MPW’s Top 14 of 2014

Posted on December 31, 2014. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

Well, it’s that time again- the annual review! MPW had 9000 page views in 2014, with almost 3000 in July alone and 2100 visitors that month. January was the quietest month with 480 visitors clicking 760 times. Easily the most popular video was this one dubbed “The Speech” of now former Senate Majority Leader Troy Jackson (D-Allagash) at the Maine Democratic Convention, which has had almost 20k views:

“I’m running because of income inequality, poverty, unfairness, corporate greed and political cowardice. I’ve known these things my entire life. And I have watched them wreck communities and tear people’s lives and their families apart. And during those cold nights in that small shack along the river, I never would’ve thought that one day I’d have the opportunity to do something about it. And if I am lucky enough to pull this off, I damn sure intend to.”

And now “The List”:

1. JUNE: (UPDATED) Breaking: LePage Met “Multiple Times” with FBI Known Domestic Terrorist Group, Discussed Executing Democratic Leaders 

paul janetBefore even hitting “send” on this draft write-up, there have been new developments of note (“LePage denies he discussed ‘executing’ Maine Democratic leaders”), as LePage has this evening called the managing editor of the Bangor Daily News- twice– and has either claimed:

  • That this all didn’t happen/ portions of it happened.
  • There was no five page memo/ well, maybe there was/ well, okay, there WAS a five page memo regarding the legality of arresting and executing members of Democratic leadership.
  • He was going to sue both the BDN and Mike Tipping for the story.

2. (MAY) Paul LePage and Gary Alexander: A Timeline

 A bit of quick bGary Alexander and associate Erik Randolph exit Maine HHS Committee hearing, 1/14/14.ackground on this post. While Mainers knew that Tea Party Maine Governor Paul LePage, who won election in 2010 with 38% of the vote, was virulently anti-ACA and fought hard against multiple attempts to expand Medicaid in our state (to date, five bills have been vetoed and then sustained by the GOP in the Legislature), many did not know to what extent the LePage Administration worked or what steps lead to where we found ourselves last week as news of the #LePlagiarism scandal first broke. Thus it became necessary to piece together all of the to the administration (LePage in 2011 first offered him the DHHS posit various known elements and create this timeline, illustrating who Gary Alexander is and how he became knownion that eventually went to Mary Mayhew), as well as the various actions taken by the Governor and his staff.

A year ago, most in Maine had no idea never heard of Gary Alexander. That is no longer the case, as now federal authorities are now looking into the matter.

3. AUGUST: (UPDATED) Maine Sovereign Citizens, er, “Constitutional Coalition” Send “Courtesy Notice” to ALL Maine Lobbyists

Oh my- looks like Paul LePage’s buddies have “GONE ROGUE”.

Check it out all you lobbying kiddos; you have ALL. BEEN SERVED.

First the blast email (thankfully their CAPLOCK ISSUE APPEARS TO HAVE BEEN SOMEWHAT FIXED) that Aroostook Watchmen radio host Jack McCarthy [or whomever posted, using the name “Jack McCarthy”] mailed out, late this afternoon- to every single registered Maine lobbyist.

Protip: Someone wanna tell Ole Jack [or whomever posted, using the name “Jack McCarthy”] what a “bcc” is? Thanks awfully!

100_0295

    Attention Kind Maine Lobbyists:

Be it known by these presents, the attached pdf file, titled “COURTESY NOTICE”, which details are self explanatory but specifically …

Government Charters Cancelled: (Refer: DECLARATION OF FACTS: UCC Doc # 2012127914 Nov 28 2012)

“…That any and all CHARTERS, inclusive of The United States Federal Government, UNITED STATES, “STATE of …”,

Inclusive of any and all abbreviations, idem sonans, or other legal, financial or managerial forms, any and all international equivalents, inclusive of any and all OFFICES, inclusive of any and all OFFICERS, PUBLIC SERVANTS, EXECUTIVE ORDERS, TREATIES, CONSTITUTIONS, MEMBERSHIP, ACTS, and any and all other contracts and agreements made thereunder and thereby, are now, void, worthless, or otherwise cancelled, unrebutted; …”

You have been served,

All Persons Foreign and Domestic

4. JULY: (UPDATED) “Arrest for Treason/ Execution” Docs Released, Proving LePage Lied to BDN, Re: Sovereign Citizens Talks

A review of last night’s two phone calls by Maine Republican Governor Paul LePage to the managing editor of the Bangor Daily News (“LePage denies he discussed ‘executing’ Maine Democratic leaders”).

The first call:

lepage sots angry self

“I was never in the room where ‘execute’ was used,” the governor said in a phone call to the BDN managing editor.

“It never happened,” he said later in the call. “We did not discuss execution, arrest or hanging.”

When told that the audio of the show was included on Tipping’s blog, LePage said he wanted to see the tapes.

“None of this stuff ever happened,” he said again. He said he talked with the group about the U.S. and Maine constitutions. Further, he said, he disagreed with much of what the men said.

“I listened and listened and listened,” LePage said. “Some points they were making were reasonable and some were off-the-wall.”

The second call by LePage:

In a second phone call to the BDN, LePage said he didn’t know about a Freedom of Access Act request that Tipping had filed to secure details of his meetings because “no one told me about it.”

He said he didn’t stop meeting with the Sovereign Citizens after the FOAA request was filed, as Tipping contends, but stopped meeting with them “because they were not listening.”

“They got mad and called me all kinds of names,” he said.

LePage said the group called again Monday to meet with him after Tipping’s blog post, but he said “no way.”

5. (AUGUST): Governor LePage, er, “Lewiston Mayor Bob MacDonald” on “Elusive Central American Children” Goes Off On Both Dems & The Rails

OccGovernor Paul LePage sits at Governor James G. Blaine's Congressional desk (10/12/13).asionally it is always nice to read some of the smaller and more locally focused publications around the state, such as the Auburn based Twin City Times, to see what folks are supposedly saying.

“Twin City Times” just happens to be edited and published by Maine Governor Paul LePage’s communications director Peter Steele. Make note of that fact, because it’s kinda important.

One can get a real feel for the sentiments locally of what is happening in Augusta by checking these papers out, especially if that region’s elected officials take to their keyboards and submit opinion pieces of note for their constituents’ consideration.

But when the governor’s own head press guy is editing, then publishing the articles himself, there is the nagging feeling that possibly Paul LePage said it himself.

This rings especially true in light of recent revelations that according to Mike Tipping’s “As Maine Went”, LePage in January 2010 created the pseudonym “ForThePeople” as to be able to post anonymously and write a series of posts to sway voters and help himself in that year’s Republican primary.

So there is a very VERY strong perception here that “Lewiston Mayor Bob Macdonald” is in reality a really badly hidden sockpuppet version of Maine Governor Paul LePage. While it makes sense, it is also a rather strange twist, considering in the past it was LePage who was reported to be the “puppet”.

6. JUNE: UPDATED: #MEGOV LePage Skips NE Governors’ Regional Opioid Abuse Summit; Dismisses as “Chit Chat”

Earlier this month, Governor LePage issued a statement on the then newly released 2013 drug-induced Governor Paul LePage takes a question from NBC national correspondent Kate Snow during "war on drugs" press conference.death statistics in Maine, which read in part:

“Our Administration is focusing on the fact that Maine is subject to ever-increasing numbers of out-of-state drug trafficking organizations establishing drug markets in the state. This disturbing trend tears at the very fabric of our communities and puts our children at risk.

