Not nearly as epic as last year’s list and hopefully less dramatic! A reminder that a 2/3s vote of members present in both legislative chambers is necessary to override the governor’s veto. Here goes:
1. LD 365, “An Act To Provide a Tax Reduction for Modifications To Make a Home More Accessible for a Person with a Disability.” (House OVERRIDE, 148-0 Senate OVERRIDE, 34-0)
2. LD 419, “An Act To Establish the Summer Success Program Fund.” (House SUSTAIN, 93-56) DEAD
3. LD 654, “An Act to Expand the 1998 Special Retirement Plan to Include Detectives in the Office of the Attorney General.” (House SUSTAIN, 96-53) DEAD
4. LD 655 “Resolve, To Provide the Engineering Study and Planning Needed for a Statewide, Centrally Located Emergency Services Training Facility and Several Regional Training Facilities.” (House SUSTAIN, 93-55) DEAD
5. LD 1279 “An Act To Authorize Advance Deposit Wagering for Horse Racing.” (House OVERRIDE, 120-29 Senate OVERRIDE, 23-11)
6. LD 1696, “Resolve, To Establish a Moratorium on Rate Changes Related to Rule Chapter 101: MaineCare Benefits Manual, Sections 13, 17, 28, and 65.” (House OVERRIDE, 101-45 Senate OVERRIDE, 28-6)
7. LD 1514, “An Act To Conform Maine Law to the Requirements of the American Dental Association Commission on Dental Accreditation.” (Senate SUSTAIN, 20-14) DEAD
8. LD 1498, “An Act To Clarify Medicaid Ombudsman Services.” (Senate OVERRIDE, 29-5 House OVERRIDE, 118-28)
9. LD 1465, “Resolve, To Require the Department of Health and Human Services To Conduct a Study of Ambulance Services.” (Senate OVERRIDE, 33-1 House 139-10)
10. LD 1689, “An Act To Protect Children in the State from Possible Sexual, Physical and Emotional Abuse by Persons Who Have Been Convicted of Crimes.” (Senate OVERRIDE, 29-5 House 100-49)
11. LD 1649, “An Act To Modernize Maine’s Solar Power Policy and Encourage Economic Development.” (House SUSTAIN, 96-52) DEAD
12. LD 1253, “An Act To Improve the Evaluation of Elementary and Secondary Schools.” (House OVERRIDE, 112-31 Senate OVERRIDE, 33-1)
13. LD 1675, “Resolve, To Create the Task Force on Public-private Partnerships To Support Public Education.” (House OVERRIDE, 137-12 Senate OVERRIDE, 30-4)
14. LD 1394, “An Act To Implement the Recommendations of the Commission To Strengthen the Adequacy and Equity of Certain Cost Components of the School Funding Formula.” (House SUSTAIN, 95-52) DEAD
15. LD 1489, “An Act To Clarify Expenditures Regarding Androscoggin County.” (House SUSTAIN, 87-61) DEAD
16. LD 1547, “An Act To Facilitate Access to Naloxone Hydrochloride.” (House OVERRIDE, 132-14 Senate OVERRIDE, 29-5)
17. LD 1552, “An Act To Reduce Morbidity and Mortality Related to Injected Drugs.” (House OVERRIDE, 108-40 Senate OVERRIDE, 29-5)
18. LD 1521, “An Act To Create Equity among Essential Nonprofit Health Care Providers in Relation to the Sales Tax and the Service Provider Tax.” (House OVERRIDE, 139-10 Senate OVERRIDE, 34-0)
19. LD 1579, “An Act Regarding the Maine Clean Election Fund.” (House SUSTAIN, 84-63) DEAD
20. LD 1629, “An Act to Implement the Recommendations of the Commission to Study the Public Reserved Lands Management Fund.” (House SUSTAIN, 90-58) DEAD
21. LD 1224, “An Act To Amend the Child Protective Services Laws.” (House OVERRIDE, 147-1 Senate OVERRIDE, 34-0)
22. LD 1398, “An Act to Reduce Electric Rates for Maine Businesses.” (Senate OVERRIDE, 33-2 House OVERRIDE, 110-38)
23. LD 1468, “Resolve, To Improve the Safety of Ferries in the State.” (Senate OVERRIDE, 35-0 House OVERRIDE 113-32)
24. LD 1540 “An Act To Protect All Students in Elementary or Secondary Schools from Sexual Assault by School Officials.” (Senate OVERRIDE 34-0, House OVERRIDE, 140-6)
25. LD 1686, “An Act to Amend the Finance Authority of Maine Act.” (Senate OVERRIDE, 28-7 House OVERRIDE 122-24)
26. LD 1614 “Resolve, To Provide Funding for the County Jail Operations Fund.” (House OVERRIDE, 148-0 Senate OVERRIDE, 33-2)
27. LD 1617, “An Act Regarding the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program.” (Senate OVERRIDE, 34-1 House OVERRIDE, 129-18)
28. LD 1692, “An Act to Amend and Clarify the Laws Governing the Brunswick Naval Air Station Job Increment Financing Fund.” (Senate OVERRIDE, 26-9 House SUSTAIN, 85-62) DEAD
29. LD 867, “An Act To Provide Tax Fairness and To Lower Medical Expenses for Patients under the Maine Medical Use of Marijuana Act.” (Senate SUSTAIN, 23-12) DEAD
30. LD 690, “An Act To Ensure the Safety of Home Birth.” (Senate OVERRIDE, 28-7)
31. LD 1645, “An Act To Address Employee Recruitment and Retention Issues at State Mental Health Institutions.” (Senate OVERRIDE, 34-0)
32. LD 1472, “Resolve, To Enhance the Administration of the Child and Adult Care Food Program by Creating Clear Guidelines for Organizations and Streamlining the Application Process.” (Senate SUSTAIN, 23-12) DEAD
33. LD 1481, “An Act to Protect Maine’s Natural Resources Jobs by Exempting from Sales Tax Fuel Used in Commercial Farming, Fishing and Forestry.”
NOTE: This post will be updated as results become known.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
AUDIO LINK HERE.On July 17, Governor Paul LePage submitted the following questions to the Justices of the Supreme Judicial Court pursuant to Article VI, Section 3 of the Maine Constitution:
- What form of adjournment prevents the return of a bill to the Legislature as contemplated by the use of the word, adjournment, in Art. IV, pt. 3, §2 of the Maine Constitution?
- Did any of the action or inaction by the Legislature trigger the
constitutional three-day procedure for the exercise of the Governor’s veto?
- Are the 65 bills I returned to the Legislature on July 16 properly before that body for reconsideration?
The Court announced that they would hear the arguments within 2 weeks of the governor’s request. They also posted all documents submitted.
- Letter from Governor Paul R. LePage to the Justices of the Maine Supreme Judicial Court, dated and filed July 17, 2015, containing request for an Opinion of the Justices (with Exhibits 1-8).
