BY RAMONA DU HOUX
March 6, 2013
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.”