As I have said in the past, we must be proactive in combating drug dealers and target our limited resources to better protect our communities.

I think we all agree we also need to find more effective and efficient ways to treat addicts and provide them options that lead to successful long-term outcomes. In fact, the State has increased substance abuse funding in recent years from $7 million to more than $9 million. However, until we are able to curb the amount of drugs coming into our state, we will likely see the number of drug-induced deaths continue to rise.”

So with that in mind, it was quite startling to learn that LePage intended to skip a private meeting of all New England governors held at Waltham MA’s Brandeis University today with the goal of regionally addressing opiate abuse, sharing information and developing strategies.

7. (FEBRUARY): BREAKING: Feds Find LePage, MDOL Officials Intervened in Unemployment Hearings (UPDATED X 9, W/ Timeline)

Reaction from Maine AFL-CIO President Don Berry:

“The federal government has confirmed what we knew to be true, that the Governor was wrong to interfere in the unemployment insurance process by asking hearing officers to rule more often in favor of employers. This is another message from Governor LePage to struggling Maine workers that he is not on their side. When you lose your job, times are very tough. Workers need to know they have a fair process to seek the support that they deserve. Instead of kicking them when they are down, we need a Governor who will support laid-off workers getting back on their feet.”

Legislative Democrats and their allies were quick to condemn the LePage administration, with Senate Majority Leader Troy Jackson of Allagash, a longtime LePage rival and Democratic candidate for Maine’s 2nd Congressional District seat, calling for his impeachment.

Sen. John Patrick, D-Rumford, who chairs the Legislature’s Labor Committee, said the Department of Labor’s findings came as little surprise.

“This is a good thing because everyone in Maine knows the governor uses the bully pulpit to express his feelings about his political views and politics,” said Patrick. “After this, I wonder how you can trust the governor to move forward fairly and in an unbiased way. The citizens of Maine expect that whether it’s a Democrat, a Republican or a Green, that we are fair to our businesses and employees.”

Jackson was less guarded in his response.

“I think he should be impeached,” said Jackson of LePage. “The governor thinks he should be the next [Wisconsin Gov.] Scott Walker, but he should be thinking about being the next [impeached and jailed Illinois Gov.] Rod Blagojevich.”

 

8. FEBRUARY: BREAKING: Governor LePage Reneges on $100M Jobs Bonds; Bounces $59M State of Maine Check

bounced check

In an email to State Treasurer Neria Douglass, Governor Paul LePage reneged and cancelled his authorization of nearly $100 million in bond monies for projects across Maine.

Douglass shared the message with the state’s budget writing committee on Thursday afternoon during a previously scheduled briefing on the state’s debt service or interest for the bonds.

“Governor LePage has broken a $59 million contract with businesses and workers across Maine. The line has been crossed when the governor’s emotional volatility starts hurting Maine’s economy and Maine’s workers,” said Senate Majority Leader Troy Jackson of Allagash. “I am concerned for the businesses and projects that have started their work and now hear that the governor has changed his mind.”

According to Douglass, per the directive from Governor LePage, she has already issued $59 million in funding from the state’s cash pool to help fund key projects in the administration’s work plan. These projects were approved and signed off on by Governor LePage and his department officials on July 31, 2013.

“The Treasurer raised serious concerns about the message the Governor is sending to credit agencies and businesses. He’s broken his word,” said Assistant House Majority Leader Jeff McCabe from Skowhegan. “Worse, he’s playing games with critical investments in construction projects like roads and bridges that will help Maine’s economy.”

9. MARCH: ME Sen. Rodney Whittemore (R-Somerset) on LD 1487: Expansion a “Malignant Cancer of Dependency”

Senator Rodney Whittemore (R-Somerset) on LD 1487, “An Act To Implement Managed Care in the MaineCare Program”, gave a rather provocative floor speech yesterday, in which he compared the proposed bill sponsored by fellow GOP Senators Assistant Majority leader Roger Katz (R-Kennebec) and Tom Saviello (R-Franklin) to a “road of hopelessness” and a “malignant cancer of dependency”.

10. (APRIL) 2nd CD Democratic Candidates Troy Jackson, Emily Cain Answer Questions at Lewiston Forum (VIDEOS)

Androscoggin County Democrats hosted a candidate forum at the L/A USM campus for the open Second Congressional District seat, vacated by Rep. Mike Michaud who is now running for Governor.Senate Majority Leader Troy Jackson answers questions of USM L/A student Jihan Omar on the needs of immigrants.

Conducted by former Rep. Elaine Makas, the two primary challengers Troy Jackson and Emily Cain were asked questions on a number of topics. While the pair were on similar pages on many of the topics, their styles in approaching their answers appeared to contrast this race most for the large audience in attendance.

“Troy reminds me a little more of myself,” said Jimmy McHugh, a retired boilermaker from Mexico. “I love to hear someone like him talk about the struggles I’ve had to go through. He’s a regular guy, like me.”

11. FEBRUARY: UPDATED: Eliot Cutler Confuses “Independent” With “Passive Aggressive” In Attacks Against Non-Supporters

And then we have this one- an Independent (a REAL one, not the old “just like Maine!” tired old chestnut from 2010 or member of the Tea Party, but a real honest-to-gosh, old-fashioned Maine Independent like we USED to know) who-

Wait for it-

Issued an endorsement of Mike (Nov 6).

And then had the sheer audacity, as a currently serving member of the 126th Maine Legislature, to have the samepublished as an op-ed in the Bangor Daily News!

Some excerpts of Rep. Jeffrey Evangelos‘ share:

evangelos“As the only independent in the Maine House of Representatives who does not caucus with either party, I am pleased to announce that I am supporting U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud for governor. I plan on campaigning for Michaud during the 2014 election season.

Mike Michaud will make a terrific governor of our state. He has the two characteristics that are sorely lacking in the current administration in Augusta: humility and common sense. He’s a good listener, thoughtful and respectful. It will be such a breath of fresh air when Michaud is elected as our next governor.

Why am I throwing my support to Michaud rather than fellow independent Eliot Cutler? Cutler’s successes have come on the wrong side of the economy at the expense of common people. His relationship as a director of a bankrupt mortgage company, Thornburg Mortgage, whose former top executives are facing allegations of fraud, and his employment and association with the Dallas-based international consultancy Akin Gump, where outsourcing jobs to China is part of the mission, disqualifies Cutler as a person who can lead Maine out of this serious recession Maine people are experiencing.

Contrast this with Michaud, a paper mill worker who understands what it means to keep and develop good paying jobs in Maine.”

Cutler 2010 campaign garbage, image courtesy of perrenial dumpster divers "As Maine Goes".

Well! As one can imagine, that last must have caused Cutler to practically fly to his desk, shove everything to the ground and fire off his own crushing rebuttal (“Eliot Cutler: Focus on real issues, not recycled 2010 garbage”), also published in the BDN.

