On the first day of the 2016 session, the Maine House Democratic caucus took time before the start of the day’s work to lay out their objectives for the remainder of the 127th session.
From a press release:
- Speaker of the House Mark Eves (D-North Berwick) opened the press conference by saying, “We’re focusing on priorities that matter for Maine families and our communities. Those priorities include getting good, high paying jobs for our towns, making sure seniors can stay in their homes, getting people who want it the life-saving treatment they need to enable recovery from drug addiction, and educating our children.”
House Majority Leader Jeff McCabe and Assistant Majority Leader Sara Gideon focused on job creation and the economy, particularly for rural Maine.McCabe, D-Skowhegan, noted that the release of voter-approved Land for Maine’s Future bonds, growth of the agricultural sector, and promotion of the outdoor recreation economy are all key.
“If we here in Augusta are going to accomplish things, we’ll need willing partners,” McCabe said. “We’ll need the other legislative caucuses and we’ll need Governor Paul LePage. We’ll need transparency and cooperation from the administration. We’ll need the governor to allow his commissioner and other state employees to work with the Legislature and we’ll need access to the information we need to do our jobs.”
Gideon, D-Freeport, focused on how investments in broadband and renewable energy can boost the economy.
“If we all agree that jobs are the top priority, then let’s talk about two ways that we can actually pump life into our economy,” said Gideon. “Maine can catch up and step into the 21st century if we start investing in functional and forward-thinking technology and infrastructure. This is true for broadband capability and it’s true for Maine grown-energy production.”
After the press conference, House Majority Leader Jeff McCabe took more questions from the media:
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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.”
Recorded 12/9/15 at Maine State House’s Welcome Center. The accompanying press release via Maine Senate and House Democrats reads:
Legislative Leaders Announce Bipartisan $4.8m Plan to Fight Drug Crisis in Maine
The plan provides equal funding for treatment as well as law enforcement
AUGUSTA | December 9, 2015 | Today, Speaker of the House Mark Eves and Senate President Mike Thibodeau joined other legislative leaders, including Senate Democratic Leader Justin Alfond of Portland, to present a $4.8 million dollar legislative package to fight the drug crisis in Maine.
The plan, a result of a bipartisan collaboration between legislative leaders, includes prevention, treatment and law enforcement efforts.
“This plan is a first step toward a healthier Maine,” said Speaker Eves. “For too long, families and communities have continued to fight addiction alone. After working hard to come together we’ve crafted a targeted, comprehensive plan that addresses the reality of drug addiction in Maine “
The plan invests $2.4 million in treatment efforts over 18 months, including $1 million in funding for a new 10-bed detox unit. The plan increases access to inpatient and outpatient treatment for the uninsured and doubles the number of peer to peer support recovery centers across the state.
In addition to treatment, the plan provides $2.4 million to strengthen law enforcement efforts, including funding 10 new MDEA agents and a statewide coordinator to connect law enforcement to treatment providers. The plan also includes funding to launch programs at five police departments around the state modeled after the successful Operation Hope in Scarborough or the Law Enforcement Addiction Advocacy Program in Portland.
Officer John Gill of the Scarborough Police Department, site of Operation Hope, also spoke at the press conference in support of the plan. Operation Hope (the Heroin- Opiate Prevention Effort) consists of specialized law enforcement training, public education and outreach, and treatment and assistance among other services. The program served over 50 people in its first 50 days.
“This plan will provide critical support to law enforcement on the front lines and enable us to better serve members of our communities who need help,“ said Officer Gill.
Portland parent Julie Lawson, who is currently in recovery, recounted her experience with addiction and treatment services. Julie attended Mercy Hospital’s treatment program prior to its closure.
“Because of treatment I’m going to be there to watch my son grow up. I’m living proof that treatment works and that it can save families like mine,” Lawson said.
“Drug addiction has created a public health and safety catastrophe that is complex and multifaceted,” said Sen. Alfond. “So our response must be equally robust. We have to use every tool at our disposal to fight this battle on multiple fronts. This package, along with our existing efforts, will help Mainers trying to kick addiction as well as law enforcement trying to clean up our streets.”
