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  • Maine Supreme Court’s upheld 65 new laws Governor Paul LePage failed to act on

    On August, 6, 2015 the Maine Supreme Court’s upheld 65 new laws Governor Paul LePage failed to act on within the 10-day window granted him by the Maine Constitution. It was an unanimous opinion.

    Attorney General Janet T. Mills said this in her statement, “The Office of the Attorney General is pleased with the full and complete responses to the Governor's questions elucidated in the unanimous 47 page opinion today. The Opinion of the Justices is on all fours with all the research conducted by our Office and with the Opinion of the Attorney General of July 10, 2015. We are also pleased that the Court ruled expeditiously so as to avoid any further unnecessary debate and confusion. The answers to the Governor's questions are clear, unambiguous and completely consistent with his own past practice and with that of every other Governor in recent memory. Except when the Legislature has adjourned sine die, the Chief Executive has ten days (excluding Sundays) within which to return any bills with his objections. By his failure to do so, he has forfeited the right to veto any of the bills at issue.” 

    Ironically LePage said, “This was not about winning or losing; it was about doing things right.” 

    “The court has rightly rejected Gov. Paul LePage’s legal gymnastics. The decision affirms these bills are law. The governor must enforce them,” said Speaker Eves. “The ruling also reaffirms the Constitution, historical precedent, and honors the separation of powers in our Democracy that protects against partisanship and abuse of power. The decision is a victory a huge win for Maine women, families, seniors, and veterans, who will see great benefits from the laws we passed.”

    Among the 65 laws are critical measures to expand access to health care for 13,000 Maine women, temporary assistance for asylum seekers and a much needed investment bond to build affordable senior housing.

     In its 47-page response, which weighed heavily on history and precedent, the justices wrote: 

    “Our unanimous Opinion is as follows: A solemn occasion has been, Having considered the filings, the factual background and legislative record, the constitutional context of the language at issue, long-held traditions and practices of Maine Governors and Legislatures, and the analysis and precedents of other jurisdictions, each of us is of the opinion that a temporary legislative adjournment does not prevent the return of the bills with the Governor’s objections to the Legislature. During such a temporary adjournment, the Governor may return the bills and his objections to the officers and agents of the originating House...” 

    “We understand the hope expressed by the three Republican Members of the House that a method of compromise could be found by which the Chief Executive and the Legislature would have an opportunity to revisit decisions and timeframes that have already passed. The Maine Constitution, and nearly four decades of practice and precedent, do not, however, provide for such a process. We have been asked for our opinions regarding the language of the Maine Constitution, and we have endeavored faithfully to provide those opinions. In so doing, we are acutely aware that our conclusions will render ineffective the Governor’s objections to sixty-five bills—a result that we do not take lightly. Nonetheless, in exercising the authority of the Judicial Branch to respond to an inquiry from the Executive Branch, we are guided by the need for certainty in, and confirmation of, the constitutionally-identified process that has been employed in Maine for so many years.”

  • 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.

  • LePage poised to allow 51 more bills become law without his signature

    By Ramona du Houx

    Fifty-one bills passed by the Legislature will become law if Gov. Paul LePage does not sign or veto them before Saturday draws to a close. July 11th is his Constitutional deadline but to try and prove his point, that they don't need his signature to become law, they will become law. The legislature never adjourned, so according to the Constitution the Governor has to veto these bills- with his signature-if he doesn't want them to become law.

    He is trying to win an argument against the Maine Constitution. On 7/7/15 twenty bills became law, when the Legislature was in recess because LePage failed to put his veto signature on them. He claims lawmakers were adjourned when the historic record of the Legislature shows they were only in recess as they have work to finish July 16th.

    “The governor has already allowed a number of bills to become law without his signature, whether it was inadvertently or through a serious misunderstanding of the Maine Constitution. We’re looking forward to seeing even more of the good policy passed by the Legislature become law this weekend,” said House Majority Leader Jeff McCabe, D-Skowhegan. “The governor has been twisting himself into knots trying to push an argument that doesn’t pass the straight-face test. The Constitution is clear: these bills will be law if the governor fails to act.” 

    Fifty-one bills passed by the Legislature on June 30th are on the governor’s desk. 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 finally adjourned. For these bills, the window closes at midnight Saturday. The Office of the Revisor will chapter them Monday.

    Typically, the governor’s office delivers vetoes to the Legislature by the close of business Friday for bills that would become law over a weekend. The Clerk of the House and the Secretary of the Senate are making themselves available to receive any vetoes this Saturday.

    “The governor, just like any other elected official, is bound by our constitution. It’s time that he acts in accordance with it instead of twisting it for some questionable purpose,” said Assistant House Majority Leader Sara Gideon, D-Freeport. “It’s time for him to stop playing these political games – to stop trying to rewrite the rules when they don’t suit him – so the people of Maine can have some faith in the office of the governor.” 

