Uncategorized

Maine House Rejects HO #34, 96-52

Posted on January 18, 2016. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

Last Thursday the Maine House of Representatives took up House Order 34, “Establishing the House Special Investigative Committee”, sponsored by Rep. Ben Chipman (D-Portland), calling for a special committee to investigate allegations of multiple incidences of wrongdoing by Governor Paul LePage. Ultimately the House voted 96-52 to indefinitely postpone the measure, effectively killing any further action towards impeachment. Full floor debate is below.

Roll call of the vote here.

From the House Journal:

    (4-3) On motion of Representative CHIPMAN of Portland, the following House Order: (H.O. 34) (Cosponsored by Representatives: BABBIDGE of Kennebunk, BEAVERS of South Berwick, BEEBE-CENTER of Rockland, BLUME of York, EVANGELOS of Friendship, RYKERSON of Kittery, SAUCIER of Presque Isle, WARREN of Hallowell) WHEREAS, the Constitution of Maine, Article IX, Section 5 provides that every person holding any civil office under this State may be removed by impeachment for misdemeanor in office; and WHEREAS, the Constitution of Maine, Article IV, Part First, Section 8 vests in the House of Representatives the sole power of impeachment; and WHEREAS, grave and serious allegations have been raised regarding the conduct of Governor Paul R. LePage; now, therefore, be it ORDERED, that the House Special Investigative Committee is established to investigate allegations of misfeasance, malfeasance, nonfeasance and other misconduct by Governor Paul R. LePage and to make a recommendation to the full House of Representatives as to whether cause exists for impeachment. The committee shall conduct a comprehensive review of allegations of misconduct by Governor LePage, including but not limited to the:

    1. Refusal, beginning in 2012, to facilitate the issuance of land conservation bonds that were ratified by the voters of the State in statewide elections held in November 2010 and November 2012 and repeated insistence on extracting compliance by the Legislature on unrelated issues prior to the Governor’s carrying out the will of the people of the State regarding issuance of the bonds;

    2. Alleged use of state assets as leverage to bring about the resignation in 2013 of the President of the World Acadian Congress, Jason Parent;

    3. Exertion of pressure, in March 2013, on hearing officers in the Department of Labor, Bureau of Unemployment Compensation to favor employers in their decision making;

    4. Refusal, beginning in May 2013, to allow cabinet members and members of the administration to appear and testify before legislative committees;

    5. Alleged use of state assets as leverage to bring about the resignation in January 2015 of the President of the Maine Community College System, John Fitzsimmons;

    6. Request, in February 2015, that the Maine Human Rights Commission postpone a proceeding against a particular business pending before the commission and threatening to withhold state assets when the commission declined to postpone the proceeding;

    7. Creation, in April 2015, without public notice in violation of Maine’s Freedom of Access Act, of a panel to conduct a review of the Maine Human Rights Commission; and

    8. Alleged use of state assets as leverage to intimidate the Board of Directors of Good Will-Hinckley in June 2015 into terminating its employment of Mark W. Eves, the Speaker of the House of Representatives; and be it further ORDERED, that the House Special Investigative Committee consists of 13 members appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives or the Speaker’s designee, 6 of whom are appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives upon the recommendation of the House Minority Leader, and that the first-named member is the chair of the committee; and be it further ORDERED, that the House Special Investigative Committee:

    1. Shall adopt rules to govern the proceedings before it in order to ensure due process, fundamental fairness and a thorough investigation;

    2. May administer oaths and compel the attendance and testimony of persons and the production of papers, documents and other evidence under oath, by subpoena, when the testimony, documents or evidence is necessary for or incident to any inquiry relevant to the business or purposes of the committee and punish any person for the neglect, refusal to appear or failure to produce papers or documents or provide evidence commanded by subpoena or who, upon appearance, either with or without subpoena, refuses to be sworn or testify or produce papers, documents or evidence demanded;

    3. May hire special counsel and such other personnel as may be necessary to carry out the committee’s responsibilities; and

    4. Following its review and investigation of the facts and circumstances relating to the alleged misconduct of Governor Paul R. LePage, shall submit to the House of Representatives no later than April 1, 2016 its findings and recommendations in the form of a final report, including, if the committee concludes such action is warranted, articles of impeachment describing the misdemeanors in office with which Governor Paul R. LePage is charged. The committee may request from the Speaker of the House of Representatives or the Speaker’s designee extensions of time to complete its work.