- Procedural Order dated July 20, 2015 at 4:00 p.m.
- Disclosure, Maine Code of Judicial Conduct, Canon 3(E)(3), dated July 20, 2015 at 4:00 p.m.
- Brief of Audrey Spence of Portland, filed July 23, 2015
- Recusal of Hjelm, J., filed July 23, 2015
- Brief of American Civil Liberties Union of Maine Foundation, filed July 24, 2015
- Brief of Lise McLain and Dorothy Lafortune, of Gilead and Portland, respectively, filed July 24, 2015
- Brief of Representatives Kenneth W. Fredette, Eleanor M. Espling, and Jeffrey L. Timberlake, filed July 24, 2015
- Brief of Governor Paul R. LePage, filed July 24, 2015
- Brief of Maine Senate and Maine House of Representatives, filed July 24, 2015
- Brief of Planned Parenthood of Northern New England, Maine Family Planning, Mabel Wadsworth Women’s Health Center, Maine Primary Care Association, and Maine Nurse Practitioner Association, filed July 24, 2015
- Brief of the Attorney General, filed July 24, 2015
- Reply brief of Audrey Spence, filed July 27, 2015
- Reply brief of Governor Paul R. LePage, filed July 29, 2015
- Reply brief of Representatives Kenneth W. Fredette, Eleanor M. Espling, and Jeffrey L. Timberlake, filed July 29, 2015
- Request to participate in oral argument of Representatives Kenneth W. Fredette, Eleanor M. Espling, and Jeffrey L. Timberlake, filed July 29, 2015
- Reply brief of Maine Senate and Maine House of Representatives, filed July 29, 2015
- Order on Oral Argument Process, dated July 29, 2015
- Disclosure by Chief Justice, dated July 30, 2015
From a media advisory:
STATE OF MAINE SUPREME JUDICIAL COURT Docket No. OJ-15-2 In the Matter of Request for Opinion of the Justices
ORAL ARGUMENT PROCESS
The Justices will hold Oral Argument on the Governor’s Request for an Opinion of the Justices at 9:00 a.m. on Friday, July 31, 2015, in Courtroom 12 of the Cumberland County Courthouse in Portland.
The argument will proceed as follows:
- 1. Counsel for the Governor (Cynthia Montgomery) will be allotted fifteen minutes for argument. Up to three uninterrupted minutes may be reserved; up to two minutes may be reserved for rebuttal.
2. Counsel for Representatives Kenneth W. Fredette, Eleanor M. Espling, and Jeffrey L. Timberlake (Clinton Boothby) will then be allotted up to five minutes for argument. No uninterrupted or rebuttal time is allotted.
3. Counsel for the President of the Maine Senate and the Speaker of the Maine House of Representatives (Timothy Woodcock) will then be allotted up to fifteen minutes for argument. Up to three uninterrupted minutes may be reserved, but no rebuttal time is allotted.
4. Counsel for the Attorney General (Rosemary Gardiner) will then be allotted up to five minutes for argument. No uninterrupted or rebuttal time is allotted.
5. Counsel for the Governor will then argue in rebuttal if time has been reserved.
Here is the full press pool video.
Afterwards, Rep. Jeff Timberlake (R-Turner), Rep. Heather Sirocki (R-Scarborough) and former Secretary of State Senator Bill Diamond (D-Cumberland) met with press to discuss the just concluded Maine Supreme Judicial Court oral arguments heard regarding the 65 vetoes disputed by Maine Governor Paul LePage.
Democratic House leadership released statements.
Speaker of the House Mark Eves (D-N Berwick): “We thank the court for an incredibly fair, thorough and respectful hearing that reflects the seriousness of the issue. We are confident in our position that the laws in question must be enforced by the governor. We have faith the court will make the correct ruling on behalf of the people of Maine.”
House Majority Leader Rep. Jeff McCabe (D-Skowhegan): “It is unfortunate that the governor chose to waste our tax dollars on lawyers and trials instead of admitting he made a mistake. I am confident that the justices will uphold over 100 years of legal precedent and that the 71 new laws that passed with bipartisan cooperation will stand.”
No word as to when there will be a response from the justices, but it could be fairly quickly.
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7/12/15 12:05 am UPDATE: As Governor LePage took no action on the additional 51 bills listed below before the deadline minutes ago, those additional bills have now become law as well. This post will be updated with any new information as it becomes available, as well as any statements from legislators.
A curious thing happened on Monday night, as Maine realized that Governor Paul LePage had failed to act on 19 bills sitting on his desk within the 10 day window for a decision to veto or sign them- and as such, they became law.
The next day, LePage and his administration denied that this was the case, stating that they were dead via the pocket veto option available to the chief executive… which is only true if the Legislature was not “at ease” but rather had “adjourned sine die” on June 30th (which they had NOT).
But while the Governor and his staff continue to insist that they are right, the Revisor’s office disagreed.
Here is the list of the 19 new laws.
Bills on Governor’s Desk Past the 10 Day Limit
LD 25 “An Act To Protect the Privacy of Citizens from Domestic Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Uses” Sponsored by Representative Diane Russell
LD 78 “An Act Regarding Limitations on Certain Storm Water Fees” Sponsored by Senator Nathan Libby
LD 113 “An Act To Reduce the Penalties for Certain Drug Offenses” Sponsored by Senator Roger Katz
LD 234 “An Act To Adjust Appropriations and Allocations from the General Fund and Other Funds for the Expenditures of State Government for the Fiscal Year Ending June 30, 2015” (Emergency) (Governor’s Bill) Sponsored by Representative Margaret Rotundo
LD 299 “An Act To Protect Children in Municipal and School Facilities by Requiring Boiler Inspections” Sponsored by Senator Dawn Hill
LD 369 “An Act To Align Municipal General Assistance Programs with the Immigration Status Policies of the Department of Health and Human Services” Sponsored by Senator Eric Brakey
LD 522 “An Act To Clarify a Recently Enacted Law Designed To Expand the Number of Qualified Educators” Sponsored by Senator David Burns
LD 722 “An Act To Strengthen Penalties for Abuse of General Assistance” Sponsored by Senator Eric Brakey
LD 756 “An Act To Enhance the Address Confidentiality Program Regarding Property Records” Sponsored by Representative Michelle Dunphy
LD 822 “An Act To Allow a Former Spouse of a Member of the Maine Public Employees Retirement System To Begin Collecting Benefits When the Former Spouse Reaches the Member’s Retirement Age” Sponsored by Representative Patrick Corey
LD 870 “An Act To Amend the Maine Spruce Budworm Management Laws” Sponsored by Senator James Dill
LD 1013 “An Act To Prevent the Shackling of Pregnant Prisoners” Sponsored by Senator Anne Haskell
LD 1039 “An Act To Amend the Polygraph Examiners Act” Sponsored by Senator Anne Haskell
LD 1085 “An Act To Implement the Recommendations of the Right To Know Advisory Committee Concerning Receipt of a Request for Public Records” Introduced by Rep. Barry Hobbins
LD 1108 “An Act To Protect Children and the Public from Electronic Cigarette Vapor” Sponsored by Representative Jeff McCabe
LD 1134 “An Act To Require the Department of Health and Human Services To Distribute Information Regarding Down Syndrome to Providers of Prenatal and Postnatal Care and to Genetic Counselors” Sponsored by Senator Amy Volk
LD 1185 “An Act To Establish the Municipal Gigabit Broadband Network Access Fund” Sponsored by Representative Norman Higgins
LD 1303 “An Act To Stabilize and Streamline the Department of Environmental Protection’s Ground Water Oil Clean-up Fund and Maine Coastal and Inland Surface Oil Clean-up Fund” Sponsored by Senator Thomas Saviello
LD 1391 “An Act Regarding the Treatment of Forensic Patients” Sponsored by Representative Richard Malaby
LePage’s lawyers Cynthia Montgomery and Hank Fenton quickly wrote to Grant Pennoyer, Executive Director of the Legislative Council, about the actions of the Revisor’s office.
