The door is open as promised, but it’s a different door and you have to pass a quick background check.

On the campaign trail and after he was elected, Gov. Paul LePage pledged to hold Saturday morning meetings with constituents at the Blaine House as part of his “people before politics” philosophy.

According to a recent memo to the Legislative Council, security concerns have caused LePage to alter his original plans a bit — but he still plans on spending four hours every Saturday he’s in town speaking with Mainers.

The memo from the governor’s office to top lawmakers asks permission to open the State House on Saturdays so the governor can meet with members of the public. The Legislature is in charge of the State House, even though the building hosts the governor’s office.

From 8 to 9 a.m., LePage will make pre-scheduled calls to constituents — with a staffer dialing the numbers and taking notes on the conversation, according to the memo. From 9 to 11 a.m., the governor will meet directly with constituents — eight meetings of about 15 minutes each — in the Cabinet room. From 11 a.m. to noon, LePage will make additional phone calls to constituents.

All meetings and phone calls would be vetted through the governor’s office, and the executive protection security detail will run checks on people meeting with the governor before Saturday and provide the Capitol Police with an advance list of visitors. The Capitol Police would sign guests in and out of the building.

People would be limited to one visit every six months and “lobbyists and representatives of special interest groups will NOT be permitted,” the memo said.

The Legislative Council approved the plan during its January meeting, on the condition the executive branch paid for the extra security costs. The state hasn’t yet determined how much that will be.


Former Senate Republican Leader Carol Weston of Montville was recently named state director of Americans for Prosperity-Maine.

Weston takes the job previously held by Trevor Bragdon, who now works for House Speaker Robert Nutting, R-Oakland.

“I’m excited for the opportunity to join AFP and to work with free market activists across Maine to advance our shared values of lower taxes, limited government and individual liberty,” Weston said in a statement.

AFP describes itself as a national organization of grass-roots leaders who work for limited government and free markets on the local, state and federal levels. There are 32 state chapters.


Senate Democrats donated $800 to help pay for the burial of Korean War veteran Donald Lyon.

Sen. Margaret Craven, D-Lewiston, read a story in the Lewiston Sun Journal that indicated that Lyon’s “remains have sat in a crematory for five months awaiting payment of his final debt,” according to the Senate Minority Office. So Craven spoke with her colleagues, who chipped in enough money to pay off the remainder of the debt.

The Democrats officially gave the money to Dave Richmond, who heads the Veteran Cemetery System in Maine, during a State House ceremony last week.


A Gorham Republican has put in a bill, L.D. 283, to require “that motor vehicles be clear of solid precipitation when operated on public ways.”

Rep. Jane Knapp’s bill specifies that if you drive 40 mph or faster, you need to make sure there’s no snow, ice, hail or sleet sticking to your car.

The bill calls for a fine of $250 for first-time offenders and $500 for violations after that. It’s headed to the Transportation Committee for review.


Speaking of the Transportation Committee, a work session is set for Thursday on L.D. 64, which would make not wearing your seat belt a secondary — rather than a primary — offense.

Sen. Ron Collins, R-Wells, sponsored the bill and testified in favor of it last week, but public health and safety officials opposed it.

As it is now, police can pull you over if you’re not wearing a seat belt. Collins’ bill would allow police to issue a ticket only if you get pulled over for another offense first.


Sen. Seth Goodall, D-Richmond, is sponsoring a bill to make Feb. 9 “Gov. William King Day” in honor of the state’s first governor.

King, a merchant and shipbuilder, served as governor from June 2, 1820 to May 28, 1821, according to information compiled by State Historian Earle Shettleworth. His birthday is Wednesday. This year is the 243rd anniversary of his birth.

King was a Democratic-Republican and had this to say in his inaugural: “Under a government such as ours, a government of laws and not of men, it ought to be one of its first principles that the laws should be simple and plain and easy to understand.”

Goodall’s bill, which is definitely “simple and plain and easy to understand” is L.D. 214. It’s headed to the State and Local Government Committee for consideration.

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