Speaker Eves closed out the press conference by saying:
“Maine can and must do better by our families and communities, “ said Speaker Eves. “We stand with law enforcement, treatment providers, and parents in saying enough is enough. Over the next legislative session, we will work to implement these and other efforts to help keep our families and communities healthy and safe.”
The plan announced today joins five bills approved by Legislative Council last month that are also focused on addressing the drug crisis.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
After months of examinations, interviews, subpoenas and more, the Maine Government Oversight Committee (GOC) yesterday got closer to ending their part of the ongoing LePage/ Good Will-Hinckley/ Speaker Eves saga by finally accepting the Office of Program Evaluation & Government Accountability (OPEGA) report (more to be written on this later).
More videos will be released later on, but it is well worth focusing on the statements of the committee co-chairs, GOP Senator Roger Katz of Augusta and Democratic Representative Chuck Kruger of Thomaston, as they detailed for fellow committee members why they were accepting the exhaustively and thoroughly prepared investigative analysis by OPEGA director Beth Ashcroft and her team.
Statements (as prepared and read to the Government Oversight Committee, 12/3/15)
Senator Roger Katz (R-Kennebec):(Outline)
Our job – to get facts out on table for all to see – for everyone to draw own conclusions.
Thank Beth and her staff for a fine job.
Committee’s job is done. Now up to others if anything happens from here.
Speak for myself on few points– I think my colleagues agree:
1. As we look at what happened it should make no difference at all whether each of us is a Republican or a Democrat. Unique nature of committee– Bipartisan – six and six.
2. Should make no difference in how review the facts whether this governor is a Republican or Democrat. Whether his name is Bakdacci or LePage or any other name.
3. We are talking about the facts of these events only involving Goodwill Hinckley. Others have suggested that we view these events in a larger context of an alleged PATTERN of conduct by the chief executive– – but this is clearly not our mandate….and we have not done so.
4. We should view these events in the context of “politics” a sometimes rough and tumble sport. We cannot be naïve about this.
5. Many people will ask “were any laws broken?” But that analysis is beyond the scope of our work. We haven’t looked at that question nor have we sought any legal opinions on that question. This is not the forum to answer the question.
So, what have we learned after a rather exhaustive process involving numerous interviews, review of many documents, and a full day of testimony taking under oath?
Here is what I think we have learned:
Goodwill Hinckley needed a new president.
Their Board undertook a recruitment and application process.
As a result of that process, the Board decided it was in the best interest of the school to hire a Mark Eves….and they voted unanimously to do so.
The Board offered the job to Mark Eves and he accepted.
The governor learned of the hiring and was upset by the hiring. The governor believed that goodwill Hinckley was making a mistake – the Governor believed that Mark Eves lacked the credentials to be an effective leader of school.
At that point, a number of the ministration officials, including, the acting Education Commissioner, a senior aide, and the Governor himself–all communicated to Goodwill Hinckley that if Mark Eves were hired, discretionary state funding of approximately $500,000 per year would be withdrawn….that money that the school was depending on would be pulled.
Learning of this, the Harold Alfond Foundation became concerned about its own investment. The President of the Foundation worried that if state funding was withdrawn, the school might not be able to expand its student population and meet other performance goals. Based on this, the Foundation decided to reevaluate its own multi-million dollar financial commitment to the school and communicated that to school officials.
Good Will-Hinckley now found itself in a terrible position. The school now faced the loss of state funding and possible loss of Alfond Foundation funding – both of which could cause the school to default on a bank loan and lead to potential foreclosure on some of its school real estate.
In the face of these facts, the board decided to fire Mark Eves.
Did members of the Administration actually threatened to draw the funds? On this question, we have the key testimony of four people:
- Jack Moore – Chair of the Board
Rich Abramson, acting President of Good Will-Hinckley
Sara Vanderwood – lobbyist for Good Will-Hinckley, and
Greg Powell – President of the Alfond Foundation
All four are skilled in the use of the English language. All four of them of them could not have been more clear in their testimony to our committee. All four of them reached exactly the same conclusion – that members of the Administration conveyed to them that if Mark Eves were hired that state funding would likely be pulled at the direction of the Governor.. I reach this conclusion myself beyond a reasonable doubt. It quacks like a duck, it walks like a duck – I think it’s a duck.
