Lawmakers serve early St. Patrick's Day drinking bill to Gov. LePage

AUGUSTA — The Legislature passed a bill Thursday that will allow bars and restaurants to serve alcohol as early as 6 a.m. on St. Patrick's Day when it falls on a Sunday.

State House Photo

Rep. Barry Hobbins, D-Saco.

The measure, passed under an emergency preamble, had been a source of controversy and was criticized by Republicans because it was moving faster than bills that would pay off the state's $484 million debt to hospitals.

The Maine House passed the alcohol bill on a vote of 105-32. To pass as emergency legislation, which allows the law to take effect immediately, the bill needed support from two-thirds of the Legislature, which it had.

The bill is on its way to the desk of Republican Gov. Paul LePage, who twice has held the measure up as an example of the Legislature moving fast when it wants to. The governor has threatened to veto any bill sent to him before the Legislature takes any meaningful action on the hospital debt.

But Thursday, Rep. Barry Hobbins, D-Saco, the St. Patrick's Day bill sponsor, said he had assurances from LePage that he would allow the bill to become law, in time for St. Patrick's Day this Sunday.

"He shook my hand and said he would pardon St. Patrick," Hobbins said after the Senate passed the bill 29-5. "The governor's a man of his word, so that's good enough for me."

House Minority Leader Kenneth Fredette, R-Newport, said that while lawmakers had not settled on how to pay the hospital debt, Republicans and Democrats were closer to an agreement.

“The agreement that Republicans and Democrats reached Monday, that the hospitals should indeed be paid, made this bill much more palatable to us and to the governor, I’m sure,” Fredette said in a prepared statement.

LePage said he intended to sign the bill into law later Thursday.

“Mainers know that I am a man of my word," LePage said in a prepared statement. "I am always open to reasonable suggestions. I’m pleased to sign this bill as a gesture of goodwill and as a supporter of Maine’s fine establishments that wish to open earlier on St. Patrick’s Day.”

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ERNEST LABBE's picture

I must ask

I must ask what is the percent of Irish decendents to all the other folks in Maine. Is the purpose of this bill to show that the Irish are drunkerds, that can't wait for the normal opening of a bar because it's their patron saints special day?

If I were Irish I would be appalled to think that someone in state leadership thought is was so important to allow me and my fellow Irish decendents to start drinking earlier in the day.

Yes I realize that there are shift workers that get out of work at seven in the morning and they might want a drink after work. However what do they do on the other 51 sundays a year?

It would seem to me that our elected officials are more focused on minor things than the really impoortant things wrong in this state.

Accessable Beer = Accessing affordable health care? ...Not!

The hospitals must be paid...and paid now!

But, certainly not what they have been invoicing.

Instead, pay them for reasonable costs plus profits sufficient to provide a moderate income to health care providers and their staffs...and no more.

That would likely save the People of Maine around 200 million of what is allegedly "owed".

And, in the future, let's ensure automatic imaging or so-called x-rays and, especially, MRI's are only ordered by these same providers if there is a reasonable medical necessity for such costly testing.

Carl Kimball's picture


This is what the government boils down to here in Maine, getting booze early on a Sunday is an emergency. My sister and niece was coming back from buying appliances for my niece's future wedding in the mid afternoon, they never made it home, because a mother, taking her young son to get a haircut, was drunk behind the wheel. My brother was killed a week before getting out of the service, because of a drunk behind the wheel. What you have done by passing this so called emergency law, is spit in my family's face and many others who has lost loved ones because of drunk drivers. You have shown Maine children that drinking is a priority over everything else. I hope you people are VERY PROUD of what you have accomplished. (just my voice and not that of this paper)

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

What does one thing have to

What does one thing have to do with the other? If the Governor had not allowed this emergency legislation to pass, the leftist boo birds would have handed him his arse for being against jobs and being anti-business. It was a lose lose deal for the Governor.
My statement by no means mitigates my feelings towards drunk drivers.

Kim Waite's picture

The guv'nah must have been drunk

because he forgot he said he wouldn't sign any bills until the hospital bills were paid!

JERRY ARIPEZ's picture

Luck of the Irish

Lets not be responsible, lets get drunk earlier for a Saint.

