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.”
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(UPDATED) June 24 AUDIO: House Minority Leader Ken Fredette (R-Newport) Agreed to Extend Legislative Session to July 16

Posted on July 14, 2015. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , |

7/15/15 UPDATE: The 7/9/15 letter from Rep. Fredette has now been added to this post.

==========

Listen for yourself. These are highlights from audio recorded on June 24, when the House was discussing extending the first regular half of the 127th Maine Legislative session past June 30th. This audio and accompanying transcription of House Minority Leader Ken Fredette (R-Newport) agreeing to extend the Legislative session to July 16 is, quite simply, the last proof needed regarding the Governor’s erroneous assertions that the legislature had adjourned.

These 70 bills are LAW. There is no questioning the processes in place. As the Governor himself often says, “End of story”.

Here is the House Record for that evening, which serves as a transcription when compared to the audio.

*RELATED: (UPDATED) The Curious Tale Of Governor LePage And The 19- Scratch That- 70 “Pocket Vetoes” LAWS

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LePage’s Income Tax Constitutional Amendment Bill LD 1367 Offered in Committee

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

freHouse Minority Leader Ken Fredette (R-Newport) spoke before the 127th Legislature’s Taxation Committee this week regarding Governor Paul LePage’s bill LD 1367, “RESOLUTION, Proposing an Amendment to the Constitution of Maine To Eliminate the Income Tax” (photos).

From Democratic press release:

    Top Democrats on the Taxation Committee are raising strong concerns about the Governor’s proposed Constitutional amendment to abolish the income tax by 2020 ahead of today’s hearing on the bill.

    “We are going to be raising strong concerns during the hearing. The Governor’s bill is reckless and unpaid for. It provides huge tax breaks to the wealthy at the expense of the rest us,” said Rep. Adam Goode, D-Bangor, House Chair of the Taxation Committee. “Working families will see increasing property taxes, while investment in our students and workers will be gutted. It is terrible recipe for our economy.”

    According to the Legislature’s Office of Fiscal and Program Review, the proposal would cost $1.7 billion per year. It would force cuts in K-12 and higher education, with the majority of the benefit going to those with incomes greater than $392,000. Maine spends close to $1.2 billion on K-12 and higher education and $750 million on health care for children, seniors, and people with disabilities. Even if the governor cut all state funding for education and half the funding for health care, there still wouldn’t be enough money to cover the cost of eliminating Maine’s income tax.

    According to an analysis from the Maine Center for Economic analysis, the top 1 percent of Mainers – 7,000 households with incomes greater than $392,000 – will get a $61,000 income tax cut on average and account for 26 percent of the total amount. Meanwhile, middle-income Mainers – 140,000 households with incomes between $38,000 and $60,000 – will get a $900 income tax cut on average and account for less than 8 percent of the total, while property taxes and sales taxes rise.

    “Eliminating the income tax may sound great at first glance. But doing so would be reckless to both our state budget and local town budgets everywhere. It would force severe cuts like closing down every public school and college campus in Maine or raising the sales tax to 15 percent,” said Democratic State Senator Nate Libby of Lewiston, who serves on the Taxation Committee. “This is more of a political sound bite than a serious proposal.”

Here is video along with questions from committee members.

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Maine Lawmakers Submit Bill Aimed at Prohibiting “Revenge Porn”

Posted on March 8, 2015. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , |

100_5145LR 326, “An Act To Prohibit The Unauthorized Distribution of Certain Private Images” was introduced by members of the 127th Maine Legislature in late February at a press conference held in the Welcome Center. Speakers included:

    House Minority Leader Rep. Ken Fredette (R-Newport)
    Senator Asst Minority Leader Sen. Dawn Hill (D-York)
    Rep. Diane Russell (D-Portland)
    Rep. Gay Grant (D-Gardiner)
    Julia Colpitts, ME Coalition to End Domestic Violence
    Cara Couchesne, ME Coalition Against Sexual Assault

Fredette partnered with the Maine Coalition to End Domestic Violence to sponsor the bill, which would make posting revenge porn a Class D crime with penalties including a $2,000 fine and one year in jail.

From a Maine House Republican post:

    More and more people are finding their intimate photographs and/or videos disseminated online without their consent with at least 3,000 active websites devoted to this practice. Many of them force victims to pay hundreds of dollars in order to have their images removed. This disturbing trend is now on the rise here in Maine, where the majority of the victims are women. Victims are publicly humiliated to the point where some of them are moving out of areas they have lived in their whole lives and in extreme cases, some are even committing suicide.

    In many cases these images are posted in an effort to exact revenge on a former girlfriend, boyfriend, wife or husband. In other instances, these videos and images are used as threatening leverage to keep victims trapped in an abusive relationship.

House Minority Leader Ken Fredette: “This is a despicable act that mostly targets women. In states like Maine, where there are no laws on the books to punish those responsible, these victims have nowhere to turn. This is not acceptable and should not be tolerated.”

