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.”

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Governor LePage Staff Testify Before Maine Gov’t Oversight Committee (VIDEOS)

Posted on November 23, 2015. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

Testimony given under oath to the GOC over the course over almost eight hours relating to the ongoing investigations into allegations of the governor’s actions against Good Will-Hinckley school in their hiring of Speaker of the House Mark Eves. Recorded 11/12/15. In order:

Aaron Chadbourne
Cynthia Montgomery
Tom Desjardins
Suzan Beaudoin
Rich Abramson
Sara Vanderwood
Jay Nutting
Bill Brown
Gregory Powell

 

Committee next meets on December 3.

Via a second camera, the testimonies of the three LePage staffers and administration officials subpoenaed to testify are available separately.

Link here to the published OPEGA report on LePage/ Eves/ Good Will-Hinckley: Information Brief on State Funding for Good Will-Hinckley

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Maine Takes Up Right to Food, GMO Labeling in Public Hearing

Posted on May 7, 2015. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , |

craigA large rally (pictures here)between the State House and Cross Building was held April 30, as hundreds gathered in Augusta to show support or testify on a series of food rights and GMO labeling bills heard by the 127th Maine Legislature’s standing Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry (AG) Committee:

    LD 456, An Act To Include Nonalcoholic Malt Beverages in the List of Exempt Products in the Law Regarding the Labeling of Genetically Engineered Products
    Rep. Black of Wilton

    LD 783, RESOLUTION, Proposing an Amendment to the Constitution of Maine To Establish a Right to Food
    Rep. Hickman of Winthrop

    LD 991, An Act To Amend Maine’s Genetically Modified Food Products Labeling Law
    Rep. Dunphy of Old Town

    LD 1326, An Act To Require Labeling of All Genetically Modified Products
    Sen. Burns of Washington

Here is video of the large rally.

During the five plus hour long public hearing, testimony was offered by a variety of individuals and organizations on both sides of the discussions, as well as local individuals and national interested parties. Among those non-legislative members who spoke or whose testimony was presented (partial list):

Proponents:

    Joel Salatin, author, Virginia farmer, and leading voice for small, ecologically-minded farmers
    Jonathan Emord, a Washington D.C.-based attorney and expert on states’ rights to pass GMO labeling laws
    Michael Hansen, senior scientist with the Consumers Union
    Katherine Paul, associate director of the Organic Consumers Association
    Nisha Swinton, New England Director, Food and Water Watch
    Jerry Greenfield, Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream co-founder (read by GOP Rep. Matt Pouliot of Augusta)
    Heather Spalding, deputy director of MOFGA

    Nancy Oden
    Bonnie Preston
    Brian Jones
    Heather Retberg
    Hendrik D. Gideonse
    Richard King
    Maria King
    Betsy Garrold
    Joy Metcalf

Opponents:

    Shelly Doak, Maine Grocers and Food Producers Association
    Greg Dugal, Maine Restaurant Association
    Jon Olson, Maine Farm Bureau
    Ellis Additon, Bureau of Agriculture, Food and Rural Resources
    Bruce Krupke, NorthEast Dairy Foods (New York)

Here are videos of the entire public hearing. The work session for these bills is set for May 7.

. https://youtu.be/yh_hIsRHZ74

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