 's picture


That's all I have to say about this whole issue.



It's about time he puts his money where his mouth is and actually does something to help Maine businesses, even if it is only liquor establishments on one day in 6 years. Maybe the prospect of losing every Irish vote in the next election seemed a little daunting.

Bob White's picture

Gee I guess your a bad person

Gee I guess your a bad person if you want to be responsible and pay your bill, bills that were left behind by somebody eles. I dont think we would be as close to a solution to the hospital dept if the great Govenor wouldnt had motivated people like he did. The Democrats would have done just like our leader lets kick the can down the road and not realy fix the problems and blame everybody but himself and party. But your to blind to see that.

FRANK EARLEY's picture

I guess what they say is true....

If you say something over and over again, you will actually begin to believe it yourselves. If you believe acting like a spoiled little five year old is motivational, then it only stands to reason, why you would support a stick in the mud like LePage.....

Bob White's picture

I may but If somebody wouldnt

I may but If somebody wouldnt have been pounding his chest it proably wouldnt have gotten done look the debt has been their for a while but hes getting it done ( yes before he got in office)

FRANK EARLEY's picture

"Pounding his chest"

Is this how an elected official is supposed to conduct business? Something is seriously wrong if we need a grand stander to threaten his citizens to actually get something done. I've lived in several states, I've worked or traveled to all continental states most of Canada, and a good chunk of Mexico. With the exception of southern Mexico, and New Hampshire(Sanunu), I have never seen a more dysfunctional Governor in my life. It is becoming an embarrassment to the people of Maine. If the National cable news networks ever need some fill material, we have a ton of it right here in Maine. Course then we will need to change the State Motto.....

Bob White's picture

I dont know if your trying to

I dont know if your trying to impress me with your travels or what the point your trying to make to me with it however the simple way I look at it is this way. We had a govenor that racked all kinds of debt owed to the hospitals didnt come up with a way to take care of it. Wether he was dem or repub. doesnt change the fact that we need to pay them. News flash thats how things work just like you, you go to work not because its fun because you need the money to pay bill. Now you may be embarrassed at a person who wants to balance the budget and pay bills well thats up to you. I do know their wasnt much concern from the dems about taking care of this until he put the preasure to them so maybe you should be embarrassed at somebody else that was ignoring the problem. A question to ask yourself if you owned a business would you want somebody that is a person that will get things done or a person that just goes along with things? If you go with the second then that tells me you never been in business and dont know what it takes to get things down. So put on your big girl panties

FRANK EARLEY's picture

I don't think anyone would be impressed with my travels...

All I know is I used get paid tons of money driving my truck to Mexico, not that I would even try that today. My complaint isn't whether or not the debt needs to be paid. It has to do with how much more difficult LePage is making the process with his immature theatrics. I'm not going to put up with a supposedly grown man forcing other grown adults to jump through hoops just to make him happy. Personally, I'm getting sick of his antics. Seems the Republican Party is full of "Show Boats"......

Kim Waite's picture

I wonder if the hospitals

have actual names attached to the bills that are owed to them? Wouldn't it be something if the hospitals took the money and didn't pay the bills, but rather, used the money to expand their hospitals or buy fancy equipment (oh and then give everyone a nice ole raise!)????

Did the guv'nah ever think of that?

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

If the hospitals are owed the

If the hospitals are owed the money, isn't it their business where they spend it? When you get a paycheck, assuming you work, does your employer dictate to you how you get to dispose of it?

Bob White's picture

Whys it your business or

Whys it your business or anybody elses what a hospital or business spends their EARNED money on? Would you want people to tell you how to spend your money (Proably your goverment check)


I don't think

Well I guess you are entitled to your opinion but I never heard the Democrats say they were never going to pay the hospitals. They said they don't think we should borrow money to do it partly because it's not good fiscal policy and because it could be unconstitutional and they said that the hospitals do not come to the front of the line they will get theirs when everybody else does too. This was a mistake made by the hospitals as well as by DHHS and they have more money than anybody so why should they come ahead of everybody else. All you got from the governor was a lot of threatening and hot air and a plan that does not make sense.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

....."but I never heard the

....."but I never heard the democrats say they were never going to pay the hospitals."
That's right; they just didn't pay them.