12. JULY: (UPDATED) Paul LePage and Sovereign Citizens “Maine Constitutional Coalition”: A Timeline

13. FEBRUARY: UPDATED x2: Maine House Votes Down Controversial Religious Discrimination Bill LD 1428, 89-52

Rep. Andrew McLean (D-Gorham) addresses colleagues during LD 1428 debate.

12:45pm UPDATE: House just voted 89-52 to accept the Judicial Committee “ONTP” (Ought Not to Pass) recommendation moments ago, 89-52.

This was the final vote on LD 1428; it is now dead.

Roll call vote shows 5 GOP members broke with their party to join Democrats: Reps. Beaulieu of Auburn, Campbell of Orrington, Libby of Waterboro, MacDonald of Old Orchard Beach and Maker of Calais. 2 House Democrats voted for the bill: Rep. Stan Short (D-Pittsfield) and Steve Stanley (D-Medway).

Over 2 dozen rose to speak on the measure in a lengthy floor debate. Some quotes:

Rep. Matt Moonen (D-Portland):“Please vote to end the war on gay people in our state.”

Rep. Justin Chenette (D-Saco): “Religious freedom is important, but this bill makes me feel like a second-class citizen… Name me an issue in Maine — I still haven’t heard one. There isn’t an issue. This is a bill searching for a problem, rather than solving one. This wastes taxpayer money… It’s fiscally responsible to oppose it.”

UPDATE #2 (1:45pm): Maine House Democrats issued a press release with more quotes from legislators:

“This is not a bill about religious freedom; it will only create religious discrimination,”said Rep. Charles Priest of Brunswick, who chairs the Legislature’s Judiciary Committee. “Maine’s law and constitution has strong protections for religious freedom. This bill is not necessary.”

“This fight will continue across the country. Many states still do not have a human rights law that covers sexual orientation. But in Maine our voters have settled this, ” said Rep. Matt Moonen of Portland, during the floor debate.

14. ICYMI/UPDATED: Is LePage’s “Outrage” A Politicized Continuation of Ongoing General Assistance/ Immigrant Battle?

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Incoming 127th Maine Legislature Picks Leaders (UPDATED w/ Statements)

Posted on November 13, 2014. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Senate President Mike Thibodeau, Majority Leader Garrett Mason and Asst Majority Leader Andre Cushing

Senate President Mike Thibodeau (Waldo), Majority Leader Garrett Mason (Androscoggin) and Asst Majority Leader Andre Cushing (Penobscot)

Last week, the Republicans in both legislative chambers of the Maine State House selected their leadership.

With Friday’s recount of Senate District 11 between Sen. Mike Thibodeau of Waldo and challenger Jonathan Fulford of Monroe concluding that the district re-elected the incumbent by a 135 vote margin, the make-up of the Senate Majority leadership team selected last week will be: Senate President Mike Thibodeau, Majority Leader Garrett Mason and Assistant Majority Leader Andre Cushing. Each issued statements:

Senate President Mike Thibodeau:“I cannot begin to express what this means to me. It is a true honor to be chosen by such an outstanding group of people to lead not only them, but the entire Maine Senate.

“At the same time, I recognize it is an awesome responsibility. The people of Maine spoke very clearly in this week’s election. They are demanding action on critical issues such as job creation, energy costs, and welfare reform. We cannot let them down. Delivering real results will take the efforts of both Republicans and Democrats to put their partisan differences aside and work in a collaborative manner on behalf of the people of Maine. It is what we were elected to do and we must rise to the challenge.”

Majority Leader Garrett Mason: “I am very honored to have earned the trust of my Republican colleagues who chose me to be the majority leader. I look forward to working with my fellow senators, members of the House of Representatives, and Governor LePage to find real solutions for the people of Maine.”

Assistant Majority Leader Andre Cushing: “I am looking forward to the opportunity to go to work on the agenda items that are most important to the citizens of Maine.”

As has been noted in the past, both Thibodeau and Cushing have long-standing ties to ALEC, as do a number of other returning Maine GOP senators and incoming Kim Rosen, wife of former State Senator Richard Rosen of Bucksport.

Over in the House, Republicans chose to retain 126th Minority Leader Ken Fredette of Newport to serve again in the 127th in that office and replace outgoing Alex Willette, who resigned to take a position with the LePage re-election campaign, with Rep. Eleanor Espling of New Gloucester.

Speaker of the House Mark Eves, , Majority Leader Jeff McCabe and Asst Majority Leader Sara Gideon

Speaker of the House Mark Eves (N. Berwick), Majority Leader Jeff McCabe (Skowhegan) and Asst Majority Leader Sara Gideon (Freeport)

On Wednesday, Democrats held separate caucuses to select their leaders. The House Democrats had lost a few seats in the recently concluded elections, but managed to retain their majority.

While Speaker of the House Mark Eves was not challenged for his seat, the other two leadership positions went up to votes by the caucus, with Rep. Barry Hobbins going up against Assistant Majority Leader Jeff McCabe for the Majority Leader spot last held by termed-out Rep. Seth Berry (Bowdoinham), and 126th freshmen Rep. Lori Lister Fowle (Vassalboro) taking on Rep. Sara Gideon (Freeport) for McCabe’s chair. Ultimately the body selected McCabe and Gideon to join Eves as their 127th Legislative leaders.

Speaker of the House Mark Eves: “It is an honor and privilege to lead our strong and historic 83 seat majority. With Election Day behind us, now is the time govern. We must come together with Governor LePage and our Republican colleagues to address the challenges we face as a state. We cannot allow the partisan battles of the past dictate our future.

“Too much is at stake for leaders to put their party ideology ahead of common sense solutions. Democrats and Republicans can see eye to eye on smart and strategic investments in our state, on property tax relief, on lowering energy costs and helping seniors and veterans. We must focus on areas of common ground, not conflict.”

Majority Leader Jeff McCabe: “We need to move Maine forward and do everything we can to improve the lives of Mainers. We must establish an economic message and policy that works statewide. The voters sent us a message on Election Day. They don’t care about party labels or partisan ideology. They care about government that works.”

Asst Majority Leader Sara Gideon: “Now that these long and divisive campaigns are over, it’s time to show the people of Maine that we are about action, that Democrats will deliver while holding steadfast to our values, that Democrats own the idea of prosperity for everyone. We will work with all our strength to protect the values of Maine people: women’s economic security and basic rights, workers’ ability to organize, a clean and sustainable environment and the integrity of excellent public school systems.”

The Senate-elect Democrats, who saw their 18 majority shrink to a 15 seat minority last week, held a caucus Wednesday evening in Hallowell.

Democratic Senators congratulate Dawn Hill as being selected as Assistant Minority Leader. To her right is Senator Justin Alfond, who will be moving from the podium as exiting Senate President to serve as Minority Leader for the upcoming 127th legislative session.

Democratic Senators congratulate Dawn Hill as being selected as Assistant Minority Leader. To her right is Senator Justin Alfond, who will be moving from the podium as exiting Senate President to serve as Minority Leader for the upcoming 127th legislative session.

They chose outgoing Senate President Justin Alfond of Portland to serve as their Minority Leader in the upcoming 127th legislative session. Alfond is in his final term and served in the 125th Legislature as Assistant Minority Leader to then-Senator Barry Hobbins’ Minority Leader.

