August 17, 2012

LePage's secret plan

Surprising lawmakers, the governor says he plans to call back the Legislature before Election Day, but he won't say why.

By Steve Mistler smistler@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

and John Richardson jrichardson@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

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Gov. Paul LePage is considering calling the Legislature into special session, and it may be a whopper.

AP

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Former Attorney General Janet Mills, a Democrat, said Thursday that because the budget covers two years and is subject to rising and falling revenues, the governor's request for a special session may not meet the constitutional standard for "extraordinary circumstances."

Mills and other Democrats said LePage should disclose his intentions immediately.

"I seem to remember this governor talking a lot about transparency," Mills said. "It's not transparent when you keep your agenda this secret. If this proposal is going to impact Mainers, there should be as much public input as possible. That means public hearings, work sessions and open debate."

While Democrats are likely to oppose whatever LePage introduces, his proposal also could meet Republican resistance.

Voter ID and collective bargaining laws drew a tepid response from Republican lawmakers in the last session. Enacting a voter ID law before the election would require two-thirds support from the Legislature.

Senate President Kevin Raye said in a written statement that he learned of LePage's interest in a special session Wednesday night.

"The governor has the right to call the Legislature back in," Raye said. "However, since he has not yet presented a proposal, it would be premature to pass judgment on the value of a special session."

Raye is running against Democratic Rep. Mike Michaud for Maine's 2nd District seat.

Democrats and Republicans said Thursday that Raye may have the most to lose politically if he's called back to marshal a majority vote on a contentious proposal.

House Speaker Robert Nutting, R-Oakland, was not available for comment Thursday. Jim Cyr, his spokesman, said Nutting did not know anything about LePage's plan and he "was as curious as everybody else."

Sen. Debra Plowman, R-Hampden, the assistant majority leader, did not return calls seeking comment. 

Wednesday's fundraiser was attended by some members of Bangor's legislative delegation, including Rep. Andre Cushing, R-Hampden, the House majority whip.

He said Thursday that he asked LePage afterward for specifics, but the governor said it would be "inappropriate to discuss them."

"I think we're all curious to hear why he thinks it's necessary to go back into session," Cushing said.

Rep. Doug Damon, R-Bangor, also attended the event. He said LePage did not elaborate about his plans beyond his recorded comments.

"We're all waiting and anxious to find out," Damon said.

Staff Writer Steve Mistler can be contacted at 791-6345 or at:

smistler@mainetoday.com

twitter/stevemistler

Staff Writer John Richardson can be contacted at 699-6261 or at:

jrichardson@mainetoday.com

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