LePage renews veto threat while legislature continues work and passes bills

March 6th, 2013 · Filed under: Capitol news, Community Maine, Economy, Issue 35, Public Safety · 1 Comment

Last Friday Governor Paul LePage said he would not sign any bills unless he gets his way on a complicated scheme to take out a bond- while holding back voter approved bonds – to pay for a hospital debt- of which $3.7 billion has already being paid. On Wednesday, a reporter asked LePage whether he might sign some laws that have been approved by the Legislature, and not others, as many bills have bipartisan support. LePage replied, “Nothing gets done. Nothing.”

Despite Maine’s cost shift governor many Republicans and Democrats are still determined to work together and work is getting accomplished. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle believe the people of Maine are worth fighting for and a number of bills have been passed. (listed below) A bipartisan atmosphere still exists on the third floor of the capitol where the House and Senate meet.

“We’re still working together despite distractions,” said President of the Senate Justin Alfond. “We’re focused on the economy and how to grow the middle class.”

Meanwhile LePage told the Bangor Daily News today, “You know, it’s like a day care over there,” he said, referring to the State House.

All the bills that could be sent to the governor for his signature at this point have been reported out of committee with unanimous support and easily passed through the House and Senate. These bills will become law with or without LePage’s signature as they have been passed with two thirds of lawmakers in both chambers, which is enough to override any veto. The supplemental budget was passed this way two weeks ago.

The bills include:

· LD 2: Resolve, Regarding Legislative Review of Portions of Chapter 252: Rules Governing Certification of Seed Potatoes in the State of Maine, a Major Substantive Rule of the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry

· LD 26: An Act To Authorize the Commissioner of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife To Change a Fishing Season Opening Date Statewide

· LD 29: An Act To Provide Support Services to Adults with Intellectual Disabilities or Autistic Disorder

· LD 30: An Act To Provide Home and Community Services for Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities or Autism

· LD 32: An Act To Expand the Types of Vaccines That May Be Administered by Pharmacists

· LD 103: An Act To Correct an Inconsistency in Maine’s Apprenticeship Laws

· LD 112: An Act To Make Changes to the Educators for Maine Program

· LD 113: An Act To Make Changes to the Maine College Savings Program

Not all bills can be passed by two-thirds majority. LePage’s outbursts may garner headlines but are not progressing Maine’s economic well being. LePage still has yet to release voter approved bonds that would create 4,000 jobs and generate over $300 million in economic activity.

During a TV interview today LePage said, “If they want to use it (his deal) as a political ball that is stupidity on their part.” he added that lawmakers are playing games “instead of doing the work”. 

“It’s ironic that the Governor keeps calling for bold action yet what he’s doing is threatening inaction. We have serious issues facing the state and as lawmakers it is our job to get to work on these challenges,” said Senate Majority Leader Seth Goodall. “In all honestly the only games being played here in Augusta is the political brinkmanship from the Governor.”  

 

1 response so far ↓

  • 1 Thomas Czyz // Mar 8, 2013 at 2:05 pm

    Has there been a review of the outstanding debt owed the hospitals? My concern stems from the DHHS’ inconsistent financial reporting over the last two years. If the state struggles with understanding the area of their own financial house related to healthcare, why should I believe the state is correct in stating what is owed to the hospitals?

    When the bill comes at a restaurant, or to our home, it is normal to validate its accuracy before we pay it. We’ve all experienced inaccurate bills and had them corrected. Pay a majority portion to the hospitals now, and the balance following validation of its accuracy.

    What is most disappointing is the governor’s behavior. If I were to take his comment (later modified) of holding up all bills until the hospitals are paid, frame it as he being passionate on an issue, then why isn’t he as passionate about education?

    In 2010 voters approved the Oxford Casino under the promise that 46 percent of the profits would help fund public education in Maine. However, unless something has changed, the governor intends to use those funds ($14 million) to address a gap in the state’s budget.

    In doing so he broke a promise between the state and its citizens on where the $14 million was to be spent. A debt obligation took precedence over a moral obligation in the education of children. What if an audit discovered $14 million (3% of $484 million) in erroneous hospital billing? And yes, what would be the cost of that audit? A debt obligation and moral obligation may be addressed.

    Paying one’s debts, healthcare, and education are all emotionally charged issues. Unfortunately, rather than addressing the tensions behind the emotions, the governor’s behavior further divides those who support and do not support his initiatives.

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