They didn't pay

That's right. Instead of just shoveling taxpayer money to the hospitals because they asked for it the Democrats investigated whether we actually owed the money we were being billed for and they wanted to find ways to make sure this mistake did not occur again. I think if the hospitals had suddenly sent you a large bill you didn't think you owed,for services you didn't think you had ordered, you would have done the same thing.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Baldacci had two full terms

Baldacci had two full terms with a democrat controlled legislature. Are you saying they could not have gotten that matter settled in that time period? An eight year investigation was not enough?

Bob White's picture

Well I guess we can thank the

Well I guess we can thank the Govenor for getting them to start looking and checking because we all know we didnt hear anything about it till Govenor LaPage started to motivate people. JOB WELL DONE!!!!!


I don't think

Well I guess you are entitled to your opinion but I never heard the Democrats say they were never going to pay the hospitals. They said they don't think we should borrow money to do it partly because it's not good fiscal policy and because it could be unconstitutional and they said that the hospitals do not come to the front of the line they will get theirs when everybody else does too. This was a mistake made by the hospitals as well as by DHHS and they have more money than anybody so why should they come ahead of everybody else. All you got from the governor was a lot of threatening and hot air and a plan that does not make sense.

Bob White's picture

At least he got the ball

At least he got the ball rolling in the right direction. One question for you and your type do we owe the money or not?

JERRY ARIPEZ's picture


So by your logic that any political admin that left a bill for the next admin to pay is at pay it off immediately and responsibly.

Well then I guess GWB had that trillion surplus and put us in debt and he should of paid it off too or at least have it on the books and have the revenues to pay for it and not the air brain irresponsible comments; we will be praised as heroes and the oil in Iraq will pay for it.

JERRY ARIPEZ's picture

Bush's cry's of lies, fear and BS, fooled all of us

NEW YORK, March 14 (Reuters) - The U.S. war in Iraq has cost $1.7 trillion with an additional $490 billion in benefits owed to war veterans, expenses that could grow to more than $6 trillion over the next four decades counting interest, a study released on Thursday said.

The war has killed at least 134,000 Iraqi civilians and may have contributed to the deaths of as many as four times that number, according to the Costs of War Project by the Watson Institute for International Studies at Brown University.

When security forces, insurgents, journalists and humanitarian workers were included, the war's death toll rose to an estimated 176,000 to 189,000, the study said.

The report, the work of about 30 academics and experts, was published in advance of the 10th anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq on March 19, 2003.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

What does all this have to do

What does all this have to do with Governor LePage paying or not paying unpaid hospital bills that were left for his administration to deal with by John Elias Baldacci? Just askin'.

Bob White's picture

So whats your point? Are you

So whats your point? Are you going to pull up information on all the wars that we have fought in history? The sitting president has given us twice as much debt so I dont see your point other then being a simple tin and blaming GWB for all our problems.
I dont think that their is anything I can say( nor do I care to even try) that will make you see anything other then your one sided point of veiw. I cant believe that one person in our goverment can make up such a lie (the war ) and get most everybody to vote for it. Im sure some people in Washington on both sides of the ile had the same information that GWB and they still went for it. The problem with us now day is that we have short term memories Example let small knives back on board of air planes Gee didnt they use box cutters to take down the planes.But in your simple mind that was GWB that did that as well.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

What I'd like to know is,

What I'd like to know is, what's our exit strategy for the war on poverty? The number of poor people in America since BHO has taken office has increased dramatically. Does having 48 million Americans on food stamps mean we are winning this war?

JERRY ARIPEZ's picture


Release the drunks so they can serve St Pat by falling to their knees all over the streets and driving on the roads killing those on the way to church....
Profits kill those that have an agenda for In God We Trust, our green beer and money will bring happiness.

Steve  Dosh's picture

Lawmakers hand early St. Patrick's Day drinking to Gov. LePage

Scott ? Thursday in Chicagoland
We thought Le Page was ƒrench ?
Q: How do the Irish celebrate St. Paddy's day ?
A; They go a different bar • /s Steve :)


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