Senator Dawn Hill of Cape Neddick, who chaired the 126th Legislature’s Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee and was honored as Emerge Maine’s Woman of the Year along with fellow AFA Chair Rep. Peggy Rotundo of Lewiston, was chosen to serve as Assistant Minority Leader for the next two years.

Minority Leader Senator Justin Alfond:“Even though, as Democrats, our political beliefs may be different from Paul LePage and Republicans in the Legislature, there are areas in which we agree–and we must build off of that common ground in order to serve the Maine people. I will extend my hand with to Governor LePage, Senate President-elect Thibodeau and others to find that common ground and forge the relationships needed to move ideas forward that work for Maine people.”

Asst Minority Leader Dawn Hill: (sent a message of listening to her fellow lawmakers to ensure that) “we all carry the distinct stories and values of our districts. Listening is how we define our plan and our purpose going forward.”

The 127th Legislature will be sworn into office on December 3 by Governor Paul LePage.

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(UPDATED x3) Maine Gov Paul LePage To Reintroduce LD 1811, War on Drugs Bill, as Emergency Measure on Veto Day (May 1)

Posted on April 30, 2014. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

(UPDATED x3) Governor LePage has just announced that he plans to reintroduce LD 1811, “An Act To Appropriate and Allocate Funds To Strengthen the State’s Efforts To Investigate, Prosecute and Punish Persons Committing Drug Crimes”, tomorrow as an emergency bill. Here is the press release:

      Governor Finds Funding to Pay For New Drug Enforcement Agents, Judges, Prosecutors
      Bill will go to Legislature on Thursday

    AUGUSTA – Governor Paul R. LePage will propose emergency legislation to fund his initiative to fight drug crime by adding Maine Drug Enforcement Agents, judges and prosecutors, which was a major initiative he outlined in his State of the State Address.

    Governor LePage takes media questions on LD 1811 during March 2014 press conference.

    Governor LePage takes media questions on LD 1811 during March 2014 press conference.

    “Although my proposal was widely supported, it died when the Appropriations Committee failed to fund it,” said the Governor. “But this issue is much too important to let die. I am pleased that we have found the funding to help combat the drug epidemic that is ravaging our state. We cannot wait any longer. We must act now to crack down on drug dealers and make our streets safe for Maine families.”

    The Governor will propose using revenue in the Unclaimed Property Fund account to pay for LD 1811, “An Act to Appropriate and Allocate Funds to Strengthen the State’s Efforts to Investigate, Prosecute and Punish Persons Committing Drug Crimes.” LD 1811 would add 10 new MDEA agents, two new District Court judges, deputy marshals and assistant clerks, and two prosecutors in the Attorney General’s office.

    In addition, the bill would provide $750,000 to augment existing drug addiction treatment programs. The total cost of the proposal is about $2.5 million.

    The proposal initially had broad bipartisan support in the Legislature, and it won endorsement from the judicial branch and law enforcement agencies across the state.

—–

(UPDATED x2) On April 4, NBC Nightly News ran an in-depth story by national correspondent Kate Snow on the FDA approving opiate antidote Evzio. It featured paramedics in Portland, discussing using life-saving heroin antidote Nalaxone, also known as Narcan to save lives. A portion of that story focused on Maine Governor Paul LePage’s opposition to non-medical personnel having access to Narcan, with a clip from the press conference seen below.

NBC reporter Kate Snow asks Governor LePage about his opposition to Nalaxone.

NBC reporter Kate Snow asks Governor LePage about his opposition to Nalaxone.

One quote from Governor LePage on the topic has drawn much attention and summarized his views:

    “I think we need to treat, Let’s deal with the treatment, the proper treatment and not say, Go overdose, and oh, by the way, if you do I’ll be there to save you. I think we need to deal with the bigger, basic problem of drug addiction, drug trafficking and drug abuse in the state. That’s all I’m interested in.”

This morning, NBC’s Today Show again featured quotes from the same press conference as part of Snow’s ongoing report on heroin addiction:

    Not everyone is so enthusiastic about the medication. At a press conference on Maine’s drug problem, the governor was adamant that only medical professionals should have access to Narcan.

    “It’s an escape,” Gov. Paul LePage told NBC News. “It’s an excuse to stay addicted. I think we need to deal with the treatment, the proper treatment and not be saying, “go overdose and oh, by the way, if you do, I’ll be there to save you.”

But in a stunning move, NBC is reporting the governor’s office told them yesterday that LePage is reversing course and no longer opposing access to the antidote:

———-

9am UPDATE: Via Sun Journal’s Scott Thistle is a clip of former Cumberland County Sheriff Rep. Mark Dion, speaking in more depth to the issues raised by the governor during the press conference and elaborating on his own remarks found below.

———-

(Originally posted 3/12/14)

DSC_0032Governor Paul LePage yesterday held a press conference in his Cabinet Room to announce that he has submitted legislation to provide funding for 22 new state employee positions to fight Maine’s drug addiction and trafficking problems: 4 new hires within the Judicial Branch, 14 for the Department of Public Safety and four additional Assistant AGs. The move is part of his State of the State address promise to toughen up on Maine’s drug laws and enforcement.

With Attorney General Janet Mills, Cumberland County DA Stephanie Anderson, MDEA head Roy McKinney and law enforcement officers from around Maine in attendance, the governor spoke to and again listed statistics regarding the large number of Maine babies that are born addicted, criticized the state’s methadone clinics and called marijuana a “gateway drug”, a claim supported and expanded upon by DA Anderson when it was her turn at the podium.

Some quotes of LePage:

    “The methadone clinics in the state of Maine are an absolute dismal failure.”

    “I’m not here to say that eradicating the drug trafficking trade is a silver bullet. We still have the addiction efforts. This is a full-blown business activity, and we’ve allowed it to go from a little bit of heroin for your buddy to a commercial enterprise. We need to break the commercial enterprise. This is, we want to get the people who bring the poison into the state, we want to get them off the streets.”

The governor also managed to get in a few political digs regarding Medicaid expansion:

    “We must confront this troubling epidemic. While some are spending all their time trying to expand welfare, we are losing the war on drugs.”

LD 1811, “An Act To Appropriate and Allocate Funds To Strengthen the State’s Efforts To Investigate, Prosecute and Punish Persons Committing Drug Crimes” is sponsored by Sen. Gary Plummer (R-Cumberland) and while it beefs up enforcement and the drug courts, there are no provisions or mention within the bill as will be presented to the Criminal Justice and Public Safety committee in regards to medical treatment for addicts, education or counselling.

Some Democrats voiced their opinions on LePage’s approach:

Asst Majority Leader Senator Anne Haskell (D-Cumberland):

    “There are Mainers who today, are living drug-free lives — and the reason for that is the treatment required by the oversight of the drug court. I am pleased to see more resources allocated to the drug courts. However, they are only half the answer. We simply are not going to arrest our way out of drug addiction.”

Assistant House Majority Leader Jeff McCabe (D-Skowhegan) agreed:

    “The governor does not have a track record of supporting prevention and treatment. We want to hear about what he will do on those fronts. We should all be able to agree that we cannot arrest or incarcerate our way out of Maine’s drug problems.”

