Potential Special Session Looms in Wake of Leadership Lapse

4/26/18, Maine First Media Staff Report,

It is being reported that next Wednesday, Representatives and Senators will head back to Augusta to either overturn or sustain Gov. LePage’s vetoes. That is the expectation of our elected officials.

However, a joint email from Speaker of the Swamp, Sara Gideon, and RINO Senate President Mike Thibodeau, made no mention of veto day. The e-mail simply read:

“Dear Fellow Legislators, The Legislature will convene at 10:00 AM on Wednesday, May 2nd. Please let us know if you have any questions.”

So for now, Maine legislators continue anxiously awaiting word on a potential special session.

The 2018 Legislative Session has come and gone, with absolutely nothing to show for it. But the end of the session could be temporary.

Maine First Media sources inside the legislature speculate enough House Republicans could cave and vote for restoring the session should “leadership” bring the motion to a vote.

Meanwhile, Gov. Paul LePage is rumored to be considering calling lawmakers back to Augusta to work on funding school budgets for the remainder of the school year, tax conformity and his proposed bond to lower interest rates on student loan debts for Maine students staying in-state after graduation.

However, if Gov. LePage does call the politicians back to the swamp, all bets are off. House and Senate “leadership” will be free to bring up any business they wish. This would effectively make the House GOP’s move voting against extending the legislative session moot.

With a special session looming, now is the optimal time to look back and summarize the session that was.

First, a reminder as to why the GOP voted against extending the session.

After months of little-to-no action, Speaker Gideon spent the last day of session tabling bills. It was a tactic to paint House Republicans into a corner and force concessions on funding medical welfare for the young and healthy.

And with Sen. Garrett “Maine-Last” Mason sponsoring a successful Senate motion to extend the session, the House GOP caucus used the only leverage they had left. By voting against extending the session, they avoided pulling scarce resources from needed programs to pay for healthcare freebies for Maine’s able-bodied population — at least for now.

Speaker Gideon had overestimated the Republican’s desire for tax conformity. As Maine-first Rep. Larry Lockman (R-Amherst) pointed out to Maine First Media, there was no reason to rush tax conformity, as it can be debated next January when the new legislature convenes.

Following the failed extension vote, Speaker Gideon decided to throw a pizza party instead of getting down to the business of the Maine people.

With the remaining session hours winding down, several votes were held on important pieces of legislation — with House Democrats killing every one of those bills.

The late-night tantrum by House Democrats epitomized the Gideon/Thibodeau “do-nothing” legislature. Along with tax conformity and the student-debt lowering bond, there were many other items deemed as “high priority” at the beginning of the session. Among those items were:

  • The aforementioned funding for Medicaid expansion,
  • Guidelines for handling legalized marijuana,
  • Reforming the broken referendum system,
  • Funding the infamous waitlists for care for Maine’s elderly and disabled population,
  • Funding pay raises for direct care staff,
  • 2018-2019 school budget funding,
  • And a transportation bond.

A grand total of zero of those “top-priority” items were resolved during the several months of session. Zero. It can be argued Mainers are better off with some of the priorities being left untouched. And with a Democrat-controlled House of Representatives, Mainers might consider themselves thankful nothing was accomplished — as nothing is much better than what Democrat attempted to jam down the throats of Maine residents.

Below is a list of some of the high profile votes from this past session. As was the theme of the session, none of these proposals made their way to becoming law.

  • LD1833: Harboring Havens Penalty Bill (GOOD BILL), Lost 76-65 in House, Lost 21-14 in Sen, MFM Story.
  • LD1492: Foreign Workforce Bill (BAD BILL), Passed 87-58 in House, Passed 26-7 in Sen (stalled in Appropriations Committee), MFM Story.
  • LD 1893: E-Verify (GOOD BILL), Lost 79-69 in House, MFM Story.
  • LD1904: FGM Ban (GOOD BILL), Lost 77-70 in House, MFM Story.
  • LD912: Gender Confusion Bill (BAD VERSION), Passed 76-68 in House, MFM Story.
  • LD912: Gender Confusion Bill (GOOD VERSION), Lost 76-72 in House, MFM Story.
  • LD 1444: Solar Subsidy Scam (BAD BILL), Passed 106-38 in House, Passed 28-5 in Sen., MFM Story.
  • LD532: Lifting Caps on Hydropower (GOOD BILL), Lost 74-63 in House, MFM Story.
  • Public Hearing on Universal Homecare Scam (GOOD MOTION), Lost 72-71 in House, MFM Story.
  • LD 31: Ballot Initiative Change (GOOD BILL), Shy of 2/3’s in House 92-55, MFM Story.
  • LD 1905: Family Businesses Hiring Minor Family Members (GOOD BILL), Lost 75-73 in House.
  • LD 1880: Right to Work (GOOD BILL), Lost 82-66 in House, MFM Story.
  • LD1846: Voter ID (GOOD BILL), Lost 78-69 in House, MFM Story.

If lawmakers try to go beyond the bounds of just voting on vetoes next Wednesday, Gov. LePage would likely kill whatever they send him with a pocket veto.

However, legislative sources tell Maine First Media, members expect that day to be a “veto day,” as dictated by past practices.