Co-Sponsor Sen. Dawn Hill: “The practice of non-consensual pornography has no place in Maine. Victims of this despicable act serve a life sentence of humiliation and shame while those responsible are currently going unpunished. It’s time for Maine to join the other states who are putting a stop to this.”

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HD 93’s Dickerson (D-Rockland) Abruptly Resigns; Special Election Will Decide Replacement

Posted on January 15, 2015. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , |

UPDATE: The special election to fill this seat has now been scheduled for March 10.

Rep. Elizabeth Dickerson (D-Rockland) announces resignation: "You are looking at a free woman"

Rep. Elizabeth Dickerson (D-Rockland) announces resignation: “You are looking at a free woman”

Last weekend, Rep. Elizabeth Dickerson (D-Rockland) announced in a late night post to Facebook that “You’re looking at a free woman”, later elaborating that she had resigned her seat from the 127th Legislature.

An official statement was issued the following morning:

“After much thought and deliberation, I am announcing that I will resign the office of State Representative for District 93 this coming week. I am moving out-of-state for professional and personal opportunities that have developed since the election, but it is with a heavy heart that I leave Knox County and the Midcoast region. It has been a privilege to serve the people of Rockland and Owls Head over the last two years. I want to thank the residents of the district for the honor of serving them in Augusta. I look forward to helping during this transition time and I thank everybody for allowing to me to serve our communities.”

Dickerson elaborated in a much longer and detailed post on her website, explaining that she had moved to Colorado in December and expanding on her decision.

DSC_0171While her colleagues in the House and Democratic leadership wished Dickerson well, House Minority Leader Rep. Ken Fredette (R-Newport) immediately took a different tack:

“I wish Representative Dickerson all the best in her future endeavors. Her resignation presents an opportunity for Republicans to gain another seat in the Maine House, adding to the gains we made in November. We’re looking forward to the special election so we can make our case to the good people of House District 93 and we are confident that our common sense message will resonate with them.”

A number of potential candidates have now expressed interest in filling the seat, with more anticipated to throw their hats into the ring:

      1. Regional School Unit 13 Board Chairman Steve Roberts (D)

 

      2. RSU 13 Board member Carol Bachofner (D)

 

      3. Veteran retired educator Ralph Newbert (D)

 

    4. James Kalloch (R), who lost to Dickerson by 3% last November

The Maine Green Independent Party has also stated that they intend to recruit a candidate, but no names of those under consideration have yet been released.

The next steps include Governor LePage to call for a special election, which per the Secretary of State’s office, could take a few months to hold. The parties will be conducting caucuses to select their candidate.

      (§382.

REPRESENTATIVE TO LEGISLATURE

      When there is a vacancy in the office of Representative to the Legislature, the municipal officers of any

 

      municipality affected by the vacancy may inform the Governor if there is a need to fill the vacancy before

 

      the next general election, and the Governor shall issue a proclamation declaring the vacancy and ordering a

 

      special election under section 366. [1985, c. 161, §6 (NEW).]

1. Nominees chosen. The Governor shall order the appropriate political committees to meet and
shall set the deadline for choosing nominees, which may not be less than 15 days following the Governor’s
proclamation declaring a vacancy. The committees shall follow the procedure outlined in section 363.
[ 2011, c. 409, §2 (AMD) .]

SECTION HISTORY

1985, c. 161, §6 (NEW). 1997, c. 436, §57 (AMD). 2011, c. 409, §2
(AMD).)

Late today, the increasingly antsy Fredette once again spoke out publicly about Dickerson’s resignation:

Resignation letter of HD 93 Rep. Elizabeth Dickerson (D-Rockland) addressed to Speaker Mark Eves (D-N Berwick)

Resignation letter of HD 93 Rep. Elizabeth Dickerson (D-Rockland) addressed to Speaker Mark Eves (D-N Berwick)

      It’s been five days since Rep. Elizabeth Dickerson decided she no longer wanted to represent the people of Rockland and Owls Head in the Maine House of Representatives.

Despite the fact Rep. Dickerson announced her plans to resign on Facebook and in a media release, as of Thursday afternoon, she had yet to submit her formal letter of resignation to the Secretary of State. House Republicans want to know why she has not formally stepped down. According to the Bangor Daily News, there are now three people who are interested in representing the people of House District 93.

“The people of Rockland and Owls Head deserve proper representation in the Maine House,” said House Republican Leader Ken Fredette. “We want to know why, if Rep. Dickerson truly wants to give up her seat, she has yet to formally resign? There are people ready and willing to step in and do the job. What’s the delay?”

Dickerson responded by sharing a photo of herself with the letter and an envelope addressed to Speaker of the House Rep. Mark Eves. One hopes that this will be sufficient to calm Rep. Fredette down.