Rep. Mark Dion (D-South Portland), a former Cumberland County Sheriff and House Chair of the CJPS Committee:

    “Where we part ways is he’s offering part of a solution. Judges and prosecutors that don’t have the resources to intervene in the addiction cycle will only guarantee more arrests and more detentions at our correctional facilities, which are already under stress.”

Maine Gov Paul LePage Presents LD 1811, War on Drugs Bill, in Press Conference

Roy McKinney, Maine Drug Enforcement Agency Director, Speaks in Support of LePage Plan

Cumberland County DA Stephanie Anderson Speaks in Support of LD 1811, Gov LePage War on Drugs Bill

Conclusion of LePage War on Drugs Press Conference; Q&A with Press

———-

Some parsed out moments:

1. ME Gov Paul LePage: Marijuana a “Gateway Drug”

    Reporter: “Governor, can you talk about how the push to legalize marijuana in Portland and possibly statewide affects this? Is it a separate issue?”

    LePage: “Yeah, it’s a separate issue. I think what they are doing in Portland is against federal law and the state law- I don’t condone it. I think… I will tell you, I’m not a user, so I don’t know what it does… but everybody that has experience with it is telling me it is a gateway drug. If it is a gateway drug, it’s certainly not helping the situation.”

2. LePage: Narloxone in home is “excuse to stay addicted”

3. Medicaid Expansion Question/ Drug Abuse Tie In Question by Susan Alexa

4. Press sings Happy Birthday to LePage press secretary Adrienne Bennett

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Complete Video Record of Maine House Debates LD 1487, “An Act To Implement Managed Care in the MaineCare Program”

Posted on March 19, 2014. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

In chronological order, here are clips from this week’s House floor debate on LD 1487, “An Act To Implement Managed Care in the MaineCare Program”. The bill passed the chamber, but as in the Senate last week, narrowly failed to garner a veto proof majority.

Whenever possible, the full text of the prepared remarks has been linked to each clip; for others, either direct quotes or summaries as provided by House Democratic legislative aides online has been shared.

———

HHS Chair Rep. Dick Farnsworth (D-Portland) Presents LD 1487

Rep. Corey Wilson (R-Augusta) supporting LD 1487

Rep. Deb Sanderson (R-Chelsea) opposing LD 1487 (pt 1)

Rep. Louis Luchini (D-Ellsworth) supporting LD 1487

Asst. Majority Leader Jeff McCabe (D-Skowhegan) in support of LD 1487 (full prepared remarks HERE)

    Rep. McCabe thanks lawmakers for this bipartisan effort. “This bipartisan health care bill can make a different to 70,000 Mainers — Our friends, our family, our neighbors.”

    Rep. Jeff McCabe on economic benefits of health care expansion: “Why not these jobs? Why not now? ”

Rep. Paul McGowan (D-York) supporting LD 1487

    Rep. Paul McGowan on health problems he had: “I had that health experience with the security of health insurance. Everybody in this chamber has the security of health insurance.”

    Rep. Paul McGowan: “Can you imagine living in a society where if your house caught on fire and you called the fire department, and they said I’m sorry, you don’t qualify?”

Rep. Helen Rankin (D-Hiram) supporting LD 1487

    Rep. Helen Rankin: “Our veterans who have sacrificed everything. Do we really turn away from them? I think not.”

    Rep. Rankin: “Who made us God to decide about the lives of these people who are so desperate? … I think it’s time for us to pay it forward.”

Rep. Heather Sirocki (R-Scarborough) opposing LD 1487 (pt 1)

Rep. Matt Pouliot (R-Augusta) supporting LD 1487

    Rep. Matt Pouliot: “This bill is a valiant attempt to find a middle ground, incorporating many principles that are important to me. … I will be supporting this motion.”

Rep. Craig Hickman (D-Winthrop) supporting LD 1487, pt 1

Rep. Craig Hickman (D-Winthrop) supporting LD 1487, pt 2

    Rep. Craig Hickman reading from a constituent letter: “Are we really going to let these people down and say tough luck you’re on your own?… We are a better nation than that. We are a more compassionate people than that.”

House Majority Leader Seth Berry (D-Bowdoinham) in support of LD 1487 (full prepared remarks HERE)

    Rep. Seth Berry: “Health care expansion makes good business sense. There’s also the human cost of denying health care to 70,000 Mainers.”

    Rep. Berry on his younger brother: “He is one of the most hardworking Mainers you’ll ever meet. He is one of the Mainers who fall into the coverage gap caused by our failure to expand health care.”

Rep. Bobbi Beavers (D-S Berwick) in support of LD 1487

    Rep. Roberta Beavers : “In York County alone, about 82 hundred more people will gain access to health care. An additional $43 million will be spent each year on health care services by 2016, stimulating about $59 million in additional economic activity and 513 new jobs in my county.”

Rep. Amy Volk (R-Scarborough) opposing LD 1487

Rep. Anne Graham (D- N Yarmouth) supporting LD 1487 (full remarks here)

    “The argument that that everyone should go on the exchange is false. Yes, one can purchase an insurance plan for $50 per month with a $2,5000 deductable. When one makes less than $12,000 a year, this is an impossibility. Once again, lose your life or lose your livelihood. I ask, what choice would you make?

    It saddens me deeply that this debate has become more about politics than about people.”

Rep. Dennis Keschl (R-Belgrade) opposing LD 1487

Rep. Dr. Jane Pringle (D-Windham) supporting LD 1487

    Rep. Jane Pringle, a retired doctor on why she’s in the Legislature: “I have watched the number of patients without health care grow. I have seen too many patients who could not get the health care they need until they were in crisis.”

    Rep. Pringle: “Imagine coming to me as your doctor with chest pain. And I say, ‘Have you worked hard enough today for me to give you health care?'”

    Rep. Pringle on the lack of belief in a system that will increase access, lower costs for all and save lives: “We have the power to do this. We just have to make this choice.”

Rep. Paulette Beaudoin (D-Biddeford) supporting LD 1487

Rep. Richard Malaby (R-Hancock) opposing LD 1487

Rep. Josh Plante (D-Berwick) supporting LD 1487

Rep. Dr. Ann Dorney (D-Norridgewock) supporting LD 1487

    Another patient of Rep. Dorney lost health coverage, ran out of insulin and ended up in the ICU with dangerously high blood sugars. The hospital gave her some insulin when she was well enough to leave.

Rep. Bernard Ayotte (R-Caswell) opposing LD 1487

Rep. Sheryl Briggs (D-Mexico) supporting LD 1487

Rep. Lisa Villa (D-Harrison) supporting LD 1487

Rep. Brian Jones (D-Freedom) supporting LD 1487 (full prepared remarks HERE)

    Rep. Brian Jones on health care needs in the community: “The collection plate in church and the donation jar in the store have demonstrated they cannot completely fulfill this purpose. Nor can directives to get a better job.”