Multiple interviews followed the conclusion of the day’s work.

1. Representatives Chipman and Gay Grant (D-Gardiner)

2. House Minority Leader Ken Fredette (R-Newport)

3. Speaker of the House Mark Eves (D-N. Berwick)

4. House Majority and Asst Majority Leaders Jeff McCabe (D-Skowhegan) and Sara Gideon (Freeport)

Governor LePage issued a written statement to the press:

    “As I have said all along, this impeachment nonsense was nothing more than a political witch hunt that had absolutely no merit. While some members of the Legislature were obsessing for months over this foolishness, I have been working on the real issues that matter to the Maine people.”

    “Just today, I was the keynote speaker at the Mid Maine Chamber of Commerce breakfast meeting, where I spoke about the drug crisis facing our state, lowering taxes and reducing student debt to keep our young people here. I met with the State Employee Health Commission to discuss how to reduce the cost of health care, and I had a lunch meeting with a group of manufacturers to discuss how reducing energy costs can help them create more jobs.”

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Maine House Release Resolution Condemning Governor Paul LePage

Posted on January 13, 2016. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , |

Statement put out by Maine House Democrats this evening:

    House resolution affirms lawmakers’ commitment to Maine values
    Resolution includes pledge to honor commitment of public office

    AUGUSTA – The Maine House on Thursday will take up a resolution that affirms lawmakers’ commitment to the standards the public has the right to expect of its public officials.

    DSC_0120“We have the opportunity to show Maine people – and indeed the rest of the nation – that we stand for the Maine values of civility, progress and respect for diverse ideas and backgrounds,” said Assistant House Majority Leader Sara Gideon, D-Freeport, who is offering the House resolution. “No matter what our political affiliation, we reject the politics of retribution, intolerance and divisiveness. We take seriously the commitment we made to serve Maine people.”

    Gideon and House Majority Leader Jeff McCabe on Wednesday invited all members of the House, regardless of party affiliation, to support the nonpartisan resolution. Under the resolution, members pledge to “honor the responsibilities entrusted to us by the people of the state.”

    “At a time when Maine is grappling with serious challenges, we should come together and remind ourselves and our constituents that we need to rise above partisanship for the people of Maine,” said McCabe, D-Skowhegan. “We have a drug epidemic that is taking the lives of five Mainers each week, a need for good-paying jobs and an economy that continues to lag. To move forward, we need healthy debate without fear of retribution. This nonpartisan resolution is an important first step.”

The resolution is below.

The House will take up the resolution, along with what could be the first steps towards impeachment of the governor, tomorrow morning.

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 1 so far )

Sanders 2016 Campaign Opening Maine Office

Posted on January 13, 2016. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , |

The media advisory reads as follows:

bernpressBernie 2016 To Open Maine Headquarters in Portland

    PORTLAND, MaineU.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders’ campaign on Wednesday will formally open its Maine headquarters. The office opening will feature local elected officials, campaign staff and volunteers. This is the first official campaign office in Maine.

    Here is the itinerary:

    Wednesday, January 13th

    6 p.m. Bernie 2016 Office Opening, Maine Headquarters, 465 Congress Street, Mezzanine Level, Portland

    Information for the public: Doors open 4:30 pm. This event is free and open to the public, but an RSVP is strongly encouraged. Admission is first come, first served.

Here again is video from last summer’s Portland rally, as Senator Sanders was introduced by former Senate Majority Leader Troy Jackson of Allagash.

Sanders supporters have been conducting phone banks all over the state (Augusta, Waterville and Bangor to name a few) for months.