On top of that, the most compelling evidence from comes from the Governor himself who stated in no uncertain terms on camera that he threatened the funding withdrawal.
There are those who will say “you are right – that is exactly what happened but that the governor was completely justified in what he did. That it is perfectly appropriate to step in because of his belief that Mark Eves was unqualified for the job.
I don’t agree myself, for a couple of reasons:
First of all, Good Will-Hinckley is a private non-profit institution. It may receive some government funding, but it is still a private organization. As such, I believe they have a right to make their own hiring decisions without fear of interference by anyone on the outside – especially something from the government. There are literally hundreds of similar private entities that receive state funding of one kind or another. I worry about the precedent this case sets if this kind of executive action becomes the new normal. Are we entering an era when private institutions will feel a need to give politicians a veto power over their internal hiring decisions? I certainly hope that is not the road we are going down. This is hardly speculative thinking. I have already heard in the last few months about one private organization that had exactly this concern as it went through a hiring process of its own.
The second concern I have is with respect to my colleagues in the legislature – present and a future….and the First Amendment. We are a Citizen Legislature—most of us have other jobs. I hope we will not get to the point where legislators start weighing their votes–worrying that if they push the wrong button their own present or future employment might be in jeopardy. We can’t do our job if every vote, every floor speech, is viewed through the lens of “what if”.
Again, this is one person’s view—one of twelve. As I said earlier, I am proud of the work of OPEGA and I am proud of the work of this committee and respect the views of each and every one of my colleagues, all of who are also struggling to do the right thing.
Representative Chuck Kruger (D-Thomaston):
The role of this committee is to shine a light.
The actions of Governor LePage as they relate to Good Will-Hinckley and Speaker Eves raised serious questions about our government and political system. We had before us questions about the abuse of public office and taxpayer dollars and allegations that threats were made – and carried out – against an organization for at-risk youth to exact retribution against a political rival.
These are questions that could shake the faith of Maine people in their government. We owe it to them to get to the bottom of this matter.
If an elected official is able to use the power of his office to punish a lawmaker for his voting record, who among us is safe?
Are any of us as lawmakers?
What about everyday Mainers or independent organizations?
They need to be able to go about their business without worrying about crossing the wrong person in power. As elected officials, our consciences and constituents– not the fear of intimidation and retribution – must guide our actions.
These serious concerns moved some of our legislative colleagues – Republican, Democratic and independent – to request an investigation.
We, as a committee, unanimously determined that OPEGA should investigate. That strong bipartisan vote showed how seriously we take our duties. We remained just as committed to them when others tried to undermine this effort and even attacked our work and our mission.
OPEGA produced an excellent, impartial report that spelled out what happened.
We now know with complete certainty that the governor used state dollars to threaten Good Will-Hinckley because it hired Speaker Eves and that funds were withheld and restored only after Speaker Eves was fired from his new post.
Now, with our fact-finding mission drawing to a close, it’s up to others outside this committee room to decide what comes next.
I believe that this investigation and this report can be valuable tools, and I urge the Legislature to take action so nothing of this sort ever happens again. This is what’s needed to ensure the people of Maine can have confidence in our system of government.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
Testimony given under oath to the GOC over the course over almost eight hours relating to the ongoing investigations into allegations of the governor’s actions against Good Will-Hinckley school in their hiring of Speaker of the House Mark Eves. Recorded 11/12/15. In order:
Committee next meets on December 3.
Via a second camera, the testimonies of the three LePage staffers and administration officials subpoenaed to testify are available separately.
Link here to the published OPEGA report on LePage/ Eves/ Good Will-Hinckley: Information Brief on State Funding for Good Will-HinckleyRead Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
Jack Moore, Chair of Good Will-Hinckley Executive Board
GOC Chairs Senator Roger Katz, Representative Chuck Kruger meet with press
Senator Katz speaks with WMTW at end of hearing
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(To be updated as necessary; additions down below original post. ~AP)
During his July 30th radio visit with WGAN’s Ken and Mike Show (podcast link here), Maine Governor Paul LePage made the following statement:
- “If the people of Maine want me, I’ll do the job. If they don’t want me, just ask me to leave. You don’t have to impeach me… So far, I’ve only got four people write me that wanted me to resign.”