Rep. Dr. Janice Cooper (D-Yarmouth) supporting LD 1487

Rep. Gay Grant (D-Gardiner) supporting LD 1487

Rep. Steve Moriarty (D-Portland) supporting LD 1487

Rep. Tom Longstaff (D-Waterville) supporting LD 1487

Rep. Nate Libby (D-Lewiston) supporting LD 1487

Rep. Katherine Cassidy (D-Lubec) supporting LD 1487 (full prepared remarks HERE)

    Rep. Katherine Cassidy about constituent with cancer: “They already put a portion of cancer treatment on their daughter’s credit card.”

Rep. Diane Russell (D-Portland) supporting LD 1487

Rep. James Campbell (U-Newfield) supporting LD 1487

Rep. Heather Sirocki (R-Scarborough) opposing LD 1487 (pt 2)

Questions posed through the Speaker during LD 1487 floor debate

Rep. Dick Campbell (R-Orrington) opposing LD 1487

Rep. Karen Kusiak (D-Fairfield) supporting LD 1487

Rep. Drew Gattine (D-Westbrook) supporting LD 1487

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Asst Majority Leader Jeff McCabe (D-Skowhegan) in support of LD 1487: “Good deal for Maine, one that we can’t afford to give up”

Posted on March 19, 2014. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , |

Video and remarks as prepared for delivery.

Mr. Speaker, men and women of the House, I rise in support of the pending motion.

I want to recognize all the bipartisan effort that went into this measure. Thank you Mr. Speaker for your tireless work to provide 70,000 Mainers with the security of health care coverage. Thank you to the lawmakers, especially our Republican colleagues across the aisle, who see the value of providing access to a family doctor for more Maine people.

This bipartisan health care bill can make all the difference to 70,000 Mainers – our friends, family and neighbors. Mainers who work hard in jobs without health coverage, veterans who have more than earned such coverage through their service to our country.

Right now, the National Multiple Sclerosis Foundation is downstairs. Health care expansion will help people with M-S. It will serve Mainers with one of the most expensive chronic diseases, a disease that often forces them to stop working.

This bill is good for them and tens of thousands of other Mainers.

And it’s good for economy. It will result in more than $1 million of economic activity per day. It would create 4,400 jobs.

This is good news when Maine’s job creation is sorely lagging. This is good news particularly for rural Maine, which needs the economy really needs the boost.

In Somerset County, where I live, 3,590 Maine people would gain access to health care. This bill would create more than 200 new jobs in a county where unemployment is higher than the state as a whole. This bill would lead to $19 million in health care spending that would stimulate another $23 million in additional economic activity.

Aroostook County would see 4,615 people gain coverage, 280 news jobs and $25 million in annual health care spending that would lead to another $31 million more in economic activity.

And here in Kennebec County, we would see some more impressive results. 6,000 more Maine people with health care, 367 new jobs and $32 million in health care spending that could spur $43 million more in additional economic activity.

This is a good deal for Maine, one that we can’t afford to pass up.

I urge you to consider how much our state, your districts and constituents would gain from the federal government’s offer.

I know that this decision weighs especially heavily on several of our colleagues on the other side of the aisle.

I urge you to vote in support of the pending motion. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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ME Sen. Rodney Whittemore (R-Somerset) on LD 1487: Expansion a “Malignant Cancer of Dependency”

Posted on March 13, 2014. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , |

UPDATE: Here is the video clip of Sen. Rodney Whittemore (R-Somerset) opposing LD 1487.

Senator Rodney Whittemore (R-Somerset) on LD 1487, “An Act To Implement Managed Care in the MaineCare Program”, gave a rather provocative floor speech yesterday, in which he compared the proposed bill sponsored by fellow GOP Senators Assistant Majority leader Roger Katz (R-Kennebec) and Tom Saviello (R-Franklin) to a “road of hopelessness” and a “malignant cancer of dependency”.

Here is an audio link to his testimony and transcription.

rodney whittemoreTESTIMONY OF SENATOR RODNEY WHITTEMORE (R-SOMERSET) OPPOSING LD 1487

    I rise today in opposition to the motion and I promise to be brief.

    I’m sure everyone in this chamber wants assurance that those who need and want medical care receive it.

    The truth is, most of them do now.

    There are two major problems with expanding Medicaid.

    First, based on the experience of the last expansion in 2001, which created a debt of more than a half a billion dollars to our hospitals, common sense indicates that to do this again would be critically irresponsible. We must instead continue to work with the Department of Health and Human Services to find more efficient and less expensive ways in providing healthcare to those folks who need it most.

    Second, to expand Medicaid under the federal rules would inflict a malignant cancer of dependency on thousands of Mainers, who could otherwise provide for themselves through the exchange or private insurance. In too many cases, this dependency erodes self esteem, discourages responsibility and motivation, creates a feeling of entitlement, and is a road to hopelessness.

    We can all agree that there are those who need help with their medical care cost. Many of those folks are on a waiting list, and some are receiving care already. A continued effort to find affordable and more efficient ways to provide care such as prevention, managed care, walk-in clinics, home care and others, would be a wiser choice.

    We must not be tempted again to expand Medicaid, which will inevitably take us down that road of hopelessness and financial self destruction.

    Thank you, Mr. President.

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Weekly Democratic Address by House Asst Majority Leader Jeff McCabe (D-Skowhegan): MAINE NEEDS AN EFFECTIVE CEO

Posted on March 7, 2014. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , |

    REP. MCCABE: MAINE NEEDS AN EFFECTIVE CEO
    LePage’s watch marked by mismanagement and crisis

jeff mccabeGovernor Paul LePage tells us he’s a businessman. He describes himself as a turnaround specialist, as someone who’s got the know-how to make good things happen for our state.

But the reality is that Maine has not fared well under his rule.

Good morning, I’m Assistant House Majority Leader Jeff McCabe of Skowhegan. Thank you for tuning in.

Governor LePage is the chief executive of our state – our CEO, if you will. But I ask you, has he been an effective one?

Maine’s economy has suffered on his watch.

Our state was the worst in the nation when it comes to private sector job growth. More children are living in poverty – the number has grown to one in four Maine children. Families are working harder but making less. And just this week, we learned that Maine lost manufacturing jobs for the third year in a row.

Governor LePage says he knows how to grow an economy. Is this what he meant? Seems to me that this is hardly a record to brag about.

Maine needs real leadership to get its economy moving again. But instead, we’re seeing mismanagement and crisis at every turn.

There’s his $1 million no-bid contract to a political ally – one who didn’t turn in his work in on time and made a huge math error. There’s the federal investigation into his interference with unemployment hearing officers. There’s the document shredding scandal.

And there’s his refusal to work with the Legislature on a state budget – a major part of his job description as chief executive.

And now, Governor LePage is playing political games with our economy again. He is preventing Mainers from working by refusing to release voter-approved bonds.

The governor signed off on bonds that would create jobs and put money into our economy. We’re talking about projects that improve our roads and bridges and help colleges and universities train workers for the jobs of tomorrow.

But then the governor decided to change his mind – even though the money has already started flowing to projects. Shovel-ready projects – like an expansion at Maine Maritime Academy — are at risk. Workers should be putting on their tool belts but now the governor is keeping them waiting in the cold.

What kind of CEO reneges on these kinds of business commitments? What kind of CEO refuses to pay his bills?

I’ll tell you: a bad CEO.

