Dem Weekly Message by Senator Dawn Hill (D-York): LePage has become the monkey wrench in government that he purports to despise
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Hill says, “Gov. LePage has become the monkey wrench in government that he purports to despise.”
These days, working in Maine politics is a bit like living with Alice – Alice in Wonderland that is. What is up is down and what is down is up. Logic is lost and nonsense rules the day.
In our Wonderland, the governor tosses the Constitution aside to make up his own rules.
During his five years in office, Governor LePage has become adept at vetoing legislation. In fact, he holds the record for the Governor who has issued the most number of vetoes. This session alone, he’s vetoed nearly 180 bills.
Governor LePage has not been shy about exercising his veto authority. And, no one, can begrudge him that authority. But, this authority is not without limits.
Under the Maine Constitution, during the first year of a legislative session, the governor has ten days to sign or veto a bill. If he takes no action, then the bill becomes law.
During the second year of a legislative session, an additional method of veto, called a “pocket veto,” is available to the Governor. According to the Constitution, this is the only time a pocket veto can be used.
And since we’re only at the end of the first year of the legislative session, the law is pretty clear on how he can veto.
Whether Governor LePage was misusing a pocket-veto of a bill or, he lost track of the 10 day time limit for a veto, the Constitution is straightforward–those 19 bills ARE now law.
The governor has threatened to take this all the way to the Maine Supreme Court. Why? There is no good reason–other than to point to more political gamesmanship. He often relishes in the idea of wasting lawmakers’ time–but what he’s forgetting by this latest round of threats–is that he is also wasting taxpayer dollars. He has become the monkey wrench in government that he purports to despise.
The governor took an oath of office to uphold state law and the Constitution. Even as governor, he can’t pick and choose which laws to follow and which ones he can ignore. In this country, and in this state, no one is above the law.
Governor LePage has overstepped and overreached; abusing the power that comes with the office of governor–again. Even his long-time political allies are unable to defend him. From Republican political pundits to lawmakers, one after another is stepping forward and condemning his actions. One Republican lawmaker publicly said that this was the straw that broke the camel’s back–adding, lawmakers must express “no confidence” in Governor LePage.
What’s next? Well, hopefully nothing.
Most of us want to return to the legislative session next week and do our job. We want to continue finding pathways of success–continue passing bills that will make our communities stronger, our citizens more successful, and our state more competitive.
We’re not in Wonderland–we’re in Maine. So the Governor can either get out of the way of the Legislature or join the team of Democratic and Republican lawmakers who are getting things done.
Thank you for listening. This is Assistant Senate Democratic Leader Dawn Hill of York. Have a very good weekend.