Since then, a poll conducted informally on one of the Bangor Daily News blogs has recorded that of almost 5400 Mainers responding, 89% want to see the governor resign.
Last night, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow ended her show with this:
Although LePage during the radio show stated that he had only had four requests for his resignation, a quick scan online finds many more than that are reported to have been sent to his office.
Here are a few of the confirmed letters and emails to Maine’s chief executive.
1. Hilda Jones, Scarborough:
- Dear Governor LePage: When you first ran for Governor of Maine, I have no doubt you intended to do your best for our state. Today, doing your best means turning the reins over to someone better suited to the job. I hope you’ll consider this an earnest request for you to do the right thing and resign.
Ms. Jones also wrote to Micki Mullen, Governor LePage’s scheduler:
- “Dear Ms. Mullen: I would appreciate it if you would ensure the Governor sees my urgent request.
I am asking him, in the name of common decency and for the benefit of all his constituents, to tender his resignation according to the established procedure, without unduly disturbing the regular and ongoing business of state government but as expeditiously as possible, hopefully within the week. Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.”
Patricia Condon, LePage’s Director of Constituent Services, responded with the following (including smiley emoticon):
- Good afternoon!
Thank you for your e-mail to the Governor.
Our office appreciates hearing from you and will take your suggestion (s) under advisement.
Thank you again for taking the time to write. Have a nice Day.
2. Trudy Ferland, Pittsfield sent her request directly to Governor LePage and got this reply email:
- From: Governor
Subject: Thank you for contacting Governor LePage
Date: August 20, 2015 at 4:21:17 PM EDT
Thank you for taking the time to contact me. This message is to confirm that my office has received your email and will be taking appropriate steps for follow-up.
Comments and Requests for Assistance
Your ideas and suggestions are important to me. Depending on the nature of your issue, your message may be assigned to one of my designees for direct follow-up with you. My staff and I are committed to providing you with a timely response to your issues and concerns.
If your email is regarding a scheduling request, please make sure your message includes information about the time and location of the event and a brief summary of the agenda. Please resend your email with that information, if necessary.
For news and information on issues and upcoming events, please visit my web site at: http://www.maine.gov/governor
Again, thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts.
3. Eleanor Cade Busby, Damariscotta:
- Dear Governor LePage,
You said you would resign if enough people asked you to do so. Please keep your word.
You have hurt people who needed help and never listened to anyone who tried to explain how what you were doing was harmful.
You have disregarded and disparaged anyone who did not bow to your commands.
You have treated the people of Maine with utter disrespect.
You have behaved like a school yard bully with other elected officials and used name-calling as a tool to puff up your ego while never giving clear answers when questioned about your actions.
It’s time to get Maine back to the place people love and stop driving away anyone who is not up to your estimable standards.
No one elected you to become a petty dictator. You were elected to govern Maine according to the Constitution and the law, not according to your very flawed ideals.
It’s time for us to go back to work making Maine a great state and erase the embarrassing stains you have put on our reputation.
Eleanor C Busby
- Dear Gov. LePage:
It pains me to write this, even though I’ve never been a supporter of yours. I dislike partisanship enough that I’ve never registered to a political party since I started voting as a teen, but I dislike the disarray you’ve brought to Augusta enough to write this brief note.
Please step down as governor. You’ve embarrassed yourself and our fine state enough.
You began with the best of intentions. I know that. You seem like an honest man, and I trust my instinct in this regard, but good intentions cannot be confused with leadership, and you seem to have been confusing them for 5 years now. Now, with dwindling support among members of your own party, you cannot possibly be expected to lead or to accomplish the lofty goals you set for yourself upon taking the oath of office. Please step down. I have no doubt that Mike Thibodeau would do a fine job picking up the disarray. I implore you, for the good of the state we both love. It’s time for Augusta to get back to work, and that just can’t happen with you at the helm.