And Pennoyer responded back, just as zippety-quick… and against Team LePage.
This sentence is key:
“Absent a legal opinion from an authoritative external legal source, such as an opinion of the justices or a written opinion of the attorney general, which the office has used as guidance in the past, the revisor’s office will continue to perform its administrative responsibilities in an absolutely nonpartisan manner.”
And here’s why it’s important. Moments ago, Maine’s Attorney General Janet T. Mills responded to requests earlier this week by Senators Tom Saviello (R-Franklin) and Asst Minority Leader Dawn Hill (D-York), on the question of whether or not the Legislature was adjourned sine die or not, as well as the status of the 19 now printed bills/ laws.
Mills’ response is below.
As of yesterday, it was announced that another 51 bills could also become law if the governor also ignores them until after 12:01 am July 12th (Sunday). Here is the list of those bills.
Who knows where next this goes– Maine may well see Paul LePage take the Legislature, the Revisor’s office, Grant Pennoyer and the Attorney General to court. It’s all anyone’s guess.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
Dem Weekly Message by Senator Dawn Hill (D-York): LePage has become the monkey wrench in government that he purports to despise
DEMOCRATIC RADIO ADDRESS
Hill says, “Gov. LePage has become the monkey wrench in government that he purports to despise.”
These days, working in Maine politics is a bit like living with Alice – Alice in Wonderland that is. What is up is down and what is down is up. Logic is lost and nonsense rules the day.
In our Wonderland, the governor tosses the Constitution aside to make up his own rules.
During his five years in office, Governor LePage has become adept at vetoing legislation. In fact, he holds the record for the Governor who has issued the most number of vetoes. This session alone, he’s vetoed nearly 180 bills.
Governor LePage has not been shy about exercising his veto authority. And, no one, can begrudge him that authority. But, this authority is not without limits.
Under the Maine Constitution, during the first year of a legislative session, the governor has ten days to sign or veto a bill. If he takes no action, then the bill becomes law.
During the second year of a legislative session, an additional method of veto, called a “pocket veto,” is available to the Governor. According to the Constitution, this is the only time a pocket veto can be used.
And since we’re only at the end of the first year of the legislative session, the law is pretty clear on how he can veto.
Whether Governor LePage was misusing a pocket-veto of a bill or, he lost track of the 10 day time limit for a veto, the Constitution is straightforward–those 19 bills ARE now law.
The governor has threatened to take this all the way to the Maine Supreme Court. Why? There is no good reason–other than to point to more political gamesmanship. He often relishes in the idea of wasting lawmakers’ time–but what he’s forgetting by this latest round of threats–is that he is also wasting taxpayer dollars. He has become the monkey wrench in government that he purports to despise.
The governor took an oath of office to uphold state law and the Constitution. Even as governor, he can’t pick and choose which laws to follow and which ones he can ignore. In this country, and in this state, no one is above the law.
Governor LePage has overstepped and overreached; abusing the power that comes with the office of governor–again. Even his long-time political allies are unable to defend him. From Republican political pundits to lawmakers, one after another is stepping forward and condemning his actions. One Republican lawmaker publicly said that this was the straw that broke the camel’s back–adding, lawmakers must express “no confidence” in Governor LePage.
What’s next? Well, hopefully nothing.
Most of us want to return to the legislative session next week and do our job. We want to continue finding pathways of success–continue passing bills that will make our communities stronger, our citizens more successful, and our state more competitive.
We’re not in Wonderland–we’re in Maine. So the Governor can either get out of the way of the Legislature or join the team of Democratic and Republican lawmakers who are getting things done.
Thank you for listening. This is Assistant Senate Democratic Leader Dawn Hill of York. Have a very good weekend.
(12 pm: BILLS UPDATED BELOW WITH VOTE TOTALS) Also marking down if veto sustained. Quite possibly one of the easiest and most comprehensive graphics for tracking the vetoes is on the Bangor Daily News site; their “State and Capitol” live updates are worth reading as well.
(4:45 pm: UPDATE x2) Senate at ease until 6:30; House until 7pm.
(6am 5/2: UPDATEx3) 14 of 48 vetoes overridden; Appropriations Committee worked until midnight on the 2 bills that Governor LePage sent them earlier on Thursday (reintroduction of LD 1811 and a new nursing homes funding bill. After coming to agreements on both, they learned that the governor intended to veto them due to the amendments. So AFA voted them out to the Legislature “ONTP” (Ought Not To Pass). Some time afterwards, the 126th Legislature voted the bills dead and declared the 126th session sine die.
Busy day ahead for the 126th Legislature: 48 vetoes to be dealt with (14 in Senate and 34 in House to start), reintroduction of LD 1811 and a brand new bill that doesn’t even have a designation in the calendars- let alone committee assignment, public hearing or work session. No word yet if the session will be extended past today. Links to watch or listen in are below.
