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Gov to sign St. Patrick's Day bill

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) -- Gov. Paul LePage says he'll sign a bill to allow bars to serve alcohol a few hours earlier when St. Patrick's Day falls on a Sunday, as it does this weekend.

The governor has vowed to veto any bill that reaches his desk before his proposal to pay a state debt to hospitals is passed. But he'll sign the St. Patrick's Day bill as a goodwill gesture to Democrats, who moved closer this week toward agreement with the Republican governor on how to address the $484 million Medicaid debt to hospitals.

Current state law prohibits the sale of liquor on Sunday between 6 a.m. and 9 a.m. The bill would roll back the earliest opening to 6 a.m.

Some Maine businesses say they'd lose business without the new law.