Lawmakers on both sides of aisle scratching heads over LePage quotes on special session

LEWISTON — Western Maine lawmakers from both sides of the political aisle were wondering what Gov. Paul LePage has in mind based on statements he made during a Republican Party event in Bangor on Wednesday evening.

LePage hinted strongly that he would call a special legislative session but didn't disclose why.

His statements were recorded and leaked to left-leaning blogger and political activist Mike Tipping, who posted a link to the recording and a transcript of it on his Bangor Daily News blog, the Tipping Point, early Thursday.

LePage is quoted as saying, "I’m just trying to do what other Republican states have done this year and I gotta wait before I say too much more about it, but what I’m telling you is this: If we get this done, the state of Maine will be on the right track for the next 10 years. I promise you that."

The governor also hinted that the session would upset his Democratic rivals. 

"I think we can get it done in about a day, and the Democrats, if you think they hate me now — wow," LePage said. He also said the idea was not his but one that bubbled up from his staff, and he was anxious to do it.

Democrats roundly criticized LePage for being cryptic and for using his power to call a special session for political purposes.

"He needs to tell people what he's thinking about, what this plan is and it is not acceptable to use taxpayer dollars for political purposes," said Rep. Peggy Rotundo, D-Lewiston. "From what I've read, he's making political threats and trying to score political points and to do that with taxpayer dollars is simply not acceptable."

Rotundo said she could not see anything on the legislative horizon that would warrant calling lawmakers back into session and she's never seen a governor in Maine attempt such a maneuver.

"He needs to be transparent," Rotundo said. She said even a one-day special session would cost the state money and that LePage should be telling people why he wants to spend money on a special session.

Rep. Lance Harvell, R-Farmington, said he couldn't say one way or the other whether a special session was a good idea or even necessary. But he was as eager as everyone else to find out what LePage has in mind.

"I just don't know," Harvell said. "Should we have a special session, tell me what it's about and I'll tell you whether it's a good idea or not."

Harvell said political insiders have been mumbling about the possibility of a special session for some time, however.

"I got some wind about this about a week ago," Harvell said. "It was just something about a special session and I tried to make some calls and I couldn't verify anything."

Republican lawmakers, some of whom asked to speak off the record, said they had a number of ideas about what LePage was referring to, but nobody seemed to have any facts.

One possibility that would seem to merit a special session would be if the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services had agreed to grant the state a waiver so it could reduce spending on MaineCare, the state's Medicare program, which is paid for with both state and federal money.

Others said it may have to do with the state's public employee pensions and a possible reduction in state spending on that front.

Most lawmakers ruled out the idea that LePage would seek to change Maine's voting laws on the eve of the next election, noting any law that was passed without a two-thirds majority could not go into effect until 90 days after passage. Republicans in the last session were unable to muster enough votes to pass laws that would require photo identification.

Lawmakers said they doubted the governor would try something like that because it was unlikely even the majority of Republicans would have the political will for it.

One Republican lawmaker said he wasn't convinced the idea had been that well-vetted with LePage's staff, as the governor said.  

"Stuff like that is usually well-thought-out and the governor, generally, gets himself in trouble when he is off the cuff," the lawmaker said. "So if they've been talking about something in his administration, then they've been talking about it in some detail and there would have been discussions on this. Those are not the kind of things he gets himself in trouble with."

Most lawmakers seemed to agree the only legitimate purpose for calling a special session would center on budget or fiscal issues.

They said they could not see anything on the horizon that could be deemed an emergency.

sthistle@sunjournal.com

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Comments

Peter Jokinen's picture

Political Grandstanding at

Political Grandstanding at the taxpayer's expense. What else can a population expect when they foolishly put a Robber Baron personality in the Blaine Mansion?

When he was running for office, with every campaign commercial on the air I saw he convinced me that I would make a far better Governor than he could. I'm a person who is wholly unsuited by both temperament and experiences (not to mention lack of political ambitions) for the job.

But with every day he is actually IN the Governor's office, he has yet to disabuse me of the notion that I might still do a better job than he has.

How sad for the State of Maine.

FRANK EARLEY's picture

Maybe he got a really good fourtune cookie.....

If this brainstorm is the result of his staff, sort of giving him an idea. It's something that will create more separation in the way of hatred between Democrats and Lepage.(as if that's even possible). Assuming he's going to wait for the results of his, reading of the "tea leaves". Calling a special session for political purposes, at taxpayer expense. This is all setting up to be his biggest screw-up to date. I can't wait. I'm just wondering something. If you hate someone as much as I do, is it possible to feel sorry for him at the same time??????

Richard Begin's picture

Steve Dosh

Why do you want my Paison Richard to post a Picture of Himself?
Sergio Valentee

Richard Begin's picture

lepage keeps em Guessing

Al Pelletier

Do you know who I am ? and why do you need to lecture me about spell check?

On Average nobody ever Dares to suggesst anything like that

Al what's up with you?

AL PELLETIER's picture

Double Gees, Richard!

Sorry I struck a nerve. My "spell check" comment was meant to be constructive criticism. By the way, I don't know who you are and don't much care. If I've ever met you, but don't remember you, I'll retract my last sentence.

Steve  Dosh's picture

Lawmakers on both sides of aisle scratching heads over LePage .

Scott 12.08.16 14:00 hst ?
Why ? He's just so quotable as are others , "Stuff like that is usually well-thought-out and the governor, generally, gets himself in trouble when he is off the cuff," the lawmaker said, stressing " usually."
The Hon. Gov LePage lives in his own little world
Luckily, you all know him there
Is he Mormon , per chance , and does he pay ? 13 % taxes like Mitsie and wifey and The Hon. Sen Reid ( D - NV ) ?
Yes they are all members of the Church of the Latter Day Saints , a good and worthy organization i might add
We have read in this paper how he has alienated the entire ME State government . .and others
Audit time, Hon Gov. and State A G
Follow the money trail
h t h ? /s , Steve , former ombudsman

Richard Begin's picture

Lepage keeps them Guessing

Look there is really no Secret Hidden agenda here. But as I understand and for those who recieve My Dialy Updates I had forecasted this announcement two weeks ago. One Purpose is to possibly take money from the existent Budget to pay for Bonded projects,

The second goal is to Motivate the R's into an Election mode. To contineau the very successful Rout of the Democrats in Maine. make no Mistake about it the Dems will actually lose more eats in both Houses.

Remember this is the Party of Mitchell Libby that is and C Dill the Candidate who did Jumping Jacks on a Grave Stone of a Maine Veteran.The Democrats he Maine are in a complete Tail spin.

Imagine one of their Own National Committiee Spokes oman says she likes and will support Angus King.

I predict C Dill who reminds me very Much of Hanoi Jane,

will not get over 9% in the Polls. Imagine she may finish below Tom Connolly.?

Tom ended up with Barely 13% when he oppoed Former Governor Angus King who Incedently has never come close to losing an Election.

If you all recall Tom was the Idiot with the Duck Hat.

He was also the Moron who was seen Parading on the Maine Turnpike with an Osama Bin Laden Mask and Fake AK 47

It was also Tom Connolly who tipped off Fox News three weeks before the Bush Gore Presidental Race that The Younger G W Bush had been convicted of OUI in Kennebunk a few years ago

R Begin

AL PELLETIER's picture

Gees, Richard

Don't you have spell check on your PC? Hey, true to form, Lepage is going to piss off lots and lots of Mainers and draw national attention to himself. Can't wait! It's like a soap opera cliff hanger.

Steve  Dosh's picture

Begin to post a picture ,

Begin to post a picture , Dick
It's EZ to do •
~Q;>* <-- Santa smoking . .

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