1. Yea 31 Nay 4, HOUSE: Yea 118 Nay 28 (OVERRIDDEN)
LD 1827, “An Act To Authorize a General Fund Bond Issue To Support Maine Small Business and Job Creation”
2. Yea 30 Nay 5, HOUSE: Yea 96 Nay 50 (SUSTAINED)
LD 1431, “An Act To Support School Nutrition and Expand the Local Foods Economy”
3. Yea 27 Nay 8, HOUSE: Yea 126 Nay 21 (OVERRIDDEN)
LD 1824, “An Act To Provide Additional Authority to the State Board of Corrections”
4. Yea 30 Nay 5, HOUSE: Yea 115 Nay 32 (OVERRIDDEN)
LD 347, “An Act To Amend Insurance Coverage for Diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorders”
5. Yea 21 Nay 14 (SUSTAINED)
LD 1833, “An Act To Improve Workers’ Compensation Protection for Injured Workers Whose Employers Have Wrongfully Not Secured Workers’ Compensation Insurance”
6. Yea 30 Nay 5, HOUSE: Yea 111 Nay 35 (OVERRIDDEN)
LD 440, “An Act To Support Community Health Centers through Tax Credits for Dentists and Primary Care Professionals Practicing in Underserved Areas”
7. Yea 20 Nay 15 (SUSTAINED)
LD 1468, “Resolve, Directing the Public Utilities Commission To Study the Potential Benefits and Barriers Involved in Making Renewable Thermal Technologies Eligible for Qualification in Maine’s Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard”
8. Yea 9 Nay 26 (SUSTAINED)
LD 1310, “An Act To Improve Access to Dental Care through the Establishment of the Maine Board of Oral Health”
9. Yea 21 Nay 14 (SUSTAINED)
LD 1640, “An Act To Enhance the Stability and Predictability of Health Care Costs for Returning Veterans and Others by Addressing the Issues Associated with Hospital Charity Care and Bad Debt”
10. Yea 19 Nay 16 (SUSTAINED)
LD 1641, “An Act To Amend the Workers’ Compensation Laws as They Pertain to Employee Representation”
11. Yea 22 Nay 13 (SUSTAINED)
LD 1837, “An Act To Provide Former Employees of the Maine Military Authority the Ability To Sue for Severance Pay”
12. Yea 20 Nay 15 (SUSTAINED)
LD 1750, “An Act To Amend the Maine Administrative Procedure Act and Clarify Wind Energy Laws”
13. Yea 21 Nay 14 (SUSTAINED)
LD 1765, “An Act To Establish the Criminal Law Revision Commission”
14. Yea 20 Nay 15 (SUSTAINED)
LD 1851, “An Act To Delay Implementation of the Maine Metallic Mineral Mining Act and Related Statutory Provisions”
1. Yea 134 Nay 12; SENATE Yea 35 Nay 0 – VETO OVERRIDDEN.
LD 1858, “An Act to Achieve the Savings Required under Part F of the Biennial Budget and To Change Certain Provisions of the Law for Fiscal Years Ending June 30, 2014 and June 30, 2015″
2. Yea 131 Nay 15, SENATE: Yea 21 Nay 14 (SUSTAINED)
LD 297, “An Act To Require Forest Rangers To Be Trained in Order To Allow Them To Carry Firearms”
3. Yea 114 Nay 32, SENATE: Yea 31 Nay 4 (OVERRIDDEN)
LD 1043, “An Act To Authorize a General Fund Bond Issue and To Assist in the Creation of Jobs through Regional Economic Development”
4. Yea 123 Nay 23, SENATE: Yea 28 Nay 7 (OVERRIDDEN)
LD 1747, “Resolve, Regarding Legislative Review of Chapter 180: Performance Evaluation and Professional Growth Systems, a Major Substantive Rule of the Department of Education”
5. Yea 138 Nay 8, SENATE: Yea 20 Nay 15 (SUSTAINED)
LD 933, “An Act To Establish a Separate Regulatory Board for Dental Hygienists”
6. Yea 105 Nay 41, SENATE: Yea 20 Nay 14 Abs 1 (SUSTAINED)
LD 1719, “An Act To Improve Education about and Awareness of Maine’s Health Laws and Resources”
7. Yea 137 Nay 9, SENATE: Yea 35 Nay 0 (OVERRIDDEN)
LD 1729, “An Act To Increase the Period of Time for the Calculation of a Prior Conviction for Operating Under the Influence”
8. Yea 98 Nay 48, SENATE: Yea 33 Nay 2 (OVERRIDDEN)
LD 1600, “An Act to Require Health Insurers to Provide Coverage for Human Leukocyte Antigen Testing to Establish Bone Marrow Donor Transplantation Suitability”
9. Yea 94 Nay 52 (SUSTAINED)
LD 1367, “An Act To Require Health Insurance Carriers and the MaineCare Program To Cover the Cost of Transition Services To Bridge the Gap between High School and Independence”
10. Yea 82 Nay 64 (SUSTAINED)
LD 38, “Resolve, Regarding Legislative Review of Chapter 201: Provider of Last Resort Service Quality, a Major Substantive Rule of the Public Utilities Commission”
11. Yea 83 Nay 62 (SUSTAINED)
LD 1761, “An Act To Ensure That Large Public Utility Reorganizations Advance the Economic Development and Information Access Goals of the State”
12. Yea 113 Nay 33, SENATE: Yea 29 Nay 6 (OVERRIDDEN)
LD 1806, “An Act To Implement the Recommendations Contained in the State Government Evaluation Act Review of the Maine Public Employees Retirement System”
13. Yea 96 Nay 50 (SUSTAINED)
LD 1816, “An Act To Address Recommendations from the Report by the Office of Program Evaluation and Government Accountability Regarding the Public Utilities Commission”
14. Yea 93 Nay 53 (SUSTAINED)
LD 1809, “An Act Concerning Meetings of Boards of Trustees and Governing Bodies of Quasi-municipal Corporations and Districts That Provide Water, Sewer and Sanitary Services”
15. Yea 137 Nay 8, SENATE: Yea 21 Nay 14 (SUSTAINED)
LD 1821, “An Act To Implement Recommendations of the Right To Know Advisory Committee”
16. Yea 134 Nay 12, SENATE: Yea 33 Nay 2 (OVERRIDDEN)
LD 1479, “An Act to Clarify Telecommunications Regulation Reform”
17. Yea 124 Nay 22; SENATE: Yea 35 Nay 0 (OVERRIDDEN)
LD 906, “An Act to Permit a School Administrative Unit Discretion Concerning Participation of Students from Charter Schools in School Extracurricular and Interscholastic Activities”
18. Yea 88 Nay 58 (SUSTAINED)
LD 1120, “An Act To Improve Maine’s Tax Laws”
19. Yea 96 Nay 51 (SUSTAINED)
LD 1185, “An Act to Enhance Efforts to Use Locally Produced Food in Schools”
20. Yea 133 Nay 14, SENATE: Yea 29 Nay 6 (OVERRIDDEN)
LD 1194, “An Act to Protect Social Media Privacy in School and in the Workplace”
21. Yea 92 Nay 53 (SUSTAINED)
LD 1247, “An Act To Expand Coverage of Family Planning Services”
22. Yea 91 Nay 54 (SUSTAINED)
LD 1345, “A Resolve to Study the Design and Implementation of Options for a Universal Health Care Plan”
23. Yea 104 Nay 42, SENATE: Yea 25 Nay 10 (OVERRIDDEN)
LD 1463, “A Resolve to Develop a Process for Tax Expenditure Review”
24. Yea 93 Nay 54 (SUSTAINED)
LD 1593, “A Resolve to Eliminate Financial Inequality in MaineCare Reimbursement for Community-based Behavioral Health Services”
25. Yea 110 Nay 37, SENATE: Yea 20 Nay 15 (SUSTAINED)
LD 1757, “A Resolve to Establish the Blue Ribbon Commission on Independent Living and Disability”
26. Yea 94 Nay 53 (SUSTAINED)
LD 1772, “Resolve, Regarding Legislative Review of Chapter 200: Metallic Mineral Exploration, Advanced Exploration and Mining, a Late-filed Major Substantive Rule of the Department of Environmental Protection”
27. Yea 83 Nay 63 (SUSTAINED)
LD 1794, “An Act To Cancel the No-bid Alexander Group Contract To Produce Savings in Fiscal Year 2013-14″
28. Yea 94 Nay 53 (SUSTAINED)
LD 1829, “An Act To Require the Department of Health and Human Services To Report Annually on Investigations and Prosecutions of False Claims Made under the MaineCare, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and Food Supplement Programs”
29. Yea 87 Nay 59 (SUSTAINED)
LD 1820, “An Act To Reduce Abuse of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Program through Restriction of Electronic Benefits Transfers”
30. Yea 87 Nay 58 (SUSTAINED)
LD 222, “An Act Designating the Chief of the State Police as the Only Issuing Authority of a Permit To Carry a Concealed Handgun”
31. Yea 128 Nay 16, SENATE: Yea 22 Nay 13 (SUSTAINED)
