Under the Dome: Inside the Maine State House 4.6.12

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Augusta, ME

Under the Dome: Inside the Maine State House is a weekly update that provides a high-level overview of recent activity at the Maine State House. If you would like more specific information regarding an item in this newsletter or related to government relations, please contact a member of our Government Relations Practice Group: John Delahanty, Andrea C. Maker, or Avery Day.

This Week’s Highlights

  • First LePage Veto Overridden by Legislature
  • Additional Information Affecting Budget Timetable
  • Session Schedule Predictions

First LePage Veto Overridden by Legislature

Governor LePage had his first veto overridden by the Legislature this week.  The Governor has issued 17 vetoes since taking office, with the first 16 being sustained by the Legislature.  The bill at issue, LD 1003, relates to federal funding of medical services for special education students at schools.  Two-thirds of both chambers must vote to override a gubernatorial veto.  The House voted 124 – 16 to override the veto and the Senate voted unanimously to override the veto.  This vote has been interpreted by some as an effort by Republican legislators, who are running for reelection this year, to distance themselves from Governor LePage.

Additional Information Affecting Budget Timetable

This week, the Appropriations Committee received information regarding two distinct issues that may delay completion of budget bills this legislative session.  Early in the week, it was reported that the State had not accounted for $14 million in revenues that were deposited in January.  This is good news for the budget.  At the same time, this means that current revenue projections were based on incorrect figures and that revenues may have to be re-projected before the Legislature can complete work on budget matters, which will delay legislative action.

Later in the week, the Appropriations Committee also learned that the computer error that came to light last month that allowed 19,000 ineligible people to remain on MaineCare was not corrected as anticipated and that an additional 5,300 ineligible people may have remained on MaineCare over the past three months.  Again, this information will likely complicate the timeline for completion of budget legislation.

Session Schedule Predictions

In the run up to the end of the legislative session there is plenty of speculation regarding when the Legislature will adjourn.  Until just recently, the target date was today, April 6, 2012.  Obviously, more work remains.  The Legislature will be in next week, with the hope that all work except bonds and budget work will be completed.  The Legislature will likely recess for some period of time and then come back in to finish bond and budget matters.  Of course, this is all subject to change.