Archive for March 24th, 2015

(UPDATED x4) BREAKING: LePage Relieves Adjuntant General Brigadier General James D. Campbell of ME Nat’l Guard Command- On National Guard Day

Posted on March 24, 2015. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , |

UPDATE x4: The Legislature’s Veterans’ Caucus has released a statement about this morning in the State House (emphasis added):

    “As veterans serving in the Maine Legislature, recognizing we do not have all the facts, we are profoundly concerned by the announcement about the Maine National Guard’s leadership. Today is National Guard Day at the State House, a day that drew many men and women in uniform to our Capitol. It is a time to honor the National Guard, all our servicemen and servicewomen and all our veterans. We, as the Veterans Caucus, salute them for their service and their achievements.”

UPDATE 3: Bolduc has been sworn in by Governor LePage.

UPDATE x2: Brigadier General James Campbell spoke before Appropriations and Criminal Justice Committees just last week regarding the budget. His portion starts at the 2:40 mark.

UPDATE: Governor LePage has now postponed a scheduled 12:30 press conference and BDN has more information on Campbell’s firing

    “Based on an internal review of General Campbell, I have lost faith in his ability to lead Maine’s soldiers and airmen who serve so proudly in the National Guard,” LePage wrote in a statement. “Effectively immediately, I have relieved him of his command.”

    Adrienne Bennett, a spokeswoman for the governor, said the internal review had been happening for some time, but did not say who conducted it. She said the decision to fire Campbell came this morning.

Brigadier General Gerard Bolduc of Bangor has been named acting Adjuntant General.

=====

Maine’s Adjuntant General Brigadier General James Campbell, who spoke recently before the Appropriations Committee, has apparently been shown the door by Governor Paul LePage this morning. This news comes as quite a surprise, given that Campbell was scheduled to address a joint convention of the 127th Maine Legislature this morning (PDF OF SPEECH).

ME Adjunct General Brig. Gen. James D. Campbell speaks before Approriations Committee

ME Adjuntant General Brig. Gen. James D. Campbell speaks before Approriations Committee

This via Rep. Matt Pouliot (R-Augusta), moments ago on FB:

    “Gen. Campbell was relieved of his command this morning, so there will be no Joint Convention. Gen. Campbell, who also served as the commissioner of Maine’s Department of Defense, Veterans and Emergency Management, was to brief lawmakers on the state of the Maine’s National Guard, Emergency Management Agency and Bureau of Veterans Services.”

Confirmation of the news has come by means of a short message to the media from Speaker Eves’ office:

“This morning the Legislature planned to hold a joint session to hear from the Adjutant General of the Maine National Guard. Given the breaking news that Governor Paul LePage relieved Brig. Gen. James Campbell this morning prior to the address, the Joint Session has been cancelled.”

No official word yet from the Governor’s office as to the reasons for the decision nor further information at this time.

From the House Calendar:

