Thursday, April 24, 2014
Some Maine Republicans want Gov. LePage to follow through with the idea of a special legislative session. And they want him to use it to try to block implementation of the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare.
LePage told an audience of Republicans last week that he was considering a special session before the election that would push the envelope, rile Democrats and put Maine on the right course for the next 10 years. But he has refused to say what it is he's planning.
The Androscoggin County Republican Party overwhelmingly approved a resolution Monday asking LePage to call the Maine Legislature back to Augusta to take up legislation nullifying the president's health care reform law, according to news release from a group called the Tenth Amendment Center that is pushing for nullification.
Only two of the more than 100 members in attendance at the Androscoggin County meeting opposed the resolution, it says.
Nullification legislation would declare the federal law unconstitutional and authorize the governor and state lawmakers to take steps to block implementation.
Durham Town Republican Secretary Jason Greene is quoted in the release saying states can block the Affordable Care Act just like they refused to implement the Real ID Act during the Bush administration.
James Madison and Thomas Jefferson first advanced the principle of nullification by the states in 1798 in response to the Alien and Sedition Acts, according to the Tenth Amendment Center.
The Cumberland County Republican Committee could also take up a similar resolution next week, the group said.
It's unclear if LePage was considering such a move when he spilled the beans last week about a possible special session, apparently unaware he was being recorded.
On one hand, it would be hard to make the case that stopping the federal health care reforms passed in 2010 would present the kind of extraordinary circumstances needed to legally convene a special session.
On the other hand, such an effort would really upset Democrats and it meets LePage's description as something other states have done.
Missouri and Oklahoma are among those that have taken up nullification proposals, for example. Twenty state legislatures have enacted laws and measures related to challenging or opting out of broad health reform including the Affordable Care Act, according to the National Conference of State Legislators. Some passed restrictions on implementation of the law, and some adopted interstate compacts that could be used to avoid implementation of the law down the road.
LePage has called the Affordable Care Act unconstitutional since before he was elected, but has not publicly suggested that Maine join any nullification effort.
LePage's spokeswoman, Adrienne Bennett, would not discuss the special session issue or say whether it had anything to do with blocking the Affordable Care Act.
"I'm not going to confirm or deny anything," she said Wednesday.
As far as the Androscoggin County resolution, Bennett was equally tight-lipped: "The governor will be made aware."
Open Season is your guide to the 2014 campaign. Our team of political writers has its sights set on Maine’s major elections, from the Blaine House to the U.S. Capitol.
Steve Mistler is covering the 2014 governor's race. He covers politics and government for the Portland Press Herald. He spends a lot of time in the hallways of the State House.
Steve can be reached at 791-6345 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Twitter: @stevemistler
Eric Russell is covering Independent Eliot Cutler during the 2014 governor's race. He is a general assignment reporter for the Portland Press Herald.
Eric can be reached at 791-6344 or email@example.com
On Twitter: @pphericrussell
Matt Byrne is covering Republican Paul LePage during the 2014 governor's race. He covers Falmouth, Cumberland, North Yarmouth, Yarmouth and Freeport for the Portland Press Herald.
Matt can be reached at 791-6303 or firstname.lastname@example.org
On Twitter: @mattbyrnePPH
Randy Billings is covering Democrat Mike Michaud during the 2014 governor's race. He covers Portland City Hall for the Portland Press Herald.
Randy can be reached at 791-6346 or email@example.com
On Twitter: @randybillings
Kevin Miller is covering Maine's U.S. Senate race and 1st Congressional District race. He covers politics and government for the Portland Press Herald.
Kevin can be reached at 317-6256 or firstname.lastname@example.org
On Twitter: @kevinmillerdc
Michael Shepherd is covering Maine's 2nd Congressional District race. He is a news and State House reporter for the Kennebec Journal.
Michael can be reached at 621-5632 or email@example.com
On Twitter: @mikeshepherdME