With now seven weeks to go until Maine’s caucus on March 6, the new headquarters allows for even more push to undecided Democratic voters and comes on the heels of news that support for Hillary Clinton is either slipping dramatically or completely gone, depending on the polling.

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Maine House Democrats Discuss 2016 Legislative Priorities

Posted on January 7, 2016. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , |

On the first day of the 2016 session, the Maine House Democratic caucus took time before the start of the day’s work to lay out their objectives for the remainder of the 127th session.

From a press release:

    Speaker of the House Mark Eves (D-North Berwick) opened the press conference by saying, “We’re focusing on priorities that matter for Maine families and our communities. Those priorities include getting good, high paying jobs for our towns, making sure seniors can stay in their homes, getting people who want it the life-saving treatment they need to enable recovery from drug addiction, and educating our children.”

    House Majority Leader Jeff McCabe and Assistant Majority Leader Sara Gideon focused on job creation and the economy, particularly for rural Maine.

    House Democratic leadership take questions from Maine press, 1/6/16.

    House Democratic leadership take questions from Maine press, 1/6/16.

    McCabe, D-Skowhegan, noted that the release of voter-approved Land for Maine’s Future bonds, growth of the agricultural sector, and promotion of the outdoor recreation economy are all key.


    “If we here in Augusta are going to accomplish things, we’ll need willing partners,”
    McCabe said. “We’ll need the other legislative caucuses and we’ll need Governor Paul LePage. We’ll need transparency and cooperation from the administration. We’ll need the governor to allow his commissioner and other state employees to work with the Legislature and we’ll need access to the information we need to do our jobs.”

    Gideon, D-Freeport, focused on how investments in broadband and renewable energy can boost the economy.

    “If we all agree that jobs are the top priority, then let’s talk about two ways that we can actually pump life into our economy,” said Gideon. “Maine can catch up and step into the 21st century if we start investing in functional and forward-thinking technology and infrastructure. This is true for broadband capability and it’s true for Maine grown-energy production.”

After the press conference, House Majority Leader Jeff McCabe took more questions from the media:

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Maine House Republican Members Outline 2016 Legislative Objectives

Posted on January 4, 2016. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , |

From a press release:

“The Maine Legislature must deal with a number of challenges as legislators return to Augusta this week.

Maine is in the midst of the worst drug crisis in state history. Governor LePage requested funding for 10 new MDEA agents immediately to help fight the supply side of this epidemic. That funding has been found within existing resources and the process of recruiting those agents has already begun.

Now it’s time for legislators to turn their attention toward drug treatment and education. This is an issue that requires a thoughtful and thorough process and whatever plan is ultimately brought forward for a vote must be completely vetted by the committees of jurisdiction. We cannot afford to race through this process.

In addition to the drug epidemic, there are several fiscal issues that demand the immediate attention of legislators.

• Tax Conformity: On the heels of the omnibus spending package passed in Washington last month, whether or not Maine complies with these new tax changes could cost roughly $40 million.

• Voter approved changes made to the Maine Clean Elections Program will cost the state an additional $7-$10 million.

• Indigent Legal Services: This program was not funded for the second year of the biennium. This is a constitutionally mandated program and will require $4 million in funding.

• County Jails Issue: A bill to address the situation with the county jails was carried over to the upcoming session. This also has the potential to cost the state additional money.

Speaker of the House Mark Eves (D-N. Berwick) responded:

    “Every day, more Maine families struggle to save the lives of their loved ones suffering from crippling addiction. While some members would rather posture in front of a microphone, we are focused on using available resources to mount a serious effort to tackle the drug crisis and give families, law enforcement, and treatment providers the tools they need.”
Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Four Maine Democrats Announce 2016 State Senate Bids

Posted on January 4, 2016. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , |

The accompanying press release is below.

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Andi’s Weekly Review/ Sneak Peek, Jan 1 (NEW WEEKLY FEATURE) #mepolitics

Posted on January 1, 2016. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

UPDATE: More information regarding the second Wednesday rally has been provided by one of the organizers, via Facebook.