LD 1154, “An Act To Establish the Maine Length of Service Award Program”
32. Yea 94 Nay 53 (SUSTAINED)
LD 1578, “An Act To Increase Health Security by Expanding Federally Funded Health Care for Maine People”
33. Yea 139 Nay 7, SENATE: Yea 24 Nay 11 (OVERRIDDEN)
LD 1850, “Resolve, To Establish the Commission To Strengthen the Adequacy and Equity of Certain Cost Components of the School Funding Formula”
34. Yea 125 Nay 21, SENATE: Yea 21 Nay 14 (SUSTAINED)
LD 1744, “An Act To Protect Maine Lakes”
1. LD 1811, “An Act To Appropriate and Allocate Funds To Strengthen the State’s Efforts To Investigate, Prosecute and Punish Persons Committing Drug Crimes”
2. Press release (4/30/14) from Governor LePage’s office: Maine Nursing Homes Facing Closure, Elderly At Risk
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UPDATE x2: 15 vetoes on Friday became 30 on Monday, then became 46 on Tuesday as Paul LePage’s veto spree continues with no end in sight.
Wednesday: Now at 48 with LDs 1043 and 1744 added so far.
Governor Paul LePage held true to his vow during last weekend’s GOP Convention in Bangor regarding vetoes and added 15 new ones to the existing stack of 15 previous ones for the 126th Legislature to wade through when they reconvene on Thursday. Here is the list so far; no doubt that this list will be updated as more are thrown back to legislators.
So far, LePage has vetoed 163 bills. The previous high water mark was Jim Longley’s 118.
1. LD 38, “Resolve, Regarding Legislative Review of Chapter 201: Provider of Last Resort Service Quality, a Major Substantive Rule of the Public Utilities Commission”
2. LD 1431, “An Act To Support School Nutrition and Expand the Local Foods Economy”
3. LD 1719, “An Act To Improve Education about and Awareness of Maine’s Health Laws and Resources”
4. LD 1747, “Resolve, Regarding Legislative Review of Chapter 180: Performance Evaluation and Professional Growth Systems, a Major Substantive Rule of the Department of Education”
5. LD 1761, “An Act To Ensure That Large Public Utility Reorganizations Advance the Economic Development and Information Access Goals of the State”
6. LD 1806, “An Act To Implement the Recommendations Contained in the State Government Evaluation Act Review of the Maine Public Employees Retirement System”
7. LD 1816, “An Act To Address Recommendations from the Report by the Office of Program Evaluation and Government Accountability Regarding the Public Utilities Commission”
8. LD 1820, “An Act To Reduce Abuse of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Program through Restriction of Electronic Benefits Transfers”
9. LD 1851, “An Act To Delay Implementation of the Maine Metallic Mineral Mining Act and Related Statutory Provisions”
10. LD 1829, “An Act To Require the Department of Health and Human Services To Report Annually on Investigations and Prosecutions of False Claims Made under the MaineCare, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and Food Supplement Programs”
11. LD 1821, “An Act To Implement Recommendations of the Right To Know Advisory Committee”
12. LD 1809, “An Act Concerning Meetings of Boards of Trustees and Governing Bodies of Quasi-municipal Corporations and Districts That Provide Water, Sewer and Sanitary Services”
13. LD 1479, “An Act to Clarify Telecommunications Regulation Reform”
14. LD 1858, “An Act to Achieve the Savings Required under Part F of the Biennial Budget and To Change Certain Provisions of the Law for Fiscal Years Ending June 30, 2014 and June 30, 2015”
15. LD 1468, “Resolve, Directing the Public Utilities Commission To Study the Potential Benefits and Barriers Involved in Making Renewable Thermal Technologies Eligible for Qualification in Maine’s Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard”
16. LD 1120, “An Act To Improve Maine’s Tax Laws”
17. LD 1247, “An Act To Expand Coverage of Family Planning Services”
18. LD 1772, “Resolve, Regarding Legislative Review of Chapter 200: Metallic Mineral Exploration, Advanced Exploration and Mining, a Late-filed Major Substantive Rule of the Department of Environmental Protection”
19. LD 1794, “An Act To Cancel the No-bid Alexander Group Contract To Produce Savings in Fiscal Year 2013-14”
20. LD 1641, “An Act To Amend the Workers’ Compensation Laws as They Pertain to Employee Representation”
21. LD 1729, “An Act To Increase the Period of Time for the Calculation of a Prior Conviction for Operating Under the Influence”
22. LD 347, “An Act To Amend Insurance Coverage for Diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorders”
23. LD 906, “An Act to Permit a School Administrative Unit Discretion Concerning Participation of Students from Charter Schools in School Extracurricular and Interscholastic Activities”
24. LD 1600, “An Act to Require Health Insurers to Provide Coverage for Human Leukocyte Antigen Testing to Establish Bone Marrow Donor Transplantation Suitability”
25. LD 1463, “A Resolve to Develop a Process for Tax Expenditure Review”
26. LD 1194, “An Act to Protect Social Media Privacy in School and in the Workplace”
27. LD 1593, “A Resolve to Eliminate Financial Inequality in MaineCare Reimbursement for Community-based Behavioral Health Services”
30. LD 1757, “A Resolve to Establish the Blue Ribbon Commission on Independent Living and Disability”
31. LD 1578, “An Act To Increase Health Security by Expanding Federally Funded Health Care for Maine People”
32. LD 222, “An Act Designating the Chief of the State Police as the Only Issuing Authority of a Permit To Carry a Concealed Handgun”
33. LD 1750, “An Act To Amend the Maine Administrative Procedure Act and Clarify Wind Energy Laws”
34. LD 1640, “An Act To Enhance the Stability and Predictability of Health Care Costs for Returning Veterans and Others by Addressing the Issues Associated with Hospital Charity Care and Bad Debt”
35. LD 1827, “An Act To Authorize a General Fund Bond Issue To Support Maine Small Business and Job Creation”
36. LD 1837, “An Act To Provide Former Employees of the Maine Military Authority the Ability To Sue for Severance Pay”
37. LD 444, “An Act To Improve Workers’ Compensation Coverage for All Injured Workers”
38. LD 1367, “An Act To Require Health Insurance Carriers and the MaineCare Program To Cover the Cost of Transition Services To Bridge the Gap between High School and Independence”
39. LD 297, “An Act To Require Forest Rangers To Be Trained in Order To Allow Them To Carry Firearms”
40. LD 1824, “An Act To Provide Additional Authority to the State Board of Corrections”
41. LD 440, “An Act To Support Community Health Centers through Tax Credits for Dentists and Primary Care Professionals Practicing in Underserved Areas”
44. LD 1310, “An Act To Improve Access to Dental Care through the Establishment of the Maine Board of Oral Health”
45. LD 1850, “Resolve, To Establish the Commission To Strengthen the Adequacy and Equity of Certain Cost Components of the School Funding Formula”
46. LD 1765, “An Act To Establish the Criminal Law Revision Commission”
47. LD 1043, “An Act To Authorize a General Fund Bond Issue and To Assist in the Creation of Jobs through Regional Economic Development”
48. LD 1744, “An Act To Protect Maine Lakes”Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
Late Friday news dump/ breaking news from Augusta, as Governor LePage vetoed LD 1858,“An Act To Achieve the Savings Required under Part F of the Biennial Budget and To Change Certain Provisions of the Law for Fiscal Years Ending June 30, 2014 and June 30, 2015” moments ago.