This latest crisis came up after lawmakers from both sides of the aisle came together to keep the state’s funding promise to local communities. This longstanding arrangement gives back a portion of sales and income tax revenue to towns and cities. Revenue sharing helps our local communities pay for services like schools, police and road maintenance while keeping property taxes from spiking.

When he was a mayor, Governor LePage recognized the value of protecting communities and their property taxpayers. But these days, he’s talking out of the other side of his mouth.

The governor claims he’s acting this way because he doesn’t like part of the plan to protect revenue sharing. He’s trying to blame the use of the rainy day fund even though the plan maps out how it would be replenished – and even though he’s used a lot more of it himself in the past.

A few days ago, the governor slammed Democrats for supporting revenue sharing. He seemed surprised to learn than Republicans were part of the overwhelming veto-proof majorities that supported the critical measure to prevent property tax spikes.

It would be kind of funny, if it wasn’t so scary that he doesn’t know what’s going on right upstairs from his office.

Because he knows he lost on revenue sharing, he’s decided to hold bonds hostage.

It defies common sense – and business sense. Maine needs more predictability from its CEO.

Call the governor – your state’s CEO – and tell him to release the bonds so Mainers can get back to work.

Thank you for listening. This is Assistant House Majority Leader Jeff McCabe of Skowhegan.

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(Aug 2013 Review) Governor LePage (Video): Support of the Transportation Bond Supports Economic Stability and Jobs

Posted on February 23, 2014. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , |

(Originally posted 12 Aug 2013) Here we go again- Governor LePage is gonna get all bothered if he doesn’t get his way! Check out the latest “Blusta Outta Augusta”

      Governor LePage: Support of the Transportation Bond Supports Economic Stability and Jobs

    The growing debate over whether the Legislature should move quickly to pass a transportation bond comes down to one thing – jobs.

    As your Governor, I want Mainers to have good-paying jobs, and I want businesses to have the support to expand in our great State.

    As lawmakers examine nearly a billion dollars of bond projects, our Administration is asking for just one bond to go to voters this November.

    Our Administration, in March, proposed a $100 million transportation bond, which allows the Maine Department of Transportation to plan projects for the next three years.

    It provides $81 million for improvement to highways and bridges, and it provides job stability to those in the construction industry, where more than 8,000 jobs have been lost since 2006.

    We designate another $19 million for improvements to multimodal facilities that would support projects, such as major development on the Portland waterfront, as well as preserving rail connections for Maine businesses.

    Our roads and ports continue to be a focus of economic opportunity that helps create jobs. But the federal government has flat funded transportation projects, and vehicles that are more fuel-efficient are generating less revenue in fuel taxes. With those decreases in revenue, this bond is needed now.

    Even with the approval of $100 million bond, Maine’s highway and bridge programs are still facing a funding shortfall.

    Democratic leadership so far has failed to act, and timing is critical. The Secretary of State’s Office needs bonds approved for the November ballot by the middle of August. The early deadline ensures our military troops overseas receive an opportunity to vote – surely a right our uniformed men and women deserve.

    With strong bipartisan support from Democrats and Republicans alike, there should be no hold up on this transportation bond. There will be time in January to continue the bond debate for other projects.

    Once again, we are at a crossroads. Democrats have a choice. They can do the right thing by supporting economic development and jobs or they can delay again.

    The time to act is now and Mainers are depending on us.

Someone ought to tell the Governor to wait a second- he’s not fooling ANYONE. Back when he first proposed his transportation bond package, folks could smell a rat- and LePage admitted himself who that rat was:

    During a State House news conference Thursday morning, LePage admitted that he’s holding $105 million in bonds already approved by voters “hostage” to his hospital debt proposal. Those bonds include $51.5 million for transportation projects.

    “I’ll admit it. It’s the only way I can get anything done upstairs, is, you’ve got to threaten them,” LePage said. “They won’t get it done unless I force it. If I release those bonds today, the hospitals won’t get paid this year, and that’s a fact.”

Why, it’s as if LePage forgot when he all but told Skowhegan and House Asst Majority Leader Rep. Jeff McCabe to, as Gerald at Dirigo Blue put it, “go pound sand”… while helping Livermore Falls.

But McCabe has had the Governor’s number for years…

    jeff mccabe

    “I represent Skowhegan in the Maine Legislature. Our community was slated to receive 400,000 dollars thanks to a downtown improvement program funded by the bond package voters passed in 2009.

    Voters knew that it’s a good time to make these strategic investments. Interest rates are low, Maine is in good shape to bond, and the program supports local jobs and helps communities improve their downtowns, where local businesses thrive.

    Skowhegan’s plan was approved. The town signed contracts with the state, hired engineers and started renovations. We have spent nearly 40,000 dollars, and local businesses have raised more than half a million dollars to match the grant.

    So you can imagine our shock when Governor LePage went back on the state’s promise to help us fund our project on schedule. He told us that he’s holding the money, and he can stall on issuing the bonds for as long as five years if he wants to.

    Nearly a dozen other towns, like Eastport, Monmouth, Rockland and Winthrop all qualified for funds to redevelop their downtowns and create new local jobs. We were all ready to go, and we all got the same message from Governor LePage – we’ll get the money when he feels like it.”

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BREAKING: Governor LePage Reneges on $100M Jobs Bonds; Bounces $59M State of Maine Check

Posted on February 20, 2014. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , |

bounced check(Breaking story; this will be updated)

Via Maine Senate and House Democrats came the following press release within the past half hour:

      LEPAGE RENEGES ON STATEWIDE JOBS BOND CONTRACTS
      Seven months after authorization, Governor changes mind

    Augusta – In an email to State Treasurer Neria Douglass, Governor Paul LePage reneged and cancelled his authorization of nearly $100 million in bond monies for projects across Maine.

    Douglass shared the message with the state’s budget writing committee on Thursday afternoon during a previously scheduled briefing on the state’s debt service or interest for the bonds.

      “Governor LePage has broken a $59 million contract with businesses and workers across Maine. The line has been crossed when the governor’s emotional volatility starts hurting Maine’s economy and Maine’s workers,” said Senate Majority Leader Troy Jackson of Allagash. “I am concerned for the businesses and projects that have started their work and now hear that the governor has changed his mind.”

    According to Douglass, per the directive from Governor LePage, she has already issued $59 million in funding from the state’s cash pool to help fund key projects in the administration’s work plan. These projects were approved and signed off on by Governor LePage and his department officials on July 31, 2013.

      “The Treasurer raised serious concerns about the message the Governor is sending to credit agencies and businesses. He’s broken his word,” said Assistant House Majority Leader Jeff McCabe from Skowhegan. “Worse, he’s playing games with critical investments in construction projects like roads and bridges that will help Maine’s economy.”

    LePage has a track record of using bonds as political leverage with the Legislature. He refused to issue the voter-approved economic investments during his first two years in office, stifling economic growth and job creation.

    Two weeks ago, during a Maine Chamber of Commerce event, LePage threatened again to withhold bonds if the Legislature passed a measure restoring the state’s funding promise to towns and cities across Maine. Both bodies of the Legislature passed the measure with overwhelming bipartisan support, reaching a veto-proof, two-thirds passage with votes of 33 — 2 in the Senate and 120 — 17 in the House.

