Maine Legislature on Tuesday gave initial approval to a bill aimed at preventing the closure of Maine Veterans’ Homes in Caribou and Machias.

Both chambers voted unanimously to spare the facilities.

Senate President Troy Jackson said the Legislature made a commitment to veterans in establishing the Maine Veterans’ Homes. “To close these facilities now and move veterans out of their homes and away from their families for no good reason is simply unacceptable,” he said.

Jackson, D-Allagash, introduced the bill after the Maine Veterans’ Homes board decided to close the Caribou and Machias facilities this spring.

The bill would require legislative approval to close veteran homes and puts back into the statue the six municipalities where the homes must be located.

In other action, the House gave unanimous initial approval to a bill to strengthen protections for election workers on Tuesday.

The House also voted 78-58 to advance a bill that would define solitary confinement for state prisoners. The bill was scaled back from an earlier proposal to ban solitary confinement altogether.

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