The chairs of the Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee, Senator Dawn Hill (D-York) and Rep. Peggy Rotundo (D-Lewiston) were quick to denounce the Governor’s decision in an issued joint statement:
- “For the past two years, Governor LePage has made himself irrelevant to the budget process and this veto letter only proves it. He demonstrates a lack of understanding for what this budget does and how government works. In fact, the very thing he calls a “gimmick” is actually a smart solution and it was proposed by members of his own party,” said Senator Dawn Hill of York, the Senate Chair of the Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee. “I am confident this veto will be overridden. Nearly every lawmaker supported this budget and they will stand by their vote and stand up to another one of Governor LePage’s tantrums. It’s time for the people of Maine to have a real leader to work with.”
- Close a $17 million shortfall in the MaineCare program for fiscal year 2015
- Provide $5 million to reduce and eliminate the Department of Health and Human Services’ wait lists for people with disabilities to get home care services
- Increase reimbursement rates for nursing homes by $5 million and provides $2 million for the state’s court ordered mental health consent decree
- Increase funds for safety and security at Riverview Psychiatric Center and Dorothea Dix Psychiatric Center
- Invest in key education and workforce training programs, including $650,000 for the Bridge Year program, $300,000 in funding for Jobs for Maine’s Graduates, and $750,000 for Head Start.
The measure was passed unanimously in the Senate with a vote of 35 to 0 and by a vote of 133 to 8 in the House.
“Democrats and Republicans worked collaboratively to craft a responsible and life-changing budget for our most vulnerable people with disabilities and for our seniors,” said Rep. Peggy Rotundo of Lewiston the House Chair of the Appropriations Committee. “It’s no surprise to see the Governor veto the bipartisan measure. He has refused to participate in solving the state’s budget problems from day one. If he had items he wanted funded or didn’t like our approach, he should have worked with lawmakers.”
Governor Paul LePage refused to propose a budget despite shortfalls at his Departments, refused to allow his commissioners to provide information to the budget committee in public, and provided inaccurate information on the budget shortfall in the Department of Health and Human Services. LePage also never provided a funding source for his drug enforcement plan, which he claims was a top priority.
The $32 million budget would:
Veto letter here:
The bill will now be added with a ever-growing list of others and dealt with by the Legislature on May 1, aka “Veto Day”.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 1 so far )
UPDATE: Apparently LePage decided to veto more bills today since this was originally posted, increasing the current number to 125 vetoes.
Among this afternoon’s additions was LD 1552, Resolve, To Provide for an Analysis of MaineCare Rates for Facility-based Preschool Services for Children with Disabilities and a Report on the Analysis, addressing longstanding problems with the reimbursement system for providers. The bill calls for the Department of Health and Human Services to analyze the rates, the costs and the needs of the children and look for cost-saving initiatives.HHS Committee Chair Rep. Richard Farnsworth, who sponsored the bill and also sits on the Autism Society of Maine board, issued the following statement:
“The governor likes to talk about the state’s most vulnerable citizens. These children are our most vulnerable Mainers. Specialized preschool services for children with developmental disabilities like autism are among the best ways to prepare them for success in their later school years.
Despite what the governor says, the department has not initiated the important steps of modernizing this outdated reimbursement system. The department has proven that it needs direction from the Legislature to accomplish this task, improve services for these children and make wise use of taxpayer dollars.”
It needs to be noted that April is Autism Awareness Month and today is World Autism Awareness Day. Despite the fact that Maine has one of the highest incidence rates in the nation, neither LePage nor his administration has ever made mention or notice of this since he was first sworn into office in 2011.
Continuing on his message of “My Way Or The Highway”, Maine Governor Paul LePage this week set a rather dubious benchmark for future governors by vetoing now 122 pieces of legislation. No doubt that the current number of vetoes will increase before the end of the current legislative session. The previous veto record was 118, set by independent Gov. James Longley (1975-1979).
Earlier today, 3 of his vetoes were overridden in the House and now go to the Senate.
Here is a list of Governor Paul LePage’s record setting vetoes with issued statements.