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Governor LePage, er, “Lewiston Mayor Bob MacDonald” on “Elusive Central American Children” Goes Off On Both Dems & The Rails

Posted on August 5, 2014. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Image via 2/7/11 Portland Phoenix article "LePage's secret puppeteers" by Colin Woodard.

Image via 2/7/11 Portland Phoenix article “LePage’s secret puppeteers” by Colin Woodard.

Occasionally 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.

Governor Paul LePage sits at Governor James G. Blaine's Congressional desk (10/12/13).

Governor Paul LePage sits at Governor James G. Blaine’s Congressional desk (10/12/13).

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”.

Want some proof?

We present to you a reminder in the form of “Exhibit A”: “Is LePage’s “Outrage” A Politicized Continuation Of Ongoing General Assistance/ Immigrant Battle?”

And now “Exhibit B”: Quite something now, isn’t it?

bob macdonald

The GOP in Maine must be just thrilled that Paul LePage, who has a history of meeting with dangerous fringe elements within his own party, er, “holds regular meetings with ALL of his constituents (wink wink), has somehow managed not to even be in the same room as THIS guy.

Oh wait.

AWKWARD!!!

So let’s wipe the copious spittle off “MacDonald’s” lil screed and work our way down through all of this.

Oh where, oh where to begin? Oh where, oh where to begin?

  • Those “elusive Central American children” are NOT at the Blaine House, nor does Paul LePage know where they are.

(He knows. He looked.)

  • President Obama may headline a Shenna Bellows for Senate fundraiser in Bar Harbor, which is currently overrun by filthy rich drunken Chinese tourists!
  • Those “elusive Central American children” could be “gussying up” golf courses for Obama!
  • Those “elusive Central American children” could be learning English at those golf courses!

Governor Paul LePage at 3/24/14 press conference rolling out 4 EBT/ TANF reform bills. Also seen: Lewiston Mayor Bob Macdonald and House Minority Leader Ken Fredette (R-Newport)

Governor Paul LePage at 3/24/14 press conference rolling out 4 EBT/ TANF reform bills. Also seen: Lewiston Mayor Bob Macdonald and House Minority Leader Ken Fredette (R-Newport)

(We all know how Paul LePage feels about President Obama.)

  • Those “elusive Central American children” could be hiding in tents on Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mike Michaud’s Northern Maine property!
  • Those “elusive Central American children” could be hiding in an abandoned house in Millinocket!
  • Those “elusive Central American children” could be housed in a federal facility!
  • Those “elusive Central American children” could be in Macdonald’s own city of Lewiston!
  • Those “elusive Central American children” could be at the VA’s Community Based Outpatient Clinic on Challenger Drive!

(Okay, going after gubernatorial opponent Mike Michaud- this we could have seen coming a mile away.)

But sheesh- do we know where the little tykes AREN’T?

moggg

  • Those “elusive Central American children” ARE MOST DEFINITELY NOT in Cape Elizabeth.

As the polls keep showing, NOBODY is in Cape Elizabeth and in fact, things are especially quiet there, as mogul Eliot Cutler’s numbers are doing a downhill mogul run of their own.

Back to those “elusive Central American children”. Where were we?

Oh yes… the next stop on the “Macdonald-LePage” crazy train is a short, but to “Macdonald” and “Macdonald” alone, logical run from Cape Elizabeth to Portland.

  • Those “elusive Central American children” could be at Senate President Justin Alfond’s cosmopolitan house in Portland, stealing the silver spoons!

(Hmm, Maine is a big place, though. Better widen the scope.)

  • Those “elusive Central American children” could be hiding with Paul Bunyan!

(Getting warmer- wait for it…)

  • Those “elusive Central American children” could be hiding with the “Paul Bunyan of Northern Maine”, Senate Majority Leader Troy Jackson!
  • Those “elusive Central American children” could be in Allagash, an “uncharted land [that] would make a perfect clandestine place to set up a refugee/ asylum-seeker camp.”

(DING DING DING! We have a winnah!)

How do you figure THIS one, Governor LePage, er, “Mayor Macdonald”? Inquiring minds have got to know what the voices inside your head are saying. Could you elaborate a bit?

(Yes, yes they are.)

And we all know how you feel about folks from the County, Governor.

More specifically, we know of the long standing feud you, er, “Governor LePage” have had with Senator Jackson.

Oh, sorry- not “Governor LePage”, but “Lewiston Mayor Bob Macdonald”.

Man, this IS confusing.

Do please continue, sir.

  • Those “elusive Central American children” now “thousands of Spanish-speaking illegals”, will be “indoctrinated into the tenets of Progressive Democratic philosophies”.

crazy(Oh heck, time to close down shop, kids; we’ve been found out!! Everyone head for Canada!)

But wait, there is more about “Camp Commandant Jackson” and his nefarious plans.