I wish you all the best in the future.
5. Bruce Forbes, Augusta:
- Dear Paul LePage:
It is time for you to go. You are not qualified in intellect or temperament to be our Governor.
I hope you leave soon.
6. Lenore Mullen, Augusta:
I’m hoping you meant what you said regarding your resignation as Governor of Maine. You and your tea party friends have taken Maine to a new low. Your policy actions and bullying have become a joke with the National media, and a huge frustration for Maine taxpayers. I could go on for hours regarding the problems you have created for Maine citizens and taxpayers, but I’m sure you have heard it already.
My hunch is this resignation statement you made is rooted in the legal advice your attorneys are providing. I believe articles of impeachment will be charged against you. I am not an attorney, or a member of the Maine Legislature, so I don’t honestly know if the votes are there to impeach you. However, I have observed that with each passing day more R’s in the Legislature are distancing themselves from the messes you have created.
So, as a Maine taxpayer, I will sit back, make some popcorn and watch all this play out.
Paul, do the decent thing that Maine taxpayers deserve and resign.
7. Mal Gormley of Damariscotta received the same form letter and smiley from Ms. Condon as noted above for this brief missive:
- Please resign.
8. Stefan Low, Thomaston:
- Dear Governor LePage,
Please know there are more than four of us Maine citizens that would like you to leave office. I would like to add my voice to the hopefully growing chorus of those utterly tired of your buffoonery, misuse of power and obstructionism. You are a disgrace to this state and have no place holding a higher office. Methinks the entire concept of politics as compromise and mutual effort escapes you.
Return to the private sector to be the dictator you so long to be, please, and allow someone worthy to occupy the office of Governor. I will refrain from the vulgarity that you, frankly, deserve. Please go. Now. Thank you for your time, but sadly not your service.
9. Joe Earley, Waterville:
- Dear governor lepage,
I would VERY much like to take you up on your offer to resign if the people of Maine raise their voices against you.
Not Your Sycophant
Others who confirm they have written to Governor LePage, asking him to resign:
- 10. Lisa Herzog, Pittsfield
11. Nancy Glista, Bar Harbor
12. Sherri Smith Robinson, Gray
13. Wendy Knickerbocker, Castine
14. Sandra Greene Miller, Vassalboro
15. Jan Frost, Rockport
UPDATES/ ADDITIONAL LETTERS
16. Alan Tibbetts, Sidney:
- Dear Governor LePage,
Since you asked, YES, please resign, soon. You probably don’t get much honest feedback, but there are many reasons why you are not a good fit for the position. If you would like to discuss those reasons at length we can do that.
A resignation is in everybody’s best interests. I don’t begrudge you the pension; it is a cost of doing business.
Enjoy the rest of your life!
17. Cecile Thornton, Lewiston:
- Dear Gov. LePage,
As much as I would love to use expletives in the fashion that you do. I will remain polite and somewhat to the point.
The people of our state have endured your lousy leadership for far too long. It is with as much respect as I can muster when addressing you that I very politely ask you to resign. Please, step down from the office of Governor of the great state of Maine.
I am from Lewiston. I am of French Canadian heritage. I speak French and went to parochial school for eight long years.
I am not from away. I have always lived in Maine and hope to live my life out here (I am sixty now).
Many good, sane people are against your tea party-like leadership. We are embarrassed to have you in office. We never voted for you and know that the only way you got elected was because of Elliot Cutler’s run.
Please step down, Governor. That’s what we want.
18. Nicole Anderson, Portland:
- Please resign as Governor of Maine. The people of Maine find you highly offensive and a complete embarrassment. Thanks in advance for stepping down as Governor. We are tired of your ineptitude and careless irresponsibility to actually represent the people of Maine.
19. Jim Elmore, Bangor:
20. Jenni Moroney Butler, Windham
21. Chad Thorne, Pittston
22. Scott Harriman, Brunswick:
- Governor LePage,
Please resign. You are an embarrassment to the people of Maine and are causing serious damage to our state. Please just leave now.