- LD 6 Veto Message
- LD 49 Veto Message
- LD 146 Veto Message
- LD 272 Veto Message
- LD 319 Veto Message
- LD 387 Veto Message
- LD 405 Veto Message
- LD 468 Veto Message
- LD 491 Veto Message
- LD 521 Veto Message
- LD 555 Veto Message
- LD 610 Veto Message
- LD 1025 Veto Message
- LD 1044 Veto Message
- LD 1066 Veto Message
- LD 1093 Veto Message
- LD 1201 Veto Message
- LD 1281 Veto Message
- LD 1366 Veto Message
- LD 1546 Veto Message
- LD 670 Veto Message
- LD 598 Veto Message
- LD 671 Veto Message
- LD 734 Veto Message
- LD 752 Veto Message
- LD 777 Veto Message
- LD 851 Veto Message
- LD 911 Veto Message
- LD 984 Veto Message
- LD 1023 Veto Message
- LD 1144 Veto Message
- LD 1271 Veto Message
- LD 1451 Veto Message
- LD 1559 Veto Message
- LD 1509 Veto Message
- LD 825 Veto Message
- LD 825 Veto Message
- LD 434 Veto Message
- LD 1128 Veto Message
- LD 1032 Veto Message
- LD 1342 Veto Message
- LD 1240 Veto Message
- LD 380 Veto Message
- LD 1349 Veto Message
- LD 1427 Veto Message
- LD 559 Veto Message
- LD 897 Veto Message
- LD 1231 Veto Message
- LD 1232 Veto Message
- LD 1362 Veto Message
- LD 1235 Veto Message
- LD 1046 Veto Message
- LD 161 Veto Message
- LD 1543 Veto Message
- LD 225 Veto Message
- LD 1390 Veto Message
- LD 745 Veto Message
- LD 1259 Veto Message
- LD 1069 Veto Message
- LD 611 Veto Message
- LD 1198 Veto Message
- LD 1057 Veto Message
- LD 1103 Veto Message
- LD 703 Veto Message
- LD 890 Veto Message
- LD 1181 Veto Message
- LD 443 Veto Message
- LD 1573 Veto Message
- LD 415 Veto Message
- LD 236 Veto Message
- LD 1486 Veto Message
- LD 1132 Veto Message
- LD 1263 Veto Message
- LD 1129 Veto Message
- LD 487 Veto Message
- LD 828 Veto Message
- LD 1533 Veto Message
- LD 1282 Veto Message
- LD 1383 Veto Message
- LD 386 Veto Message
- LD 1353 Veto Message
- LD 1254 Veto Message
- LD 1572 Veto Message
- LD 963 Veto Message
- LD 1685 Veto Message
- LD 1365 Veto Message
- LD 1597 Veto Message
- LD 1717 Veto Message
- LD 1798 Veto Message
- LD 1642 Veto Message
- LD 1552 Veto Message
(OVERRIDDEN) House: 136-6; Senate 33-1.
(OVERRIDDEN) House: 129-12; Senate 29-5.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
Last week, both chambers of the Maine Legislature took up and voted to override Governor LePage’s veto of LD 1353, “An Act To Further Reduce Student Hunger”. The Senate first took up the veto, sponsored by Senate President Justin Alfond.
Here is the floor speech he delivered to his colleagues, urging they join him in voting against the Governor:
When I was 9 years old and living in Dexter, Tom was my classmate. We were friends and he liked to play sports. Back then, and through my 9-year old eyes, I remember he was “that kid” who got called down to the principal’s office. He was “that kid” who stayed in during recess. He was also “that kid” who missed a lot of school. What I realized later, with my adult eyes, is that Tom was “that kid” whose family–although they worked hard–didn’t have enough money to make sure Tom got enough food. He was hungry. I am sure that we all knew or know a Tom? Maybe there are a few of us in this room that was Tom?
- Today, there are 84,000 students who qualify for free or reduced lunch.
- Today, twenty percent of Maine kids are food insecure–that’s nearly one in five.
- Today, the state of Maine ranks third–only two other states in America have more children in hunger.
That’s a list that we shouldn’t be on. In fact, that’s a ranking we should be ashamed of.
Sometimes, the best solutions are the simplest. This bill is one small step–one common sense step toward making sure a hungry kid in Maine has the opportunity to get one meal a day during the summer-vacation months.
Feeding hungry students is nothing new. We already have a program in place for making sure hungry students get fed during the school year. It’s a federal program, that Maine schools take part in. It’s called the National School Lunch Program.
And feeding students during the summer is nothing new. In fact, the first summer food program began in 1968.
Government–and our society–has long seen the need, and accepted the responsibility, to help provide nutrition to our neediest children.
Today, if you all join me in supporting this bill (again), we can make a difference to 84,000 Maine kids who currently qualify for free or reduced lunch. Today, all we are asking–and expecting–is for the adults to have a conversation about the hungry children at their school, in their community. Today, we are asking schools who already offer summer programming like a rec program, to consider whether a summer food program is right for them.
The food costs are paid for. The federal Summer Food Program picks up the food costs.
The bill even allows schools to partner with churches or nonprofits or other community and civic organizations. In my home town of Portland, there’s a summer food program in the park—at Deering Oaks. The goal is to go to where the kids are and make it as easy as possible.
But even still, if a school doesn’t want to participate, they can opt out. Ultimately, it’s a local decision.
Some may ask, “Why is this necessary if schools already can ‘opt-in’ to a summer food program?”. The answer is simple: because there are still 70,000 kids across our state, in each of our districts, who are not getting fed in the summer. They are hungry.
The question I ask each of you is, “Why wouldn’t we do this now?”
Again I will ask you: “Why wouldn’t we do this now when food insecurity for Mainers is increasing?”
This bill is more than just a bill, it’s a pledge, it’s a commitment by all of us that we need to change course; we need to build momentum to help our most precious assets, the children of our state.
Today, you have a second chance to help feed our state’s hungry children so that we can make sure all of our kids, even the hungry, have the basic building blocks to go toe to toe with their classmates or in fact with anyone, anywhere.
I hope you will join me.
As a past member of the education committee, I now know that hunger is one of the most severe roadblocks to learning. A child who doesn’t have enough to eat, won’t do as well in school. They’re more likely to get sick more often—and, less likely to finish high school. Tom was “that kid”.
That was more than 25 years ago.
Senator Colleen Lachowicz added: “At a time when more families are struggling to make ends meet and more children are hungry, it is irresponsible and unconscionable of us not to do everything we can to reduce student hunger.”
The Senate voted 25-10 in support of the override; it then next went to the House. Some quick notes taken during the resulting floor debate:
- Reps Ben Chipman, Tori Kornville rose in support; now Jeff McCabe. Peter Johnson (r-Greenville) spoke in opposition, saying that it should be left to local communities.
Now Corey Wilson, (R-Augusta). He tells the chamber again of how he was one of these children and urges support in overriding the veto.Bruce Macdonald, one of the committee chairs, spoke and now Karen Kusiak.
GOP Rep. McClellan of Raymond opposes on funding concerns later on. He also opposes it as a mandate. Unhappy that schools are giving medical care, etc and not simply teaching (paraphrase).
Jeff Timberlake (R-Turner) asks questions re: whether or not this is allowed in school; Seth Berry answering.
Anne Graham speaking in support, tells how health and nutrition work together.
Diane Russell (D-Portland) rises to ask “how did we get to a place where we are debating whether or not to reduce student hunger”?
Jennifer DeChant (D-Bath) discusses her work in 1992 with national campaign to end hunger.
Dennis Keschl (R-Belgrade) asks question re: better to educate schools on the program.
Gay Grant (D-Gardiner) gives personal story of how the reduced lunches helped.
Elizabeth Dickerson (D-Rockland) next, telling of her communities’ 40% lower income poverty that kids in her school live in, every day. That she has taught algebra and discovered that some kids have not eaten all day- she and other teachers routinely keep snacks in their desks for these students.