    “Once camp commandant Jackson is satisfied that these new Democrats possess the qualities needed to be good progressives, they will be released into all Maine counties to bilingually spread the gospel of the common man, a.k.a. progressive political propaganda.”

Okay, enough already. Seriously, just stop.

The article goes on to look at suspects Emily Cain and Mark Eves, but you get the gist. Although to have whoever authored this article talk about psychological needs is remarkable.

And just wait until “Lewiston Mayor Bob MacDonald” catches wind of – cue the ominous music-

“Duh-duh-duuuuuuuuuuh….”

THIS!!

king fox

Waiting for the “LePage/Macdonald/whoever” press release with a joint statement that Stephen King’s Bangor home is the hiding spot for those “elusive Central American children” in three… two… one…

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Maine Legislature Overwhelmingly Pass LD 1762, Restoring $40M in Municipal Revenue Sharing

Posted on February 12, 2014. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee listen to testimony regarding LR 2721 (LD 1762) at public hearing.

Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee listen to testimony regarding LR 2721 (LD 1762) at public hearing.

Yesterday the 126th Maine Legislature took up LD 1762, “An Act Related to the Report of the Tax Expenditure Review Task Force”, which originally passed the House last Thursday by a 114-21 vote on its first reading. The debate at that time was at times contentious, with Republicans divided on the merits of the bill and understanding their votes could have ramifications come November.

LD1762 came up again yesterday first in the House, where a slew of amendments were tacked onto the bill and many GOP members standing to speak in opposition to it. One by one, the amendments were indefinitely postponed. Reactions from House Republicans:

    House Republican Leader Ken Fredette’s floor amendment would task the Governor’s Office of Policy and Management with finding spending reductions to equal the $40 million needed for fiscal year 2015.

    “The tax expenditure task force, which was responsible for closing this $40 million gap and was stacked with liberals, failed to complete its task,” said Rep. Fredette. “OPM, on the other hand, successfully completed its task of finding $35 million in spending cuts. My amendment would give the job to OPM since the majority Democrats and their task force have proven themselves incapable of balancing the budget in a responsible manner.”

    Rep. Lawrence Lockman (R-Amherst) introduced an amendment that would reduce welfare spending as an alternative to raiding the rainy day fund.

    “When I talk about reducing the size of state government, some people like to ask me, ‘what, specifically, would you cut?’ as if I won’t have an answer,” said Rep. Lockman on the House floor. “Well, here’s my answer. Here are 25 million answers. And it’s just the tip of the iceberg that is sinking Maine’s economic ship.”

    Rep. Wayne Parry (R-Arundel) introduced an amendment to give $7 million in property tax relief directly to needy seniors and pay for it with revenue sharing reductions to municipal government.

    “Democrats talk a big game about helping the needy and the elderly, but it’s clear now where their priorities are,” said Rep. Parry.

    Rep. Dean Cray (R-Palmyra) had a very specific spending cut alternative to raiding Maine’s rainy day fund. His amendment proposed eliminating green energy subsidies to replace $14 million in reductions to the rainy day fund.

For some context on the amendments and those offering them:

  • The cuts Rep. Fredette referred to via OPM were detailed in this earlier post from last fall and include cuts such as $1 million for vaccinations and $500k to Head Start, as well as many cuts to the Department of Corrections.
  • Rep. Lockman’s amendment would have taken another $25 million from DHHS’ ever-changing budget requirements. It is very challenging to view his proposal seriously, as he earlier was one of a group of Republicans who, unhappy with the LePage budget and its cuts to revenue sharing, held a press conference at the State House to present their own budget alternative:

    At the 4:00 mark, Lockman discusses new taxes to be levied against Maine’s wealthiest non-profits, but relabels them creatively as “fair share recycling fees”. One wonders how Maine’s largest hospitals and colleges, which top the list of the state’s wealthiest nonprofits, would react to such “fees”?

  • Rep. Parry’s amendment would still not address the municipal shortages of the communities tasked with providing services such as police, fire and public works to the very senior and needy citizens that his proposal was supposedly aimed to help. A reminder: Recently as many as 100 municipalities were represented at a public hearing regarding this bill and spoke of the harm that revenue sharing was doing to their communities.
  • As for Rep. Cray’s offering… let’s just say that “renewable energy” will never be an honest focus of the LePage administration.

Ultimately the original bill passed under the hammer (ie, no second roll call vote) and went immediately to the Senate. And there something interesting happened…

The Senate voted to pass the bill by a 33-2 margin, with the only two voting against, Senators Pat Flood and Dick Woodbury, having already declared that neither was running for re-election. Via Senate Democrat press release, here are statements from some of the members:

    Senate President Justin Alfond: “Towns across our state have financially stretched budgets. They came to us with a problem that needed to be solved. Towns across our state, regardless of political affiliation, wholeheartedly support this measure because they know the state should and must keep its promise. In this business, you have to stand up and be accountable to the property taxpayers of your town. Passing this measure and keeping our promise is the responsible thing to do.”

