By Ramona du Houx
House Democrats and Independents pushing for impeachment proceedings against Gov. Paul LePage will introduce a measure on January 14, 2016 to start an investigation into eight possible charges against LePage.
Throughout Maine's history, no governor has ever been impeached. Impeachment would require approval in the House and a two-thirds vote to convict in the State Senate, then there would be an impeachment trial. That trial could take years, tying up LePage's time.
The impeachment measure's eight motions, that follow the law of the Constitution, will be read out-loud during an official roll call in the House, on Thursday. If passed, the measure would start with a call for a 13-member House Special Investigative Committee to investigate “allegations of misfeasance, malfeasance, nonfeasance and other misconduct” by Gov. LePage. Ben Chipman, I-Portland, is the lead sponsor of the investigation legislation.
House Democrats are divided on what action to take towards LePage. Maine's House Democratic leadership does not back the impeachment measure and is seeking a censure or reprimand instead, which, unlike impeachment proceedings, would not require a Senate vote.
The censure resolution is still being drafted. “As far as a censure or reprimand of the governor, we will continue to get bipartisan support to address what has become a hostile work environment created by the governor. We have to try to continue to work with Republicans to try and overcome his antics,” said House Majority Leader Jeff McCabe, D-Skowhegan, who recently announced he would be running for State Senate.