Jeff McCabe )D-Skowhegan) answers the earlier Keschl question; now Brian Jones… Strong statement regarding body’s charge if taking care of common welfare of Maine citizens.
Matthea Daughtry (D-Brunswick) next, another committee member.
Scott Hamann (D- South Portland) talking about going to a school pantry in Biddeford yesterday and Hannaford’s helping.
Terry Hayes speaks of how she just came from an ethical meeting. “We continue to add to what schools need to do”… Will vote to override, but understands the GOP argument.
Paul McGowan of York also answers Keschl.
Now Ray Wallace (R-Dexter) asks what folks had for breakfast or lunch when they were kids- grew up in family of 8 kids and single mom, no help. Did not suffer and was able to learn. Let the parent raise the child. They get food stamps; are they spending it on food… Or something else? Let the parent feed them!! If they aren’t gonna feed them, cut the welfare!
Rep Soctomah next, was raised on state reservation. Speaks of her own background, very emotional issue for her.
Rep. Helen Rankin addresses House; urges support of override.
Bangor Daily News reported the following quotes from legislators:Rep. Victoria Kornfield (D-Bangor): “Vetoing this bill did not save the state funds. Instead, it left federal funding on the table. … Frankly, I am surprised that the chief executive vetoed this bill because the summer program is exactly the compassion he talked about in his State of the State speech.”
Rep. Peter Johnson (R-Greenville): “The fact that we have to pass a law to have adults have a conversation says something about this bill. I think we should have the confidence in our citizenship to allow them to do that without passing another mandate.”
Rep. Michael McClellan (R-Raymond): “If we don’t look at issues like this and come up with the root of the problem and why it’s happening, then it’s a Band-Aid and we’ll be here again in a year or two to deal with it again. I don’t think it’s just or fair to keep burdening our schools with these things.”
Rep. Corey Wilson (R-Augusta): “I grew up quite poor and relied on food from the food pantry. I also did receive free breakfasts and free lunches from the school and I’m thankful for that. I rise in support of overriding the veto. It’s just the right thing to do. We have an opportunity here to feed children and I feel that if we ever have that opportunity, we should go for it. … I want to see the children in my community have the ability to simply be fed.”
Rep. Karen Kusiak shared her floor speech:
Thank you Mr. Speaker, Women and Men of the House:
I rise to speak in support of the motion before us; we must override the unfortunate veto of LD 1353, and Act to Further Reduce Student Hunger.One of the school districts I represent, MSAD 49 – where I served on the school board – has cooperatively participated in the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) for a number of years. We serve children and youth who attend a community supported summer recreation program and children who attend a summer school program.
(It may be that other school districts in my legislative district have summer food service programs, I don’t know for sure.) But I do know that my county, Somerset, has over 55% of our students qualifying for the federal lunch program. Our county, like other poor counties in the state, have children who rely on the school lunch programs for their basic nutrition. Children and youth up through the age of 18 who live within the geographic boundary of a school district with such a high participation in the school lunch program can participate in the Summer Food Service Program.
The SFSP is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and run by the Maine Department of Education. The Maine DOE already encourages school districts to participate in the program. Look at their child nutrition programs page – there is plenty of information about getting a SFSP started and suggestions for making the reporting and paperwork relatively easy.
From the DOE Website: “The Summer Food Service Program provides meal reimbursement to eligible summer programs. Communities throughout Maine have opened the door to the SFSP and helped close the door on summer hunger. Sponsors include schools, community recreation programs, nonprofit organizations and camps. Maine has over 87 sponsors with an estimated 254 sites for children to have a summer meal at no cost. Almost 481,000 meals and snacks were served in 2012.”
Yet, even with the 87 sponsors and 254 sites, still the Maine Center for Economic Policy calculated in 2011 that Maine was using only about 10% of federal USDA funds that we are eligible to receive for Summer Food Service Programs (SFSP.) That means that children and youth in Maine who are eligible for the program are not able to participate, and are likely going hungry or not eating balanced meals.
More Maine children and youth can be served through SFSP. Holding more school districts responsible for SFSP is the right thing to do.
Opting out is permitted – a school board need only publicize that it will be conducting a public hearing on opting in or out of the program and vote on the question in a public meeting. A School Board may opt out, for example, after noting and telling the community that a local recreation program offers the SFSP for children and youth in their community. However, where no such program is provided, this bill will encourage local school districts to participate in the program or provide an opportunity for local residents to urge – through the public meeting – that schools participate in the program.
It is very simple. Overriding this bill is the right thing to do for hungry, developing (growing) children who need good nutrition, and it provides support for poor and working class families.
Here is the floor speech of Rep. Scott Hamann:
- Thank you Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, Men and Women of the House.
Yesterday I visited a food pantry at an elementary school in Biddeford. I saw wonderful families file through, gratefully gathering their groceries. Volunteers greeting them at the door, and offering their help. Hannaford was there. They had a nutrition specialist ready to answer questions and offer recipe suggestions specific to the types of food that was being distributed by the school pantry. Some girl scouts set up a table and were giving out free books.
This is where community happens. In our schools. Our community activities and activity centers. That’s why it’s the perfect place to implement and optimize an available federal resource – the Summer Food Service Program – to address child hunger…something that no reasonable person would consider anything other than a dire concern.Hunger…doesn’t happen just 9 months out of the year. The hunger pains don’t go away just because a child finishes second grade and begins their summer vacation. They have three months to wait to start third grade, get back to school, and get back to more predictable nutrition. That’s not right. That student doesn’t come back in September equally as prepared as a student who spent their summer knowing where their next meal was coming from. That’s not fair. And that is what the Summer Food Service Program is designed to address, and why this food is fully funded by the federal government.
We talk about opportunity, self reliance, education, an educated workforce. The building blocks of all those things is food security in childhood. If we want a world class labor force, we need to make sure that kids’ stomachs are full and their developing brains are getting the nutrients they need.
In that respect, the Chief Executive’s veto of LD1353 is shortsighted. Why would we ever want to handicap our next generation’s workforce? Why wouldn’t we do everything in our power to ensure that we are delivering Maine’s business community the best employees possible? A generation raised free from food insecurity. This bill is a step in that direction.
At a time when pantry lines… are almost longer than the list of excuses why we can’t rise to the challenge of addressing child hunger… hopefully this vote is unanimous to reflect how both parties unequivocally support the morally right and responsible effort to address child hunger. Hopefully both sides of the aisle can work together in the future as well to take further steps to address what ought to be one of the most bipartisan…nonpartisan issues in the state house – protecting a child’s next meal.
Ultimately the House also voted to override the veto by a 2 vote margin, 92-45. Only four GOP members joined Democrats in overriding the veto: Rep. Corey Wilson, Rep. Joyce Maker (R-Calais), Rep. Matthew Pouliot (R-Augusta) and Rep. Ellen Winchenbach (R-Waldoboro).Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
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.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
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