    Senator Dawn Hill, the Senate Chair of the Appropriations Committee and LD 1762 co-sponsor:
    “Last year we all worked across the aisle to make a promise to our towns; we pledged our best effort. We made a promise to towns to ensure good schools, police to ensure safety, and skilled firefighters. Now is not the time to upend all of that work. Restoring these funds will ensure our towns don’t have to raise property taxes or further reduce essential services like public safety or education, or do both.”

    Senate Majority Leader Troy Jackson: “Once again, Governor LePage is threatening to hold Maine’s economy hostage if he doesn’t get his way. Today, the Senate sent a message that we will not be held hostage. We will stand up for our towns and cities and keep our funding promise.”

In December, Governor Paul LePage outraged many by labeling revenue sharing as “welfare” , a position he did not take as Waterville’s mayor in 2009. While LePage has indicated that he would either veto the bill or hold hostage $100 million in voter-approved bonds meant to pay for infrastructure projects were LD 1762 to pass, there has been no word yet from the second floor as to what comes next.

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Governor LePage’s Mulligan

Posted on July 2, 2013. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

paul jebOriginally posted Jun 27 and now bumped back to top, as news has come out tonight that Maine’s self-proclaimed “blue collar” Governor Paul LePage, who last week denounced the state’s “country club Legislature” and said that he would be discussing options with his family regarding whether or not to run for re-election, announced before a hundred supporters at the posh Jeb Bush hosted, up to $3k per couple Nonantum Resort, Kennebunkport fundraiser that he is indeed running for re-election in 2014.

(Video link here, as MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow a few weeks’ ago had something to say regarding Jeb Bush’s decision to hold this fundraiser. She also took the matter up again on this evening’s show.)

It should be noted that the task of informing the world of this decision came not by press release nor traditional local Maine media, but rather fell to State Senator Andre Cushing (R-Penobscot) to deliver the news second-hand to the world, as Maine’s most transparent Governor instructed his senior political advisor Brent Littlefield to issue the following reminding email to Maine media late this afternoon:

    “Just a quick email reminder that tonight’s LePage event in Kennebunkport is closed press.

    There are no press avails before or after the event.

    Brent Littlefield, Senior Political Adviser to Governor LePage”

augusta cc

    mul·li·gan
    /ˈməligən/
    Noun

    1. A stew made from odds and ends of food.

    2. (in informal golf) An extra stroke allowed after a poor shot, not counted on the scorecard.

—–

UPDATED with earlier portion of the press conference that I missed; many thanks to PPH’s Steve Mistler.

UPDATE x2: Friday’s Portland Press Herald is chock-full of scathing missives today in Letters to the Editor: Governor disrespects people he serves.

—–

Yesterday after the House (114-34) and Senate (26-9) delivered crushing blows to Governor LePage’s veto of LD 1509, the FY 14-15 fiscal budget bill and in doing so avoided the first statewide government shutdown in over twenty years, the governor held a press conference in which he was a far, far more subdued man than just last week:

Via Steve Mistler, this earlier portion of the press conference:

    “I’m very disappointed on this budget. Until we start understanding what makes an economy drive and why the southeast and the southwest and the Atlantic states have such good economies, until we emulate some of their behaviors we are not going to be anywheres but 50th place in the country for doing business.”

    “It’s a real sad day for the state of Maine. We took, I thought, with the 125th Legislature, that we took two steps forward for the state. Today, I think we took three steps back. I really feel bad for today.”

While admittedly not a complete version of the Governor’s press conference (full audio here), the above was almost 15 minutes’ worth of it and many of Maine’s various media were in attendance, including reporters from formerly access denied Portland Press Herald:

    In an impromptu news conference right after Wednesday’s final override vote in the Senate, LePage reacted calmly, but strongly. He criticized Republicans and Democrats alike for a plan that “solidified our place as the 50th worst place to do business for the foreseeable future.”

    He said the Legislature is a “country club” where lawmakers are more interested in getting along with each other than with him.

Paul LePageAs Lewiston Sun Journal reported, LePage said he was considering his options:

    LePage said he would be consulting more with his family before deciding whether he would seek a second term as governor.

    I am going to be meeting with my family at some point and we are going to be talking it over,”
    LePage said. “Quite frankly, I don’t know how you recover from this. I really don’t know how you recover from a tax increase. This is a giant obstacle. It’s like having a giant hole in the bottom of your ship and you are trying to get across the pond.”

During the press conference, the Governor repeatedly called his originally submitted budget “a good budget” (so good that the silence from his caucus’ after the State of the State address was deafening) and repeatedly backtracked on his 2009 stance regarding revenue sharing.