————

“Alliance for the Common Good Rally of Unity

Wednesday, January 6, 2016 (first day of the new legislative session), 1-4 PM

Hall of Flags, State Capitol, Augusta

Bring: signs (but not on sticks so you can get thru security), information to distribute or put on tables, and ideas to add to a speak out that is part of the afternoon events.

What are your concerns about what the state of Maine should be doing and the directions it should be going in?

What do our legislators need to hear from the public?

These were last year’s primary points of unity (which are ones again this year):

Respect for community sovereignty.
An economy that protects our environment.
Reserving Maine money for Maine people.
Keeping money out of politics.

Some issues we will likely address there:

*Paul LePage’s actions against Mark Eves that may be grounds for impeachment
*Renewed attempts to have more people covered by MaineCare
*November referenda on raising the minimum wage, rank choice voting, marijuana use, and more
*State of Maine’s campaign to take away more of the Penobscot Nation’s sovereignty

Please come and be part of the Alliance for the Common Good’s Fourth annual Rally of Unity.”

——————-

1512843_10207415324009372_7853276067766535371_nHappy 2016! As promised, I will be attempting to sit down at the keyboard every Friday to summarize what has transpired in the past week and give a preview of what to expect next week. (The classic AP Stylebook be darned, btw- going to use my own, um, unorthodox “AP” rules of engagement!)

So with that in mind, here goes nothing!

WEEK IN REVIEW: Just a few quick items for this between holidays, look-back edition.

    1. The first one is SUCH a goody and relevant to the Christmas season. Ah, sometimes the Governor is simply the gift that keeps on giving!

    WMTW reported that Governor LePage gave a few dozen legislators, including House leadership, a childrens’ book entitled, “If You’re Riding A Horse And It Dies, Get Off”:

    pigg

      It’s not clear which members of the House of Representatives got stiffed, but we do know that House leaders did receive copies of the book.

      “We only had 80 (copies) — very simple,” LePage said.

      Many of the people contacted by WMTW News 8 about this story did not want their names attached to this story out of fear of retribution from the Governor’s Office.

    Interesting, in light of the ongoing Eves/ Good Will-Hinckley situation, that simply reporting “a fear of retribution from LePage” is taken as a given.

    Later, the chief executive took to Twitter to scold Maine media:

    Maybe the governor should have dragged the “Piggy Christmas Tree” out of the mothballs? That one was such a crowd pleaser!

    2. 128th Legislative candidate filings are coming in and being posted online. Link here.

NEXT WEEK’S SNEAK PEEK:

    1. Monday, 1/4/16: Maine youngsters go back to school after winter break as parents across the state rejoice (“… and Mom and Dad can hardly wait for school to start again”).

    2. Tuesday, 1/5/16 (10a-5p): While the Legislature doesn’t officially come back until Wednesday the 6th, the Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee (AFA) will be conducting a public hearing the day before regarding LR 2599, “An Act To Combat Drug Addiction Throught Enforcement, Treatment and Recovery” (AUDIO LINK HERE).

    3. Wednesday, 1/6/16: The House and Senate come back into the second half of the 127th Legislative Session at 10 am (which anyone with experience in Augusta will know that while many ringing bells will echo in the hallways, they won’t actually start for at least a half hour later than that).

    But one event that WILL happen as scheduled will be an 11am “State House Rally To Impeach Paul LePage” outside the State House, just under the governor’s second floor windows. The same group rallied in June 2015.

    Since June, the group has garnered over 20k signatures on a petition calling for the governor to resign.

    Later the same day, a group called “Alliance For The Common Good Unity” plan to rally as well. On Facebook, the organizers state they are gathering at 1pm, but they are listed as meeting at 2pm in the Hall of Flags.

    4. Thursday, 1/7/16: The legislature is in session and the Environmental Priorities Coalition will meet from 11:30-12:30 in State House (SH) Room 334 to issue a briefing on land conservation.