    The bills address matters ranging from jail consolidation to domestic violence to health care access for women and “revenge porn.” A number address Maine’s aging population through a bond for affordable housing, a much-needed boost for direct-care workers, tax credits for adult day care, hospice are and respite care and protections from financial exploitation. One bill provides Vietnam veterans the same property tax exemptions that veterans of other conflicts already receive. Another increases access to the overdose reversal medication naloxone. Public education, first responders, entrepreneurship, conservation and downtown revitalization are among the other topics addressed by some of the other measures.

    The governor has indicated the he will not act before the 10-day window closes and incorrectly asserts that the bills will not become law, despite the clarity provided by the Maine Constitution and precedent. The governor’s argument is based on an illogical claim that the Legislature is finally adjourned, which would mean that the clock for the 10-day window has stopped.

    The Legislature’s first regular session remains under way, as evidenced by its plans to return July 16th  to take up the remainder of its work, including any vetoes issued in accordance with the Maine Constitution.

    Emergency bills go into effect when the Legislature overrides a veto, when it is signed by the governor or when the 10-day window closes without action from the governor. Non-emergency bills go into effect 90 days after the Legislature finally adjourns, or adjourns “sine die.” 

     

     

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    BILLS ENACTED IN THE HOUSE AND SENATE

    BUT NOT YET ASSIGNED CHAPTER NUMBERS

    LD 63  6/30/2015        Resolve, To Require the Department of Health and Human Services To Provide Supplemental Reimbursement to Adult Family Care Homes and Residential Care Facilities in Remote Island Locations (Rep. Walter Kumiega, D-Deer Isle)

     

    LD 86  6/30/2015        An Act To Improve Retirement Security for Retired Public Employees (Rep. Roger Sherman, R-Hodgdon)

     

    LD 93  6/30/2015        An Act To Amend the Laws Governing Pine Tree Development Zone Benefits for the Town of Berwick and the City of Sanford (Rep. Beth O’Connor, R-Berwick)

     

    LD 140            6/30/2015        An Act To Expand Access To Lifesaving Opioid Overdose Medication (Rep. Henry Beck, D-Waterville)

     

    LD 155            6/30/2015        Resolve, To Establish the Commission To Study Difficult-to-place Patients (Rep. Richard Malaby, R-Hancock)

     

    LD 164            6/30/2015        An Act To Establish the Maine Length of Service Award Program (Rep. Jeffrey Evangelos, U-Friendship)

     

    LD 170            6/30/2015        An Act To Remove the 180-day Active Duty Requirement for the Property Tax Exemption for Vietnam Veterans (Rep. Catherine Nadeau, D-Winslow)

     

    LD 186            6/30/2015        An Act To Reverse Jail Consolidation (Sen. Paul Davis, R-Sangerville)

     

    LD 210            6/30/2015        An Act To Provide for Special Restrictions on Dissemination and Use of Criminal History Record Information for Class E Crimes Committed by an Adult under 21 Years of Age (Sen. Linda Valentino, D-Saco)

     

    LD 222            6/30/2015        An Act To Reduce Commercial Shellfish License Fees for Persons under 18 Years of Age (Rep. William Tuell, R-East Machias)

     

    LD 231            6/30/2015        An Act To Ensure That Schoolchildren with Dyslexia Receive the Assistance Needed (Rep. Terry Morrison, D-South Portland)

     

    LD 261            6/30/2015        Resolve, Directing the Maine Arts Commission, the Maine Historic Preservation Commission and the Maine State Museum Commission To Study the Replacement of Statues in the National Statuary Hall Collection (Sen. Garrett Mason, R-Lisbon Falls)

     

    LD 319            6/30/2015        An Act To Strengthen the Economic Stability of Qualified Maine Citizens by Expanding Coverage of Reproductive Health Care and Family Services (Rep. Jay McCreight, D-Harpswell)

     

    LD 418            6/30/2015        Resolve, To Study the Use of Social Impact Bonds as a Funding Mechanism for Public Education Programs in Maine (Rep. Matt Pouliot, R-Augusta)

     

    LD 431            6/30/2015        An Act To Strengthen the Laws Prohibiting Stalking (Sen. David Burns, R-Whiting)

     

    LD 500            6/30/2015        Resolve, To Create a Working Group To Develop Solutions To Meet the Needs for Municipal Volunteer Personnel (Speaker Mark Eves, D-North Berwick)

     

    LD 512            6/30/2015        An Act To Implement Certain Recommendations of the Criminal Law Advisory Commission Relative to the Maine Criminal Code  (Introducer: Rep. Lori Fowle)

     

    LD 582            6/30/2015        An Act To Establish a State Educational Medicaid Officer (Rep. Paul Stearns, R-Guilford)

     

    LD 651            6/30/2015        An Act To Amend Maine's Sex Trafficking and Child Welfare Laws (Sen. Amy Volk, R-Scarborough)

     

    LD 679            6/30/2015        An Act To Prohibit the Unauthorized Dissemination of Certain Private Images (Rep. Ken Fredette, R-Newport)

     

    LD 721            6/30/2015        Resolve, To Establish the Commission To Strengthen and Align the Services Provided to Maine's Veterans (Rep. Jared Golden, D-Lewiston)