To review the clip of 2009 Waterville Mayor Paul LePage denouncing revenue sharing cuts to his then-city:

LePage was critical of the Democrats in leadership who would not talk to him about the budget, again called out the Appropriations Committee for not allowing him to speak on mic, in particular the Republicans on the committee and then called out House Minority Leader Ken Fredette (R-Newport) as “having not been around” to talk with or had been “unwilling to talk to me”, that the Republican Party is not a strong one currently in Maine, and was unaware that the energy omnibus bill that he had vetoed had been overturned in the House and heading for the Senate.

It needs to be noted that while many communities denounced the Governor’s budget, not a single one even attempted to pass a resolution supporting LePage, a point raised by Senate President Justin Alfond (D-Cumberland) during this week’s Democratic leadership media availability event.

But apparently the coverage was not sufficient for the Governor, as he decided to declare yesterday’s disaster a “mulligan” and try again to explain himself to the Maine people, today going before the camera once more, with his office releasing the following footage this afternoon.

Roll the clip:

From the accompanying press release:

    Governor Paul R. LePage speaks out about why he could not support the Legislature’s budget, which included tax increases, in a new video released by the Office of the Governor.

    In the five-minute video, the Governor shares his thoughts about how higher taxes will affect Mainers and condemns decreased funding to programs like Jobs for Maine Graduates.

    In the video, he notes that tax increases will have a devastating effect on the elderly and Mainers who live within their own budgets. Sales, meals and lodging taxes will be increased to fund the state budget.

      “Retired mill workers living on fixed incomes; elderly widows collecting Social Security; and our veterans, who receive nothing more than their military pension—each of them care about this tax increase,” Governor LePage said.

      “We are already one of the highest taxed states in the nation. We have some of the lowest per capita income in the country. Now is not the time to ask Mainers to give more to fund government… For some legislators, it was more important to count votes and reject my proposals than do what is right for our citizens.”

      “Maine people deserve a considered, reasoned debate, and they will hold legislators responsible for their decisions… It is time to look past the next election and look forward to the next generation.”

    This sort of passive-aggressive communication by Maine’s Chief Executive brings back memories of the inexplicable and strange video released in last January, as former CBS reporter now LePage staffer Adrienne Bennett displayed a remarkable lack of journalistic integrity by “interviewing” the governor:

    Harder thrown pitches than these can be seen at a playground Whiffle ball game… Now, I love a good train wreck sort of news story as much as the next person, but this is just getting sad.

    In his opening statement, The Governor claims “not to be a politician and be a blue collar governor”. Gotta call a 1 stroke penalty for this one!

      Ann LePage:“He was what my dad always called a ‘white collar. My dad said, ‘Ann, for god’s sake, he’s a white collar. He doesn’t know how to work.’”

    LePage garners another stroke regarding the claims that the sales tax on meals and lodging will affect Maine businesses. Watch this from Rep. Jethro Pease (R-Morrill) from yesterday:

    Rep. Kim Monaghan-Derrig (D-Cape Elizabeth) agreed:

    And it goes downhill from there, enough so that Bangor Daily News shared Governor LePage’s “Mulligan” as part of a larger piece, asking “Does Governor LePage Still Matter?”

    Ouch.

    Then there is this: “Gov. LePage’s recent actions cry out for an intervention”.

    And this in the PPH. Maine Voices: Assistant GOP leader: Governor’s behavior sets unfortunate tone in Augusta
    .

    That one by Senate Assistant Minority Leader Roger Katz (R-Kennebec) even made it into the Washington Post: Top Maine Republican legislator: ‘I am embarrassed’ by LePage.

    Heh. Wonder how Minority Leader Mike Thibodeau (R-Waldo) feels about that (“Top Republican”) interesting mistype?

    An argument could possibly be made that the Governor sees himself as having a “Tin Cup” moment, but the reality here is indeed something entirely different.

    Time to sign your card and call it a day, Governor…

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Silly Season Continues in Augusta, As Fredette Mansplains and Hamper Croons Hotel California

Posted on June 18, 2013. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

UPDATED: Rep. Heather Sirocki (R-Scarborough)’s “American Pie” speech had some jaws dropping in the House.

Some days, one only needs a camera and popcorn when reporting on the Legislature…

MPA captured this moment from the floor of the House, in which Minority Leader Ken Fredette (R-Newport) explained in an especially sexist and misogynistic, out-dated and irrelevant way his objections to LD 1066, the Medicaid expansion bill, that later went viral:

    “As I listen to the debate today and earlier debate on this bill, I can’t help but think of a title of a book, Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus. And it’s a book about the fact that men sort of think one way in their own brain, in their own world. And women think another way in their own brain and in their own world. And it really talks about the way that men and women can do a better job at communicating.

