A closer look at LePage’s veto threat

In his bizarre press conference held at the Blaine House in Augusta on Friday, Gov. Paul LePage went off the deep end… again.

Mario Moretto | BDN

Mario Moretto | BDN

LePage, was irate with Democrats for opposing his push to get rid of Maine’s income tax, which accounts for about half of all state revenue.

Following the rant House Majority Leader Jeff McCabe, D-Skowhegan- who was present for the meltdown– described the Governor as “becoming unhinged, unglued and just being completely angry.”

LePage threatened to veto every bill sponsored by a Democrat until they accept his constitutional amendment to nix the income tax.

There’s already been plenty of commentary following the press conference, so I’ve highlighted a list of some of the Democrat sponsored bills that may be on the chopping block if LePage- a man who was homeless in his youth and claims to be “for the people of Maine”– stays true to his veto threat.

1.  LD 443- An Act To Help Stabilize Homeless Shelters in Maine, “This bill provides ongoing General Fund appropriations of $3,500,000 per year beginning in fiscal year 2015-16 to the Maine State Housing Authority to increase funding for homeless shelters.”
2.  LD 657- An Act To Provide Enhanced Mental Health Services to the County Prison Population, “This bill proposes to increase funding for mental health care services for the county prison population, including educating and training prison employees in behavioral health assessment and protocols on an annual basis. It would also require that every county jail have a mental health worker on site at least 8 hours a day.”
3.  LD 1209- An Act To Increase the Effectiveness of Peer Supports in the State, “This bill establishes a peer support services program in the office of substance abuse and mental health services within the Department of Health and Human Services. The bill requires each assertive community treatment team to include at least one full-time intentional peer support specialist certified by the department. “Intentional peer support specialist” is defined. The bill requires the department to appoint and convene the Intentional Peer Support Advisory Committee. The bill requires the department to adopt necessary rules and designates the rules as routine technical rules. The bill requires the costs of intentional peer support services and the advisory committee to be met through the transfer of funding from the Mental Health – Community account and the Mental Health – Community Medicaid account and through the discontinuance of 2 full-time positions within the office of substance abuse and mental health services.”
4.  LD 180- An Act To Allow Terminally Ill Patients To Choose To Use Experimental Treatments, “This bill authorizes manufacturers of drugs, biological products and devices that have completed Phase I of a United States Food and Drug Administration-approved clinical trial but have not yet been approved for general use and remain under clinical investigation to make them available to eligible terminally ill patients.”
5.  LD 440- An Act To Create a Secure, Therapeutic Mental Health Unit, “This bill provides for the establishment of a secure, therapeutic mental health unit for defendants undergoing court-ordered assessments to determine their competency to stand trial or their criminal culpability and to provide therapeutic care for forensic patients.”
6.  LD 1030- An Act To Better Coordinate the Work of Mental Health Crisis Agencies with Law Enforcement Agencies, “This bill requires the Department of Health and Human Services to provide assistance to crisis intervention teams and agencies that provide mental health crisis services and to law enforcement agencies to enable them to coordinate mental health crisis services.”
7.  LD 188- An Act To Protect Employees from Abusive Work Environments, “This bill provides legal relief for employees who have been harmed psychologically, physically or economically by exposure to abusive work environments. Employees and employers who subject an employee to an abusive work environment are liable, and employers are vicariously liable for the abusive workplace conduct of their employees, in a private civil action brought by the affected employee.”
8.  LD 721- Resolve, To Establish the Commission To Strengthen and Align the Services Provided to Maine’s Veterans, “This resolve establishes the Commission To Strengthen and Align the Services Provided to Maine’s Veterans, which must report by December 2, 2015 with its findings and recommendations and suggested legislation to the Joint Standing Committee on Veterans and Legal Affairs.”
9.  LD 873- An Act To Authorize a General Fund Bond Issue for Housing for Homeless Veterans, “The funds provided by this bond issue, in the amount of $4,000,000, will be used to build housing for homeless veterans at the Veterans Administration Medical Center, Togus Campus, in Augusta, or elsewhere, to be managed by Volunteers of America Northern New England or a similar entity.”
10.  LD 1380- An Act To Legalize, Tax and Regulate Marijuana, “This bill addresses the use, possession, cultivation, manufacturing, testing, transportation and sale of marijuana and marijuana products.
The bill legalizes the possession of up to an ounce of marijuana for a person 21 years of age and older, taxes sales of marijuana and regulates the marijuana industry, which in the language of the bill is conducted by marijuana establishments.”
LePage at the Blaine House on Friday. Photo from WMTW.com.

LePage at the Blaine House on Friday. Photo from WMTW.com.

Fortunately, it appears as if the legislature is ready to work together to quell the governor’s maniacal attempts to dictate the direction (or destruction) of Maine.

“It’s clear that Democrats and Republicans are going to work together to override the vetoes of the governor when they don’t make sense or when they’re politically driven,” McCabe said following the spectacle.

“That’s not how you operate in divided government. That’s not how you get things done.”

What do you think?

Note: Bill descriptions are pulled from Maine.gov.

Chris Shorr

About Chris Shorr

Chris is a sixth generation Portlander who loves all things Maine. He has worked with mentally ill and marginalized adults at a Portland non-profit, on a lobster boat in Casco Bay, at several high-end Portland restaurants, and at a local meat packing plant. He also ran for Portland City Council in 2013, wrote a weekly column in the now defunct Portland Daily Sun, and currently writes a weekly column in The Portland Phoenix.