    Maine now ranks 50th among all other states in private sector job growth since January 2011, according to the Maine Center for Economic Policy’s analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics, Regional and State Employment and Unemployment Data.

Below is the email that Treasurer Neria Douglass sent Governor LePage on February 10th:

    From: Douglass, Neria R
    Sent: Monday, February 10, 2014 5:03 PM
    To: Millett, Sawin; Butera, John
    Subject: Bonds in FY2014


      Hello, Sawin and John.

      I am concerned that recent newspaper reports state that the Governor is now saying he will not go to market and will withhold state bonds.

      So far the Treasurer’s Cash Pool has expended $52,114,073 in funds that will have to be replaced by the sale of bonds before the end of this fiscal year. We have requests for $84,042,798 that include $21 million for Transportation, together with a long list of other projects. Maine Maritime, the University of Maine, and the Maine Community Colleges are moving forward with projects that I expected to fund from the TCP and then reimburse from the sale of bonds.

      I would appreciate your thoughts on this problem. I am reluctant to continue funding while these statements are being made publically. Of course underwriters and others read the newspapers too.

      Best,
      Neria

    Neria R Douglass JD CIA
    Maine State Treasurer

lepage sots angry selfHere is the reply Douglass received this morning and shared with Democratic leadership, as referred to in the above press release:

    From: Mullen, Micki
    Date: February 19, 2014, 8:45 AM EST
    To: Douglass, Neria R
    CC: Butera, John , Millett, Sawin , Newman, Kathleen
    Subject: FW: Bonds in FY2014

      Treasurer Douglas,

      The Governor responded to your email as follows:

        Neria,

        I will not approve going to market until there is $60 MM in the Rainy Day Fund. I will not subject the state to further credit reduction. In the past the Treasurer would keep the Governor updated on cash expenditures, you have chosen not to.

        Governor Paul R. LePage

      Thank you,

      Micki

    Micki Mullen
    Executive Assistant to Governor Paul R. LePage
    State House Station #1
    Augusta, Maine 04333-0001
    Phone: 207-287-3531
    Fax: 207-287-1034
    Visit: http://www.maine.gov

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UPDATED x2: Maine House Votes Down Controversial Religious Discrimination Bill LD 1428, 89-52

Posted on February 20, 2014. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Rep. Andrew McLean (D-Gorham) addresses colleagues during LD 1428 debate.

Rep. Andrew McLean (D-Gorham) addresses colleagues during LD 1428 debate.

12:45pm UPDATE: House just voted 89-52 to accept the Judicial Committee “ONTP” (Ought Not to Pass) recommendation moments ago, 89-52.

This was the final vote on LD 1428; it is now dead.

Roll call vote shows 5 GOP members broke with their party to join Democrats: Reps. Beaulieu of Auburn, Campbell of Orrington, Libby of Waterboro, MacDonald of Old Orchard Beach and Maker of Calais. 2 House Democrats voted for the bill: Rep. Stan Short (D-Pittsfield) and Steve Stanley (D-Medway).

Over 2 dozen rose to speak on the measure in a lengthy floor debate. Some quotes:

    Rep. Matt Moonen (D-Portland): “Please vote to end the war on gay people in our state.”

    Rep. Justin Chenette (D-Saco): “Religious freedom is important, but this bill makes me feel like a second-class citizen… Name me an issue in Maine — I still haven’t heard one. There isn’t an issue. This is a bill searching for a problem, rather than solving one. This wastes taxpayer money… It’s fiscally responsible to oppose it.”

UPDATE #2 (1:45pm): Maine House Democrats issued a press release with more quotes from legislators:

    “This is not a bill about religious freedom; it will only create religious discrimination,” said Rep. Charles Priest of Brunswick, who chairs the Legislature’s Judiciary Committee. “Maine’s law and constitution has strong protections for religious freedom. This bill is not necessary.”

    “This fight will continue across the country. Many states still do not have a human rights law that covers sexual orientation. But in Maine our voters have settled this, ” said Rep. Matt Moonen of Portland, during the floor debate.

    “This bill moves Maine backwards on equality and women’s rights,” said Rep. Mattie Daughtry of Brunswick. “This is not religious freedom, it is legalized hate.”

National coverage here:

1. Breaking: Maine Rejects ‘Religious Freedom’ License To Discriminate Against Gays

2. Maine House Rejects ‘Right to Discriminate’ Bill

Reminder: The Senate voted down the bill 19-16 on Tuesday. The one Democrat who voted for the bill with the Republicans was Senator John Tuttle.

Link to House video here; session starts at 10 am. LD 1428, “An Act To Protect Religious Freedom” is listed as item 6-3 in the Divided Reports of the House Calendar.

Via press release this morning:

      Maine House to take up controversial religious discrimination bill
      Discrimination carve-out would undercut human rights, women’s rights

    Augusta — The Maine House today will take up a controversial bill that would undercut human rights protections and women’s rights by creating a loophole in the state’s strong non-discrimination laws.

    The religious discrimination bill, LD 1428, would carve out an exception for religious beliefs in the state’s non-discrimination laws, such as the Maine’s Human Rights Act.

    “Religion should never be used as a cloak to discriminate,” said Speaker of the House Mark Eves of North Berwick, whose father served as a pastor in the U.S. military. Eves attained his master’s degree in marriage and family therapy from the Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary.

    The Maine Senate rejected the GOP-sponsored measure earlier this week in a largely party-line vote of 19-16.

    “Maine has led the country with our anti-discrimination laws,” said House Majority Leader Seth Berry of Bowdoinham. “This bill is a big step backwards. There should be no exceptions or loopholes when it comes to discrimination.”

    Maine is one of 32 states that does not allow for religious exceptions in non-discrimination laws. In the last 10 years, only six states have enacted similar bills.

    Nationally laws like LD 1428 have been used to infringe upon women’s access to health care. In Texas a municipal bus driver refused to drive a woman to a reproductive health clinic on his bus route. At the federal level, corporations are trying to use the religious exception or loophole to avoid providing employees with health care that covers reproductive health.

    “This measure would take Maine backwards on women’s rights and equality,”
    said Rep. Jeff McCabe of Skowhegan the Assistant Majority Leader. “The Maine legislature and courts have a track record of being careful and deliberate about protecting religious liberty while balancing other rights. This bill is not necessary. ”

    During the public hearing on the bill, one survivor of the genocide in Rwanda, spoke about his experiences coming to America to escape persecution and asked the committee to oppose the bill.

    The bill has met with strong opposition from a broad group of organizations, including ACLU of Maine, Coalition for Maine Women, Equality Maine, Family Planning Association of Maine, Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, Maine AFL-CIO, Maine Choice Coalition, Maine Coalition Against Sexual Assault, Maine Coalition to End Domestic Violence, Maine Education Association, Maine LGBT Coalition, Maine Medical Association, Maine People’s Alliance, Maine School Management Association, Maine State Employees Association, Maine Women’s Lobby, Religious Coalition Against Discrimination, Secular Coalition.

    ###

*Related: Maine Senate Votes 19-16 Against LD 1428, “An Act To Protect Religious Freedom”

*(UPDATED) Maine Takes Up LD 1428, “An Act To Protect Religious Freedom”

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