    Because if you listen to the debate today, in my mind — a man’s mind — I hear two fundamental issues. From the other side of the aisle, I hear the conversation being about: free. ‘This is free, we need to take it, and it’s free. And we need to do it now.’ And that’s the fundamental message that my brain receives. Now, my brain, being a man’s brain, sort of thinks differently, because I say, well, it’s not — if it’s free, is it really free? Because I say, in my brain, there’s a cost to this.”

MPA, who shared the above clip, had this response from organizer Jennie Pirkl:

    “This isn’t about women and men; it’s about life and death. Rep. Fredette would probably say that I only think this way because of my ‘woman’s brain’, but I find it incredibly distasteful for him to use offensive, gender-based stereotypes to advance his anti-health care agenda,” said Maine People’s Alliance Health Care Organizer Jennie Pirkl.

    “What’s more, he’s lying about the bill. Even the conservative Heritage Foundation admits that accepting federal health care funding will save the state $690 million over the next decade while providing health care coverage for 70,000 more Maine people.”

To say that Fredett’e choice in tone and language in delivering his floor speech got some national attention would be an understatement… Think Progress picked it up immediately and from there, well… Jezebel had a bunch of fun with it!

Democratic Underground was next… and then Rachel Maddow:

    For the record, Fredette, the leader of Maine Republicans in the state House, did not appear to be kidding.

    After having watched it a couple of times, I’m still not sure what this state lawmaker is trying to say. Does he believe women are confused by federal-state partnerships in providing health care benefits? Does he think men necessarily oppose Medicaid expansion because of their male brains? Fredette certainly seems to be under the impression that he — with his “man’s mind” — is better able to understand health care costs that women apparently can’t see.

    And if that is what Fredette believes, there may be something wrong with his brain.

    As for the politics of this, I’m beginning to wonder if some kind of secret memo went out to Republican policymakers, telling them to be as offensive as possible so that women vote Democratic in even larger numbers. Just consider the recent evidence.

    For what it’s worth, later in the day, Fredette apologized for his “inartful” remarks. His man’s brain apparently came to realize he’d made an embarrassing mistake.

Rep. Diane Rusell, wearing her  "FIGHT LIKE A GIRL" pin on her lapel.

Rep. Diane Rusell, wearing her “FIGHT LIKE A GIRL” pin on her lapel.

Then we have Slate. And Huffington Post. And Glamour.

Political Wire. National Memo.

This list goes on and on…

As Rep. Diane Russell (D-Portland) said, blasting Fredette’s remarks:

    “I thought it was 2013, not 1813. Apparently, I was wrong.”

Word to the wise: Do NOT click on the Jezebel link and read that while recording video live on the floor of the House, like I did- think I bit right through my lip, trying to keep quiet!

Onward to the Senate…

This has got to be one of the strangest moments I personally have witnessed, bar none, in the Senate. Not sure if Sen. James Hamper (R-Oxford) was denouncing Medicaid expansion or if he thought it was Karaoke Night!

Who would have thought that an Eagles song, released in 1976, was in actuality penned as a take-down argument against Medicaid expansion…

The quoted lyrics:

    “On a dark desert highway, cool wind in my hair
    Warm smell of colitas, rising up through the air
    Up ahead in the distance, I saw a shimmering light
    My head grew heavy and my sight grew dim
    I had to stop for the night”

    “There she stood in the doorway;
    I heard the mission bell
    And I was thinking to myself,
    “This could be Heaven or this could be Hell”

    “Mirrors on the ceiling,
    The pink champagne on ice
    And she said “We are all just prisoners here, of our own device”

    “And in the master’s chambers,
    They gathered for the feast
    They stab it with their steely knives,
    But they just can’t kill the beast”

    “Last thing I remember, I was
    Running for the door
    I had to find the passage back
    To the place I was before
    “Relax, ” said the night man,
    “We are programmed to receive.
    You can check-out any time you like,
    But you can never leave! ”

Oh, to have one of the Democratic Senators stand and deliver the line: “You can’t hide your lying eyes”… or even better, this.

A reminder: Session supposedly ends this week. Stay tuned!

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Hey Dave- Thanks bunches for illustrating again why Maine Dems won BIG in November. Now, Shush!

Posted on March 2, 2013. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Awhile ago, House GOP hatchet guy, er, communications director David Sorensen shared on Twitter a photo taken of yesterday’s Democratic leadership media availability press conference:

Here again is the entire press conference for context:

And who can forget Dave’s work during the last election cycle? He did such a great job in getting Tom Martin re-elected, huh?

Senator Lachowicz, who is seeing constituents today, sends her love, btw…

orc

Thanks bunches, guy!

Well, such is what happens when one captures a moment of time and tries to make a statement out of it, with none of those pesky supporting facts and such.
Certainly we on the left could do the same!

Let’s give it a try.

Senate Minority Leader Mike Thibodeau lulls House Minority Leader Rep. Ken Fredette to sleep with a soothing fairy tale told to Maine media... shush everyone, now!

