AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — Lawmakers in Maine plan to hold their first legislative sessions at the Augusta Civic Center rather than meet in the Maine State House as coronavirus cases grow. 

The 49,000-square-foot civic center, located not far from the statehouse, is typically used for events such as concerts, agriculture conventions and conferences. 

A spokeswoman for outgoing Maine House Speaker Sara Gideon tells the Portland Press Herald would provide more space than the statehouse, and that would make it easier to observe social distance. 

The full Maine Legislature last met in March. The top priority for lawmakers will be crafting a new two-year state budget at a time when Maine finances have been stressed by the coronavirus pandemic.

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