Maine Gov. Paul LePage said during a radio interview that he has vetoed bills that would bar the use of hand-held devices while driving and prohibit those under 21 from buying cigarettes.

AUGUSTA — Blasting “social engineering,” Gov. Paul LePage said Tuesday he has vetoed measures that would bar the use of hand-held devices while driving and prohibit those under 21 from buying cigarettes.

In an interview with Bangor’s WVOM radio, the governor said he is “tired of living in a society” where lawmakers think they can regulate everything.

LePage called it “absolutely sinful” that some want to prevent sales of cigarettes to Mainers who are 18 or older and can be sent into war and give their lives for their country. If they’re mature enough to wear the nation’s uniform, he said, they should be trusted to make their own decisions.

LePage also denounced the cell phone ban for drivers that legislators approved this month.

He said if existing statutes that prohibit texting while driving and distracted driving are not working, then officials need to figure why and then fix the laws. “Let’s not just add laws,” the governor said.

He said technology will likely solve the cell phone issue.


LePage said he sees all sorts of distracted driving, from women putting on their makeup while behind the wheel to people have a sandwich.

He offered a different solution to the problem legislators were trying to address: “Every driver has to have both hands on the wheel at all times.”

Lawmakers are unlikely to override the cell phone ban veto but may be able to block cigarette sales to those under 21 at a planned veto session in August.

LePage also mentioned the American Civil Liberties Union demand that he stop deleting comments and banning people from his verified Facebook page.

“I don’t have anything to do with that,” the governor said. “The governor’s office does not have a Facebook. We just don’t do that.”

LePage did not explain how he puts live video on a Facebook page that he has nothing do with or why he said recently that his office can go around the traditional media by using Facebook to reach people directly.

The governor said he personally hasn’t been on Facebook in years.

He did not say what he plans to do in response to the ACLU.

“The lawyers are handling it,” LePage said.

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