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  • Legislature makes its case to defend state Constitution against Gov. LePage’s interpretation of the law

    Top House and Senate leaders to file joint brief before Law Court 

    By Ramona du Houx

    The Speaker of the Maine House and the Senate President will file a joint brief on behalf of the Legislature in the dispute over the fate of 65 new laws before the Maine Supreme Judicial Court.

    Just because the governor doesn't like these laws he has no right to declare they aren't valid. They passed the Legislature and he did not veto them. Maine is governed by democratic laws.

    The announcement comes in response to news that the Law Court will fast track Gov. Paul LePage’s request for an opinion on the bills, which became law after the governor missed the 10-day deadline to veto the bills.

    “House and Senate leaders will speak with one voice before the court. This is not a partisan issue. It is a matter of the Constitution, history and precedent,” said House Speaker Mark Eves, D-North Berwick. “We urge the court to take quick and decisive action to ensure these laws are enforced.”

    According to the Maine Constitution, the Governor has 10 days, not including Sundays, to sign or veto a bill. If he does not take either of those actions, the bill becomes law if the Legislature has not adjourned for the year. The Governor missed his own deadline after a pointed promise to veto all Democratic bills.

    The court is requesting written arguments in the case by July 29, and it will hold oral arguments on July 31. The Legislature will be represented by Bangor Attorney Tim Woodcock of Eaton Peabody, who previously served on staff for Republican Senator Bill Cohen.

    LePage and Eves are also preparing for another court case over how LePage got Eves fired. That case could lead to the governor's impeachment.