     

    LD 727            6/30/2015        An Act To Allow the Retrofit of Underground Oil Storage Tanks (Sen. David Woodsome, R-North Waterboro)

     

    LD 729            6/30/2015        An Act To Add Acetylfentanyl and Methylfentanyl Derivatives to the List of Schedule W Drugs (Sen. David Burns, R-Whiting)

     

    LD 767            6/30/2015        An Act To Create Jobs in Aroostook and Washington Counties (Rep. Carol McElwee, R-Caribou)

     

    LD 787            6/30/2015        An Act To Provide Tax Credits for Adult Day Care and Respite and Hospice Care (Rep. Denise Harlow, D-Portland)

     

    LD 831            6/30/2015        Resolve, To Reduce MaineCare Spending through Targeted Prevention Services (Rep. Linda Sanborn, D-Gorham)

     

    LD 839            6/30/2015        An Act To Increase Conservation District Funding (Rep. Russell Black, R-Wilton)

     

    LD 840            6/30/2015        An Act To Collect and Report Data on the Implementation of Proficiency-based Diplomas and Standards-based Student Learning (Rep. Brian Hubbell, D-Bar Harbor)

     

    LD 853            6/30/2015        An Act To Allow Secondary Schools To Grant Certificates of Academic Proficiency (Rep. Brian Hubbell, D-Bar Harbor)

     

       LD 905         6/30/2015        Resolve, To Study Allocations of the Fund for a Healthy Maine (Rep. Roberta Beavers, D-South Berwick)

     

    LD 921            6/30/2015        An Act To Strengthen the Right of a Victim of Sexual Assault or Domestic Violence To Take Necessary Leave from Employment and To Promote Employee Social Media Privacy (Rep. Mattie Daughtry, D-Brunswick)

     

    LD 941            6/30/2015        An Act To Improve Tax Expenditure Transparency and Accountability (Sen. Paul Davis, R-Sangerville)

     

    LD 983            6/30/2015        An Act To Clarify Wine Auction Licenses (Sen. John Patrick, D-Rumford)

     

    LD 1040          6/30/2015        An Act To Enhance Funding Opportunities for the Youth Conservation Corps  (Sen. Thomas Saviello, R-Wilton)

     

    LD 1042          6/30/2015        Resolve, To Create the Task Force on School Leadership (Sen. Brian Langley, R-Ellsworth)

     

    LD 1044          6/30/2015        An Act To Ensure That Collection Facilities Can Participate in the Architectural Paint Stewardship Program (Sen. Thomas Saviello, R-Wilton)

     

    LD 1160          6/30/2015        An Act To Make Possession of a Firearm with an Altered or Obscured Serial Number a Class C Crime (Sen. Anne Haskell, D-Portland)

     

    LD 1166          6/30/2015        An Act To Protect Taxpayers by Regulating Personal Services Contracts (Rep. Roland “Danny” Martin, D-Sinclair)

     

    LD 1202          6/30/2015        Resolve, To Ensure the Stocking of Inland Waters in the State (Sen. Paul Davis, R-Sangerville

     

    LD 1205          6/30/2015        An Act To Authorize a General Fund Bond Issue To Support the Independence of Maine's Seniors (Speaker Mark Eves, D-North Berwick)

     

    LD 1246          6/30/2015        An Act To Strengthen Laws Regarding the Manufacture and Sale of Methamphetamine and Other Drugs (Sen. Kim Rosen, R-Bucksport)

     

    LD 1277          6/30/2015        An Act To Establish a Magnet School for Marine Science, Technology, Transportation and Engineering (Rep. James Gilway, R-Searsport)

     

    LD 1291          6/30/2015        An Act To Promote Food Self-sufficiency for the People of the State (Rep. Craig Hickman, D-Winthrop)

     

    LD 1332          6/30/2015        An Act To Attract Entrepreneurs to the State (Sen. Justin Alfond, D-Portland)

     

    LD 1337          6/30/2015        An Act To Fund the Family Caregiver Support Program (Rep. Richard Malaby, R-Hancock)

     

    LD 1348          6/30/2015        An Act To Protect Older Adults from Financial Exploitation (Rep. Drew Gattine, D-Westbrook)

     

    LD 1350          6/30/2015        Resolve, To Increase the Reimbursement Rate for Direct-care Workers Serving Adults with Long-term Care Needs  (Speaker Mark Eves, D-North Berwick)

     

    LD 1372          6/30/2015        An Act To Encourage the Redevelopment of Upper Floors of Buildings in Downtowns and on Main Streets Program (Rep. Richard Campbell, R-Orrington)

     

    LD 1381          6/30/2015        An Act To Correct Errors and Inconsistencies in the Laws of Maine (Introducer: Rep. Barry Hobbins)

     

    LD 1449          6/30/2015        An Act To Amend the State Election Laws (Introducer: Sen. Cyrway)

     

    LD 1451          6/30/2015        An Act To Fund the Agreement with Certain Judicial Department Employees (Sen. James Hamper, R-Oxford)