March 21, 2011

State House Notebook: Politicos launch Maine People Before Politics

From staff reports

(Continued from page 1)

LePage has defended his decision to keep the councils private, saying that business owners, teachers and environmentalists should be able to share ideas without having their names on the front page of the daily newspaper.

GOODALL TO HOST BUDGET FORUM

State Sen. Seth Goodall, D-Richmond, is hosting three public forums between now and the end of the month to talk to people about the proposed state budget.

Tonight, he and other lawmakers will be at Bath City Hall from 6-7:30 p.m.

On Thursday, they'll be at Richmond High School from 6-7:30 p.m. and on March 30, they'll be at Topsham City Hall, also from 6-7:30 p.m.

Goodall has invited local Republicans to join him and other Democrats at the forums.

LITTLEFIELD WINS AWARD

Littlefield, in addition to his new involvement with Maine People Before Politics, is also making news on another front. He was honored recently by the American Association of Political Consultants.

Littlefield Consulting won a gold "Pollie" for work the firm did to target French voters in the state as part of the fall campaign.

Littlefield, a Maine native who is now based outside of Washington, D.C., noted in a news release that this is his fourth Pollie -- counting those he won with his previous firm -- but it's his first gold.

UNDERWOOD GETS "SERVIVR" PLATE

Secretary of State Charlie Summers and a few GOP state senators gathered in the chamber Thursday morning to give "Survivor" star Ashley Underwood a specialized license plate.

Underwood, a Benton native and former Cony High School basketball player, made it through another episode of the reality show Wednesday.

A very thin Underwood was careful Thursday about what she said while receiving her vanity plate.

"Oh my gosh, this is so awesome!" she said as Summers handed her the chickadee plate that said "SERVIVR."

Sen. Roger Katz, R-Augusta, and Sen. Thomas Martin, R-Waterville, participated in the event as her local senators.

"Did you see snakes and tarantulas?" Katz asked.

Underwood said she saw all sorts of yucky things and was eaten by mosquitoes nearly every night.

She noted that there was "no makeup" and "no razors" and that they got just one scoop of rice to eat in the morning and one scoop at night.

On Wednesday's episode, Underwood earned a reward that included doughnuts. She said normally, as a young woman, she's very concerned about eating junk food. But as a starving and sleep-deprived Survivor, she was more than happy to partake.

The group quickly moved on to photos, when Sen. David Trahan, R-Waldoboro, started asking questions that could lead one to conclude whether or not Underwood won on the show.

Katz, wearing his lawyer hat, stepped in to run interference and told Trahan that all his questions would need to be submitted in writing.

BUDGET TIMING CHANGE?

In his budget address, LePage talked about the need to change the timing of when the two-year budget is released.

As a new governor, LePage had fewer than 40 days on the job -- not counting his transition time -- to release a two-year budget. It's just too hard for a new administration to get its arms around spending at all of the state agencies in that short a time, he argued.

So he asked lawmakers to pass L.D. 381, which would require the budget to be released in the second year of a two-year session.

Lawmakers on the Appropriations Committee last week held a work session on the bill, where the change was described as "high-risk" by the people who have to prepare the budget. That's because the software used to develop the budget needs to be updated, which will cost more than $1 million.

And while the Bureau of the Budget thinks it can cover the cost, there's also the question of whether to lengthen the second session from ending in April to ending in June. But the early adjournment gives lawmakers a chance to get out to campaign.

These questions, and others, led the committee to decide to hold another work session to continue the dialogue.

MaineToday Media State House writers Susan M. Cover and Rebekah Metzler contributed to this report.

 

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