    ORDERS

    (4-1) On motion of Representative TEPLER of Topsham, the following Joint Resolution: (H.P. 741) (Cosponsored by Senator SAVIELLO of Franklin and Representatives: ALLEY of Beals, BABBIDGE of Kennebunk, BEAVERS of South Berwick, BICKFORD of Auburn, BROOKS of Lewiston, BRYANT of Windham, BUCKLAND of Farmington, BURSTEIN of Lincolnville, CHACE of Durham, CHENETTE of Saco, COOPER of Yarmouth, DAUGHTRY of Brunswick, DAVITT of Hampden, DEVIN of Newcastle, DILLINGHAM of Oxford, DOORE of Augusta, DUCHESNE of Hudson, DUNPHY of Old Town, EVANGELOS of Friendship, FARNSWORTH of Portland, FARRIN of Norridgewock, FOLEY of Wells, FOWLE of Vassalboro, GERRISH of Lebanon, GILBERT of Jay, GINZLER of Bridgton, GOLDEN of Lewiston, GOODE of Bangor, GRANT of Gardiner, GROHMAN of Biddeford, HICKMAN of Winthrop, HOBBINS of Saco, HOGAN of Old Orchard Beach, HYMANSON of York, JORGENSEN of Portland, KINNEY of Limington, KORNFIELD of Bangor, KRUGER of Thomaston, LONG of Sherman, LONGSTAFF of Waterville, MALABY of Hancock, MARTIN of Eagle Lake, MARTIN of Sinclair, MASTRACCIO of Sanford, McCABE of Skowhegan, McCREIGHT of Harpswell, MELARAGNO of Auburn, MONAGHAN of Cape Elizabeth, NADEAU of Winslow, NOON of Sanford, PETERSON of Rumford, PICKETT of Dixfield, PIERCE of Dresden, ROTUNDO of Lewiston, SAUCIER of Presque Isle, SCHNECK of Bangor, SEAVEY of Kennebunkport, SKOLFIELD of Weld, STUCKEY of Portland, SUKEFORTH of Appleton, TIMMONS of Cumberland, TIPPING-SPITZ of Orono, TUCKER of Brunswick, TUELL of East Machias, TURNER of Burlington, VEROW of Brewer, WELSH of Rockport, Senators: ALFOND of Cumberland, BAKER of Sagadahoc, BRAKEY of Androscoggin, BURNS of Washington, CUSHING of Penobscot, DAVIS of Piscataquis, DIAMOND of Cumberland, GERZOFSKY of Cumberland, GRATWICK of Penobscot, HASKELL of Cumberland, JOHNSON of Lincoln, LANGLEY of Hancock, LIBBY of Androscoggin, McCORMICK of Kennebec, MILLETT of Cumberland, PATRICK of Oxford, VALENTINO of York, VOLK of Cumberland, WILLETTE of Aroostook)

    JOINT RESOLUTION HONORING THE MAINE NATIONAL GUARD AND ALL ACTIVE DUTY PERSONNEL FOR THEIR SERVICE TO THE STATE AND NATION

    WHEREAS, patriots from the District of Maine first mustered to form a militia to fight for the colonies in the Revolutionary War and for the nation during the War of 1812; and

    WHEREAS, the Maine National Guard has proudly served the citizens of the State during natural disasters such as forest fires, floods and storms and has bravely defended the United States of America during times of war since Maine first entered the Union in 1820, and over the years the highest percentages of volunteers have been Maine people; and

    WHEREAS, nearly 12,000 members of the Maine Army National Guard and the Maine Air National Guard have faithfully answered the call to duty in America’s Global War on Terror; at times the State has had a larger percentage of personnel mobilized in support of that mission than any other state in the Union; and

    WHEREAS, members of the Maine Army National Guard and the Maine Air National Guard continue to defend freedom and democracy around the globe, including in Iraq and Afghanistan, where they are playing a vital role in protecting the safety and security of all Americans; and

    WHEREAS, the people of Maine have the utmost respect for the members of the Maine Army National Guard and the Maine Air National Guard for putting their lives in danger for the sake of the freedoms enjoyed by all Americans; and

    WHEREAS, the people of Maine are appreciative of the countless personal and professional sacrifices that the active volunteers of the Maine Army National Guard and the Maine Air National Guard and their families have made in order to protect our freedoms; and

    WHEREAS, since the tragic events of 9/11, countless Maine citizens have made sacrifices to serve and defend our country through the National Guard and to fight for our freedom, and 55 brave Maine citizens have answered the final call; now, therefore, be it

    RESOLVED: That We, the Members of the One Hundred and Twenty-seventh Legislature now assembled in the First Regular Session, on behalf of the people we represent, take this opportunity to express our solidarity with the men and women on active duty in the Maine Army National Guard and the Maine Air National Guard and their families; and be it further

    RESOLVED: That suitable copies of this resolution, duly authenticated by the Secretary of State, be transmitted to the Adjutant General of the Maine National Guard.

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LCRED Committee Takes Up 8 Minimum Wage Bills in Public Hearing

Posted on March 24, 2015. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

DSC_0010On Monday the 127th Maine Legislature’s Labor, Commerce, Research and Economic Development (LCRED) Committee heard testimony on eight bills relating to modifying the state’s minimum wage, which currently sits at $7.50 an hour and has not been increased since 2006. A bill to raise it was passed by the 126th Legislature last year, but was vetoed by Governor LePage and later sustained.