23. Gerard Pare, Augusta:
- I personally believe that Governor LePage should quit. He’s been nothing more than an impish childish bully. When I hear one of his tirades I picture a spoiled brat standing in a sandbox stomping his feet hoarding all the toys and not letting anyone else play because he’s not getting his own way. His actions have not saved taxpayers money but have cost us. He forgets that he represents all of the people of the State of Maine; not just the super wealthy and those who chose to play his games. Governor LePage is vulgar and has stained the reputation of Maine as being level headed. Though he could have been a great governor and did the hard work with couth and willingness to work across the aisle. He chose instead to act like an irrational buffoon who speaks before he thinks. If he truly cares about what is in the best interest for the State of Maine he will resign. I have a great deal of respect for the office of governor ; and the man in it has not earned my respect because of his blatant disrespect for others and blatant disregard for the laws that govern this state. Please Governor LePage resign so that we don’t have to impeach you.
24. David Hill, Saco:
- Governor Paul LePage,
Please resign for the sake of the State of Maine.
25. Dianne Hill, Saco:
- Paul LePage,
It would be nice if you would resign so something gets done in this stae. (sic)
26. Kate Rogers, Auburn
27. PeggyAnn Doak, Bangor:
- Dear Mr. La Page (sic),
I am asking you, requesting that you exit your office in the quickest and most assured way that never will you return. The people of Maine need a mature, grounded and non partisan Governor if we are to survive this difficult times, let alone progress to a better position financially, educationally and morally. Your actions have been childish, play ground type antics that not only embarrass our great state of Maine, but also interfere with the welfare of the people who love it and choose to live here.
I wish you good luck in your endeavors outside of political office. Perhaps one that does not include personal contact or decisions concerning the lives and future of other human beings.
Most Gracious Regards,
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Special Election for House District 19 Set for November; Jean Noon of Springvale Seeking Democratic Nod
Governor Paul LePage and Secretary of State Matt Dunlap announced today that a special election to fill the seat last held by second termer Rep. William Noon (D-Springvale), who passed away last month, has been set for November 3:
Maine’s three political parties, the Democrats, Green Independents and Republicans, will now caucus to choose candidates for the seat. Candidates must be nominated by 5 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 28. Petitions for non-party candidates may be requested from the Elections Division and must also be submitted to the Secretary of State by Friday, Aug. 28 at 5 p.m. Write-in candidates must be declared and file with the Secretary of State by 5 p.m. on Sept. 14.
The candidate elected by Sanford voters in November will serve out the remainder of Noon’s term, which will run until the General Election in November 2016.
- “It’s an honor to take on the important work that my husband started in service to our community and our state,” said Jean Noon. “As a farmer, teacher and longtime resident of Springvale, I know first hand the challenges facing communities like ours.”
Noon is an organic sheep farmer. She raises sheep on her 75 acre farm in Springvale. Jean also served as an art teacher for 13 years in local public schools.
“It is an honor to have Jean run for Bill’s seat. She is the perfect candidate to carry out his work for the citizens of Springvale and Sanford,” said Speaker Mark Eves, D- North Berwick. “Bill was a great legislator and a good friend, and I know he would be very proud to see his wife continue his work.”
Speaker Eves’ Legal Team File ‘Notice of Claim’ Against Governor LePage with Attorney General’s Office
Attorneys for Maine Speaker of the House Mark Eves filed a state law claim against Governor Paul LePage today with the state’s Attorney General. From an accompanying press release by David Webbert:
Today, I filed a new notice of claim under Maine law against Gov. Paul LePage on behalf of Speaker Mark Eves.
The attached written notice explains why Speaker Eves has a very strong state law claim against the Governor for intentional interference with employment. Not only did the governor violate federal law, but he also violated Maine law when he blackmailed Good Will-Hinckley to coerce it into firing Speaker Eves. This state law claim adds to the Speaker’s case against the Governor and will be considered as part of the lawsuit in federal court.
Maine law requires that this notice be filed with the Office of the Governor and the Attorney General. It also requires that Speaker Eves wait 120 days after filing this notice before he can add this state law claim to his lawsuit filed in federal court on July 30, 2015.
Here is the notice of claim.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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