    5. Friday, 1/8/16 (9a- ?): Government Oversight Committee (GOC) meets. Among the “Unfinished Business” agenda items is this one of note:

      OPEGA Information Brief on State Funding for Good Will-Hinckley
      – Review and Approval of GOC Addendum to OPEGA Report

So, there you have it- the first of what will hopefully be a weekly column of useful info or what have you. Have a great weekend, folks!

~Andi

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Governor Paul LePage Holds Waterville Town Hall

Posted on December 28, 2015. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , |

Recorded 12/17/15 at Waterville Junior High School.

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

ME Legislators Roll Out Comprehensive Bipartisan Drug Crisis Plan (VIDEO)

Posted on December 27, 2015. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , |

Recorded 12/9/15 at Maine State House’s Welcome Center. The accompanying press release via Maine Senate and House Democrats reads:

Legislative Leaders Announce Bipartisan $4.8m Plan to Fight Drug Crisis in Maine

The plan provides equal funding for treatment as well as law enforcement

AUGUSTA | December 9, 2015 | Today, Speaker of the House Mark Eves and Senate President Mike Thibodeau joined other legislative leaders, including Senate Democratic Leader Justin Alfond of Portland, to present a $4.8 million dollar legislative package to fight the drug crisis in Maine.

The plan, a result of a bipartisan collaboration between legislative leaders, includes prevention, treatment and law enforcement efforts.

“This plan is a first step toward a healthier Maine,” said Speaker Eves. “For too long, families and communities have continued to fight addiction alone. After working hard to come together we’ve crafted a targeted, comprehensive plan that addresses the reality of drug addiction in Maine “

The plan invests $2.4 million in treatment efforts over 18 months, including $1 million in funding for a new 10-bed detox unit. The plan increases access to inpatient and outpatient treatment for the uninsured and doubles the number of peer to peer support recovery centers across the state.

In addition to treatment, the plan provides $2.4 million to strengthen law enforcement efforts, including funding 10 new MDEA agents and a statewide coordinator to connect law enforcement to treatment providers. The plan also includes funding to launch programs at five police departments around the state modeled after the successful Operation Hope in Scarborough or the Law Enforcement Addiction Advocacy Program in Portland.

Officer John Gill of the Scarborough Police Department, site of Operation Hope, also spoke at the press conference in support of the plan. Operation Hope (the Heroin- Opiate Prevention Effort) consists of specialized law enforcement training, public education and outreach, and treatment and assistance among other services. The program served over 50 people in its first 50 days.

“This plan will provide critical support to law enforcement on the front lines and enable us to better serve members of our communities who need help,“ said Officer Gill.

Portland parent Julie Lawson, who is currently in recovery, recounted her experience with addiction and treatment services. Julie attended Mercy Hospital’s treatment program prior to its closure.

“Because of treatment I’m going to be there to watch my son grow up. I’m living proof that treatment works and that it can save families like mine,” Lawson said.

“Drug addiction has created a public health and safety catastrophe that is complex and multifaceted,” said Sen. Alfond. “So our response must be equally robust. We have to use every tool at our disposal to fight this battle on multiple fronts. This package, along with our existing efforts, will help Mainers trying to kick addiction as well as law enforcement trying to clean up our streets.”

Speaker Eves closed out the press conference by saying:

“Maine can and must do better by our families and communities, “ said Speaker Eves. “We stand with law enforcement, treatment providers, and parents in saying enough is enough. Over the next legislative session, we will work to implement these and other efforts to help keep our families and communities healthy and safe.”

The plan announced today joins five bills approved by Legislative Council last month that are also focused on addressing the drug crisis.

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Governor Paul LePage Holds Town Hall at USM in Portland (VIDEOS)

Posted on December 27, 2015. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , |

Full video of the event, recorded 12/8/15, here.

Maine Governor Paul LePage took a question from an audience member relating to the Lands for Maine’s Future bonds. Here is that moment from the overall event parsed out for consideration:

Senate Minority Leader Justin Alfond (D-Portland) spoke with the media after the conclusion of the town hall.

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

« Previous Entries Next Entries »

Liked it here?
Why not try sites on the blogroll...

%d bloggers like this: