Republicans flip to sustain vetoes

AUGUSTA — They voted for it before they voted against it.

That cliche will haunt a host of state lawmakers this year as they try to explain why they abandoned bills they previously supported to sustain vetoes of the legislation by Gov. Paul LePage.

The most recent examples include Rep. Jarrod Crockett, R-Bethel, who voted in favor of a bill that would have allowed Maine to accept federal funds to expand the state's Medicaid system, MaineCare.

In fact, Crockett voted for the bill three times — on June 3, June 12 and June 19, when he voted to override LePage's veto. But when the veto vote was reconsidered later that day, Crockett voted against the measure.

Crockett said he was outraged over parliamentary procedures the Democrats used to stall the finality of the veto override vote June 19, after they saw they didn't have the votes to prevail.

Other Republicans complained that the move by Rep. Seth Berry, D-Bowdoinham, to table the vote was "Chicago-style" politics and a move out of President Barack Obama's playbook.

Rep. Corey Wilson, R-Augusta, shouted from the floor to ensure House Speaker Mark Eves, D-Berwick, kept the roll call open long enough so that all representatives — some literally running to the House chamber — could get to their seats in time to vote.

Wilson later said he was shocked and disappointed by what he saw, as Eves attempted to hurry up the process in hopes some Republicans would miss the vote.

"Honestly, I held my vote because there were members, including my own leadership, that hadn't voted yet," Wilson said. "I don't think he gave more than 20 seconds."

Wilson, who supported the bill on three prior occasions, stuck with his yes vote and voted in favor of the override. Three other Republicans — Reps. Donald Marean, R-Hollis, Carol McElwee, R-Caribou, and Tom Tyler, R-Windham — also stood by their votes.

Wilson said he believed the measure was the most important bill going before the House this year. He felt strongly that regardless of where any member was on the bill, they got a chance to vote. But, he said, he wasn't about to change his vote.

"I believe it's not right to ever send a mixed signal," Wilson said. "And while I was quite dissatisfied — and I think that was pretty obvious — I just didn't want there to be any confusion about where I stood on the issue."

Crockett said he, too, supported the bill and supported overriding LePage's veto but was so outraged by what he called the "shady politics" of the way Eves was running the vote that he protested by voting to sustain the veto on the final roll call. The override failed by two votes.

"What (Eves) tried to do," Crockett said, "... he was trying to get a second bite at the apple by hoping that people went home or weren't in their seats.

The process is more important than the outcome, Crockett said Friday. He expressed dismay that his GOP colleagues banded together with the governor to reject what would have been an infusion of about $900 million to the state from the federal government.

Wilson and Crockett said they were lobbied heavily from all sides on the issue. They described the defeat of the expansion of Medicaid as one of the most important issues for Republicans in the Legislature this session.

At one point after the second veto-override vote, House Assistant Minority Leader Alex Willette, R-Mapleton, exclaimed, "Well, that dragon has been slayed."

Other bills that received broad bipartisan support also saw large numbers of Republicans switching sides after a LePage veto. 

The governor has vetoed 31 bills. Only two have been overturned by the House, and one of those was sustained in the Senate. It's the second largest number of vetoes since Gov. James Longley, an independent, vetoed 49 bills in 1975.

One bill, LD 1044, would have provided a so-called "affirmative defense" for people who reported drug overdoses. Many witnesses to drug overdoses in Maine also are using drugs, and the bill would have provided them with the possibility of immunity if they quickly reported an overdose. Supporters of the bill said it would save lives.

The bill was voted out of both the House and Senate on unanimous voice votes, or went "under the hammer" — was gaveled through by the speaker and Senate President Justin Alfond because no one asked for a roll-call vote, as is usually the case with controversial bills.

But when the bill was vetoed and came back to the Senate, 14 Republicans voted to sustain LePage's veto; in the House, 47 sided with LePage, effectively killing the bill. Legislators need a two-thirds majority vote to override a veto.

Republican Sen. Roger Katz of Augusta maintained his support of the bill and sided with Democrats to overturn the governor's veto. Katz said Friday the vote was particularly important to him because the weekend before the vote, three people overdosed on heroin in Augusta.

Katz said the flipping of votes isn't uncommon. While he stopped short of defending the practice, he said there was no caucus-wide directive to support LePage. 

"I think there's a natural inclination for people to want to support their governor," Katz said. "I think that's true for Democrats as well as Republicans."

He said a number of the bills that went out on unanimous votes would have had direct impacts on government resources. LePage served as a check in that process and used his veto to conserve resources for higher priorities in times of tight budgets, Katz said.

"Those departments just don't have the in-house resources to just drop everything and study things and report back to the Legislature without dropping other important things they are already doing," Katz said. "So before you start loading departments with more work, consider giving them additional resources."

He said those types of unfunded mandates "are fundamentally unfair."

David Sorensen, spokesman for House Republicans, said lawmakers often change their minds as new information comes forward. He also said the House Republican caucus was under no directive to stand with LePage.

"There rarely is any caucus directive. Our members are very independent," Sorensen said.

He said if Democrats tried to paint an image of lawmakers flipping on their votes, there are ample examples, including a recent House vote to override a LePage veto, where they stood their ground and sided with Democrats.

"It's not a matter of simply sticking with the governor," Sorensen said. "It's a matter of we received new information from the executive branch that sways the caucus."

Sorensen pointed to at least two veto overrides in which Republicans joined Democrats. He said it was more evidence there wasn't a party position to support LePage blindly.

Still, Democrats said they were "mystified" by a number of votes that looked solid going out of the Legislature only to flip on the veto, said Jodi Quintero, spokeswoman for House Democrats.

The next big vote that likely will face lawmakers will be whether to override a veto of a legislative budget bill that passed with two-thirds support in both the House and Senate.

"We believe we can avoid a government shutdown or a massive shift of taxes to property taxpayers statewide if Republicans just stand by their votes," Quintero said. "That's all they have to do is stand by their votes."

Wilson said Friday he intends to maintain his support for the Legislature's budget and will vote in favor of overriding a veto, if it comes.

Katz said if the House, which will get the budget veto first, overrides LePage, the Senate will follow suit. 

"A number of senators have expressed their intention to support the work of the Appropriations Committee," Katz said.

The Legislature will reconvene on Wednesday, June 26, to take up any remaining vetoes sent from LePage's office. As of Friday, no budget veto had been issued.

sthistle@sunjournal.com

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Comments

Steve  Dosh's picture

Republicans flip to sustain vetoes

Mainers , Saturday 14:00
. . Your RHINO republicans and tea partyers are like ƒish
First they flip , then they flop
They only swim with the prevailing current , too
Q: You know how a lawyer sleeps ?
A: First (s)he lies on one side , then the other

The flounder is my fav. ƒish
Q: You wanna' know why ? ( sure you do ! )
A: Because even a ƒlounder can choose sides . ..

Jellyfish , they are
No spines , no guts , no glory
hth ? Steve

CRYSTAL WARD's picture

the people first!

It is the job of an elected Maine Senator and Rep.to work to help the people not to participate in "political theater". It would appear that "political theater" was far
more important to Sen. Crockett than the people of Maine. It sounds like a 7th graders " I don't like you anymore because you said something or did something " Get back to the job of doing what is best for all of the people in Maine--

CLAIRE GAMACHE's picture

The team

So Rep. Crockett initially thought that providing health insurance for 60,000 Mainers who work but are too poor to buy it was a good thing but he changed his vote because he didn't like Rep. Eves. Somehow that was more important to him than 60,000 Mainers, their health even some of their lives. The other guys just decided they were elected to support their team and not the citizens of the state of Maine. So even though they initially thought this was a good bill the team took precedence. This is crass corruption and politics at its worse. I truly cannot believe that when people cast their vote that this is what they are voting for. If these guys cannot figure out what good legislation is without somebody else spelling it out for them they should go home and leave legislating to somebody who can think.

ANTHONY NAZAR's picture

Having it both ways

Republican pols are utterly terrified of the eyeball spinners on the right. At the same time, they have to keep happy those who can actually think rather than just react as they're told to by the Koch's Americans For Prosperity.

To that end, they vote for a good piece of legislation knowing that the pinhead in the Blaine House will veto it, maybe even provide another soundbyte of obscene visualizations to further embarrass Mainers. That veto will allow Republican legislators to salve the ruffled feathers of the extreme right wing by flipping to the Tea Party side.

Didn't Dubya's crew skewer Kerry for voting for something before he voted against it? Oh wait, Kerry is a Democrat, so it's okay for te Rovians to point out something like that.

Why do you think this will

Why do you think this will come back to haunt GOP members. Politicians switch votes all the time on both sides. You sound kind of biased to me against GOP legislators. What matters most is that they got it right in the end.

DANNY FITZSIMMONS's picture

politicians stand for themselfs

politicians stand for themselves enough said!

JERRY ARIPEZ's picture

Give the good people of Maine a break....

The Dems are not use to

The Dems are not use to hearing the word no. No is not a bad word. I hope our Governor keeps saying no, to all of these stupid tax raising and economy killing bills. The Dems have screwed this state up so bad over the last 40 years, so its going to take alot more nos to get Maine moving in right direction.

Bob White's picture

Dennis do you want to know

Dennis do you want to know what will make the dumbacrats say no? Ask them to do something for the working people ask them to give us a break.

Amen brother, Amen!!!

Amen brother, Amen!!!

ANTHONY NAZAR's picture

WHAT!!!!

What do you think Boehner and McConnell have been doing for 5 years. If President Obama (elected by a majority of the people who actually took the time to vote), if Obama proposes that the National Park Service 2 cases of toilet paper rather than one, McConnell entertains a filibuster and Boehner refuses to bring it to the floor.

The Greedy Old Phools are known for their obstruction. they are the Party of No.

Thank God the GOP got the

Thank God the GOP got the House of Reps in 2010, if not we may be heading towards 30 Trillion in Debt instead of 20 Trillion.

Jason Theriault's picture

This is why they should have stalled the hospital vote

This is why they should have stalled the hospital vote. Should have made it the very last thing, telling Republicans it won't be voted on unless they override vetos. They are playing games, so why not play them as well.

FRANK EARLEY's picture

Define the Republican Party of Maine...........

Trying to keep up with all the totally insane , idiotic and stupid moves by the Republican party, both local and nationally, has become a full time effort. I have not been able to turn on the news, read the paper, or even talk among friends for a week now, without learning of yet another seemingly intentional attempt by Republicans to outdo one another. If it's not Paul LePage, it's Mitch McConnell, or John Boehner, my personal favorite. For some reason it seems to be escalating at an alarming rate. I'm trying to figure out what they are trying to accomplish, but it just seems to be one stupid stunt after another.
I have noticed the recent uptick of legislative voting irregularities. You hear of a bill passing unanimously, only to have the Governor veto it, then the vote to over ride the veto amazingly has fewer yes votes than previously noted, it's been quite obvious. There seems to be a mysterious illness spreading in the State House lately, and it only seems to be affecting Republicans. It's a tricky little ailment reminiscent of selective spinal dysfunction. Evidently everything seems fine, until it comes time to stand up to his majesty the Governor. Apparently at this point more and more Republicans are loosing the function of their spines. Unfortunately the only cure for this debilitating condition, won't be available for two more years. In the mean time, I call for quarantining all Republicans from voting in the name of sanity. I feel it's the only way to guarantee responsible voting habits in both the House and Senate. Without this drastic measure we will only continue to go around in circles.
So I'm calling for the immediate cancellation of the Republican Parties voting rights, until such time as they can prove that they are able to vote twice in a row, the same way. From what I've witnessed in the past couple of weeks, this could take quite a while. I wish them a speedy recovery....................

I think the majority of

I think the majority of Americans are now seeing how corrupt our Presdent is from his cronies running the IRS, to his lying Attorney General and former Secretary of State. The more the main stream media exposes the truth, the more Obamas poll numbers drop. You just cant blame it on Fox News anymore!!!!

JERRY ARIPEZ's picture

Negativity is a repubs/teabaggers way of life

Got that? Before Republicans were going to prove that Obama’s administration was involved. All of the evidence suggests it wasn’t.

So now McConnell is framing the question as Obama trying to prove he wasn't involved. Oh course since McConnell and the rest of you sad waste of skins, the, we have nothing, lets continue to make more twisted lies up, huh?

Which, of course, he can’t. For that matter, McConnell can't prove that either since, the President didn't mastermind the IRS. You can't prove a negative.

But Americans, really, truly are seeing that the Repubs have an agenda to get nothing done again once more since McConnell failed on his drive to force Obama out this time also.

So as the moronic right continues to try and frame, that all is bad about the office of the President and continue to waste America's time, but more importantly the endless waste of monies by a 9% useless Congress with the worst approval in American history.

The ironic and laughable craziness this all makes profoundly visible , is your kind are so stupidly proud of all this wasted motivation. THIS is where Americans are really seeing the GOP and ISSA as totally useless. Just accepting the reality of , YOU LOST, you should move on would be beneficial for the country... get over it....move on and stop wasting everybody's time and start doing a real lawmakers job that they are suppose to do to get paid for, instead of giving the impression of making busy work and attacking personal social issues and making up scandals from nothing concretely solid.

Worst off, Dennis get an education instead of spouting off your nonsense....stop letting Faux noise do your thinking....

You dont have to to college

You dont have to to college to have common sense, something your lacking.

JERRY ARIPEZ's picture

Educate yourself before frothing at the mouth...at least try....

The IRS Commissioner under Pres Obama was a Bush appointee...

Former IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman, a George W. Bush appointee who ran the tax agency when low-level employees wrongly singled out conservative groups...FYI.....that low level employee who recommended that was a HARDCORE CONSERVATIVE for your information also....

http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2013/05/senate-irs-tea-party-scandal-hea...

--------------------------------
Lying Attorney General, is that what Issa said and Repubs said, but again another twisted framed up scandal gone wrong again by the indicative teabaggers gone wild looking for meat...

You should get off Faux noise, since fox is the worst informative network recorded.
-------------------------------
Public Policy Polling released its annual survey testing how Americans view a variety of cable and broadcast news outlets. The public’s trust in Fox News Channel has declined but the cable news outlet remains America’s most trusted source of information.

http://www.mediaite.com/tv/poll-fox-news-still-americas-most-and-least-t...

George Bush made several

George Bush made several stupid decisions, one was Shulman, another Supreme Court Justice Roberts. Both have bit the American people real bad. Many Americans have lost trust in our Government, most are realiizing now just how corrupt the Obama administration is.

Washington (CNN) – President Barack Obama's approval rating dropped eight percentage points over the past month, to 45%, the president's lowest rating in more than a year and a half, according to a new national poll.

When CNN the Communist News Network is reporting this, you know its bad, and maybe even worse than what they reporting.

JERRY ARIPEZ's picture

Stupid Bush?

Please, you left out the largest blunder and lie of all...The one that took over 4000 American lives and trillions of dollars on two wars built on lies.

But you poor misfortunate fools grieve over the lost lives of JUST 4 in Benghazi for another concocted mud slinging, lets gets blacky, for another red meat fund raiser for the right...You should all be ashamed for using those deaths for fund raisers alone, never mind the that those 4 knowingly put their lives in harms way by doing the job, they accepted, like those other 4000 others and the thousands of severely wounded that too have to live with Bushes lies and deceit.

Those are truly the informed populace that can see the smoke and do recognize the lies and deceit of the Far Right Wingnuts....your true Communist party of lies and propaganda using twisted made up facts and truths as talking points....

your a dingbat, your kind is

your a dingbat, your kind is a dime a dozen on the internet.

JERRY ARIPEZ's picture

It is spelled "you're"

Example; You're incompetent of saying anything that is even close to assembling words meaningful or having any logical deductive reasoning and are left to retorts of nonsensical comments. But, then again, I wouldn't expect anything less.

JERRY ARIPEZ's picture

For Christ sake

how corrupt the Obama administration is. For which?
Money or personal gain?

45% is par for the course in a 2nd term president and even by far worst for others in the past....that doesn't mean diddly squat...

Give us one that hasn't had it's ups or down, but it appears the adjective or verb of the word, "corrupt" appears to be a simpletons word of choice
nowadays...

Corrupt
--------------------
Adjective
Having or showing a willingness to act dishonestly in return for money or personal gain.
--------------------
Verb
Cause to act dishonestly in return for money or personal gain.
------------------------
Many Americans have lost trust in our Government,????? BIG Brush there Dennis.....

No, mostly those that lost the election are and that was 47% of Romney supporters, again another far reached moronic assumption on the right wing mentality of low informed thinkers of the right as well....

FRANK EARLEY's picture

Fox News couldn't make it.............

Fox News needs the Republican teabaggers just to stay in business. Your right, they haven't been very effective lately, due to their incesive need to broadcast the same story for months, if not years at a time. Its the Republicans themselves doing the most damage to themselves. I don't seem to recall any Democrat or Independent indicating the improper use of Vaseline on TV. If that wasn't a pure case of exasperation, I don't know what is. Whats with all the Repub's voting one way then the other? Is that a new tactic I haven't seen? No its a sign of an implosive party's last ditch effort to gain some ground. Well that ground is slowly disappearing. They unwittingly planning their own demise.........................

For the GOP legislators

For the GOP legislators who've stuck with Gov Lepage, I say thank you. Political courage is making hard decisions, and not going with whats political correct. When you run for relection, run with your head held up. Theres nothing wrong with being the party of no new taxes and job killing regulations.

Bob White's picture

Did you forget what the

Did you forget what the second in commend of the Dumbucratis said? The F bomb that's the thing with the Dumbucrats they have short term memory

Hey Bob, it wasn't funny ther

Hey Bob, it wasn't funny ther first time you said "Dumbucratis". Repeating it over and over again just makes it less funny and more desperate.

And no, I'm not one of them. It also annoys me when my liberal friends resort to the same tactics to belittle those they disagree with, talking of "Banksters" and "Teabaggers" as if that will give the rest of of a V-8 moment saying, "Oh! Of course! You're saying the Wall Street bankers are no better than the mob and Tea Party members like going to gay strip clubs!"

Drop the name calling and come up with a cogent argument, please, or I will continue to call you a "Reptiblican." That's not funny either, but at least it's a language you apparently understand.

FRANK EARLEY's picture

Hell I'm still getting used to being left handed.......

After my right shoulder was repaired last year, I almost did become left handed, I thank Bob for reminding me of my being left handed. As for the "Dumbucratis", used in the right context, he might even sound intelligent. The fact that it has no definition, well, that never stopped a Republican before. Let's just hope FOX News doesn't pick up on it............

Steve  Dosh's picture

ƒrank Hell's bells :D Love

ƒrank Hell's bells :D Love your comments • Both " Mr. Viagra " ( R - KS ) Bob Dole and our Senator Dan Inoye ( R I P D - HI ) lost the use of their arms in WW II , but that didn't stop them huh ¿
/s Steve in Hawai'i http://www.goforbroke.org/

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