Senate Minority Leader Mike Thibodeau lulls House Minority Leader Rep. Ken Fredette with a soothing fairy tale told to Maine media… shush, now!

See how this works? It is cheap political theater at best; mean-spirited nonsense at worst. It does nothing to work on the serious issues at hand; it doesn’t tell the truth of what is being said or done.

To quote the Governor from 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2009/2013, “It’s bullshit.”

Goodness knows, Sorensen is quite skilled at shaping conversations even against members of his own party!

Oh- such good times, good times. From last May:


    Two individuals have been identified as participating in this attempt to sow convention confusion. One is Maine House Majority Office Policy Aide David Sorensen, who reportedly nominated the fake Paul slate from the floor. Before and during the convention, Sorensen mocked the Paul people, who he termed “Ronulans,” on Twitter and implied that they believe conspiracy theories about the United Nations and black helicopters (which, to be fair, many of them do).

    paulPaul supporters fault Sorensen both for engaging in a dirty trick and for taking precious convention time with his actions and making the entire event take longer, possibly costing the state party extra money in rental fees for the Civic Center.

    “A lot of Republicans are making a fuss out of this, at least in Androscoggin County,” said Chris Dixon, a convention delegate who witnessed some of Sorensen’s actions and has written about them on Twitter and on a Ron Paul forum. “A bunch of us really want clarification on it, because here’s someone who’s directly employed by the party who’s doing a deliberate sabotage effort. He’s causing disarray for whatever reason and putting the Party on the hook for $20,000.”

    Sorensen, reached for comment, repeatedly and pointedly refused to discuss any aspect of the convention, including the actions of which he is accused.

Here is a clip, as to show the full context and not just a snapshot- it clearly discusses and illustrates the fraud mentioned above:

Memories… ah, back to the present. Another tweet sent out by Dave from yesterday:

But here’s the reality that the GOP doesn’t want Mainers to know or remember: The Democrats when in charge of the Legislature HAVE been paying down the hospital debt that occurred under the McKernan and King administrations, have been making solid payments for years and have not let up once on honoring their commitment!

From October 2006, this article penned by former Speakers of the House John Richardson and Hannah Pingree:

    For three administrations – two under an independent and one under a Republican

    – state government refused to pay hospitals back payments that were due to them. That was bad for local hospitals, all of which are non-profit and many of which are small community-supported organizations and the life center of health care for their regions.

    It was also bad for patients, who rely on hospitals’ continued coverage of Medicaid and Medicare patients. And the trickle-down impact of unpaid debts to hospitals goes even further, affecting the premiums we all pay for health insurance as hospitals have to increase charges to cover unpaid debts and charity care.

    Gov. John Baldacci inherited 11 years of unpaid debts on his first day in office. With a structural gap of $1.2 billion, demands for increased school funding, and many other legitimate and pressing needs competing for scant dollars, Gov. Baldacci might have been forgiven if he had let the unpaid debts go unpaid a little longer.

    Instead of taking the easy route, the governor showed his typical unrelenting commitment to fiscal responsibility by putting the state on a path to pay off these debts. As of this week, Maine has paid hospitals for all outstanding debts owed from 1992 to 2004. We have moved from 11 years in arrears to less than two years.

And what have the Democrats done since then? Oh, not much- wait a sec…

Via Maine House Democrats comes this information released to media yesterday:

    MYTH: Democrats don’t care about paying hospitals

    FACT: Maine has been steadily and increasingly paying down hospital debt for the past decade. Democrats strongly believe paying back the hospitals is a priority. That’s why we’ve been doing it for over a decade.

    · Maine has already paid back more than $3.7 billion to hospitals over the past decade.

    · From fiscal year 2005-2010, the combined state and federal settlement payments to hospitals totaled $742 million, according to the nonpartisan Office of Fiscal and Program Review. Under the LePage Administration, in fiscal year 2011-2013, hospitals will recoup $274.9 million in state and federal dollars.

    · Moreover, in an effort to prevent the debt cycle, Democrats led the change to a “pay as you go” system. The law changing the system was passed in 2009 before LePage took office. The change was fully implemented in 2010.

    o The 124th Legislature in PL 2009, Ch. 213 moved to abandon the Prospective Interim Payment (PIP) system of reimbursing hospitals which requires a settling up of bills after the fact with reimbursements based upon DRGs (Diagnostic Related Groupings) and APCs (Ambulatory Procedure Codes). APCs cover outpatient services provided by hospitals, DRGs are related to inpatient services. Both apply only to noncritical access hospitals. Critical Access Hospitals (CAH) continue to be reimbursed on at 107% of the Medicare rate for services. Title 22, § 3174 LL and MM contain the results of PL 2009, Ch. 213.

    o Move to DRGs

    o Move to APCs

settlesettle2

Hush now, Dave… Ken is sleeping!

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