Link here to the bills:

  • LD 36 (sponsored by Rep. Jeff Evangelos)
  • LD 52 (sponsored by Rep. Danny Martin)
  • LD 72 (sponsored by Rep. Scott Hamann)
  • LD 77 (sponsored by Sen. Dave Miramant)
  • LD 92 (sponsored by Rep. Dillon Bates)
  • LD 487 (sponsored by Rep. Ben Chipman)
  • LD 843 (sponsored by Rep. Gina Melaragno)
  • LD 739 (sponsored by Sen. Tom Saviello)

Some of the statements released yesterday are below.

    Rep. Gina Melaragno (D-Auburn): “Maine workers find themselves working at least full time but still living in or near poverty, while having to care for their families at the same time. They have seen the prices of everything go up except the price of their undervalued labor, and they are tired of being thrown a small token raise every five or six years. They want meaningful, lasting change.”

    DSC_0014Sen. Dave Miramant (D-Camden): “When I looked back at the value of the minimum wage, it hit an all-time high just as I was starting to work in 1969. The minimum wage was $1.60 per hour but that gave me the equivalent of a $10.19 wage in 2015 dollars. This is why we were able to start a large middle class through this period. We have been falling behind ever since! Because we have failed to tie the minimum wage to the Consumer Price Index (CPI), or some reliable method of indexing it to inflation, workers are being left behind in this state and in many others. The jobs that were supposed to be entry level and only short term have become an ongoing reality for far too many workers in our hobbled economy.”

    Matt Schlobohm, Maine AFL-CIO Executive Director: “People who work full time should not live in poverty. People who work hard should be able to earn enough to make ends meet. It’s long overdue that Maine workers get a raise. A meaningful increase in the minimum wage would improve the wages of hundreds of thousands of Mainers. It would spur economic activity and pump millions of dollars into the Maine economy. Its good economics, its the right thing to do, and it’s long overdue. We need to raise wages across the board. All throughout Maine, working families are living paycheck to paycheck and struggling to make ends meet. Workers wages are simply not keeping pace with rising costs. Raising the minimum wage is a first step in a larger effort to build an economy that works for everyone, not just the wealthy few.”

    100_5797Ben Chin, political director for Maine Peoples Alliance: “I’m here today to testify primarily in support of LD 843, “An Act to Raise the Minimum Wage and Index it to the National Average Wage,” sponsored by Rep Melaragno. We (MPA) believe that LDs 36, 52, 72, 77, 92, 487, and 739 offer encouraging steps in the right direction. But LD 843 offers the most significant movement towards a living wage for all Maine workers. The reality is that need an even larger increase than what LD 843 offers. A living wage in Maine for a single adult, on average, is $15.82. Fifty-five percent of job openings in Maine pay less than that. For every job that pays $15.82, there are twelve job-seekers on average. The most basic premise of the American economic social contract is that you can work forty hours a week and make ends meet. Our minimum wage of $7.50 an hour for non-tipped workers doesn’t get an individual even halfway there—let alone their families.”

    Ginette Rivard, President of MSEA-SEIU Local 1989: “Five and a half years ago years ago, on Oct. 1, 2009, Maine added 25 cents to its minimum wage, bringing it to $7.50 an hour. It’s been stuck there ever since – even as the cost of living has gone up for all of us.

    Take a look at what is happening in the rest of New England and you’ll see the State of Maine – and thousands of Maine’s working families – have fallen far behind when it comes to the minimum wage.

    100_5793Vermont’s minimum wage is $9.15 – and rising to $10.50 in 2018.
    In Massachusetts, the wage is $9 – and rising to $11 in 2017.
    In Rhode Island, the wage is $9.
    And in Connecticut, the wage is $9.15 – and rising to $10.10 in 2017.

    Yet Maine has been stuck at $7.50. Maine would be dead last in New England but for New Hampshire joining in a dangerous race to the bottom by falling back to the federal minimum wage of $7.25. A Maine worker putting in 40 hours at minimum wage grosses $300 a week. That’s $15,600 a year, before taxes. That’s not nearly enough for one person to live on, let alone a family.”

Here in order are videos (ten in all) of the entire day in LCRED.

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