Tuesday, March 11, 2014
A few quick hits as lawmakers file back to the State House after the Martin Luther King Day holiday and presidential inaugural events ...
Crush(ed) for POTUS: Mainers sent a healthy contingent to President Barack Obama's inauguration ceremony in Washington, D.C. One state lawmaker, however, returned a little bruised and shaken from the experience.
Brunswick Democrat Rep. Matthea Daughtry, a freshman in the House of Representatives, wrote on Facebook that a mix-up by the capitol police landed her in a mob. Daughtry wrote that she was crushed and "literally being pushed along without moving my feet."
Daughtry, in an email, wrote that she was bruised but ok.
"No one ever checked our tickets and had everyone mixed up," she wrote. "The security lines were poorly marked with no clear guidance about where to enter the tents. (But the TSA guards were very sweet)."
Daughtry said the experience was a bit harrowing. But ...
"Nothing can describe the feeling of cheering and clapping with close to a million people while watching our President take the oath of office," she said. "It was a great day to celebrate our incredible country."
This aerial shot of the inauguration crowd gives you an a idea of how many people were there.
The woodshed: Monday's reports that Gov. Paul LePage pounded the table, stormed out of the room and cursed during a Jan. 15 meeting with independent lawmakers is getting plenty of reaction from online commenters and activists.
However, this wasn't the first time legislators have emerged from a meeting in the governor's cabinet room feeling a bit like they'd been taken to the woodshed.
Republican lawmakers had their fair share of upbraidings by the governor when the party was in the majority. One of the most widely discussed encounters occurred in 2011, when LePage chastised Republicans on the Energy Committee behind closed doors. He was upset because they wouldn't support one of his more controversial bills to freeze the state's mandate that electricity providers receive a certain amount of electricity from renewable sources.
Current Senate Republican leader Mike Thibodeau, of Winterport, was rumored to have had quite an exchange with LePage (Thibodeau never offered specifics, but has indicated that the meeting was heated). Other lawmakers have offered similar accounts on different occasions.
LePage apparently wasn't so quick to snap at at least one lawmaker: Former House Democratic leader Emily Cain, now a state senator, has been known to have a good relationship with the governor.
LePage made a point to name Cain as one of two Democrats that he he could work with during his remarks to the state Senate on swearing-in day.
We're the people: Maine Citizens for Clean Elections will hold a rally at the State House Tuesday morning. The event is designed to mark the anniversary of the Citizens United U.S. Supreme Court case that allowed unlimited election spending by corporations and unions. The rally also doubles as an effort to gin up support to amend the U.S. Constitution to circumvent the court decision by inserting language that makes it clear that corporations and unions are not people.
The push to amend the Constitution is part of a national effort.
The Maine rally starts at 10:30 a.m.
Lights, camera ... Action? The folks hustling to get the Maine Public Broadcasting State House Channel up and running hope so.
Mal Leary, news director for the new station, said Tuesday that the network was working to go live Feb. 4, the day before Gov. Paul LePage gives his State of the State address to a joint session of the Legislature.
MPBN technicians have been all over the capitol complex running wires and plugging into the State House live camera feeds. Leary said the set-up was going as planned, however he added, "You never know until you turn everything on."
Steve Mistler covers politics and government for the Portland Press Herald. He spends a lot of time in the hallways of the State House.