Under The Dome: Inside The Maine State House 3-21-14

by Pierce Atwood LLP
Contact

Under the Dome: Inside the Maine State House provides a high-level overview of recent activity at the Maine State House.

This Week’s Highlights

Appropriations Committee Reports Out Supplemental Budget and “Rainy Day” Fund Bill

At 3:00 a.m. on March 19th, the Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee voted unanimously to report out two budget-related bills. The Committee agreed to a proposal submitted by Governor LePage to restore roughly $20 million to the State’s “rainy day” fund, LD 1807. The Governor objected to this fund being diminished earlier in the session to provide revenue sharing dollars to municipalities and vowed he would not issue voter-authorized bonds until the fund was restored.

The Committee also agreed to a supplemental spending bill, LD 1843, that closes a roughly $40 million budget gap for the current fiscal year, which ends June 30th, and contains some supplemental spending dollars for the second half of the biennium. This bill will solve the State’s most immediate budget needs as legislators determine what action they are going to take to address funding shortfalls for the next fiscal year. Both of these proposals should be brought to the floors of the House and Senate quickly.

Medicaid Expansion Proposal Approved in Both Chambers, Another Readied for Action

This week, LD 1487, a bill that ties the issue of Medicaid expansion to the establishment of a managed care program in the MaineCare system, was enacted in the House. Last week, this bill received majority support in the Senate and was voted to be engrossed in that chamber. Despite support in both chambers, neither body produced a veto-proof majority in support of the bill. This is of consequence because Governor LePage is expected to veto this proposal, should it be sent to his desk.

While LD 1487 has been considered in both chambers, another Medicaid expansion proposal, LD 1578, is scheduled to be considered by both bodies soon. This second bill would expand the Medicaid program without implementing a managed care program. This proposal has been reported out of the Health and Human Services Committee and could be considered in the House as soon as today, March 21st. Should this proposal be sent to the Governor, it is also expected to face a gubernatorial veto.

Governor Introduces a Spate of New Legislation

During the month of March alone, Governor LePage has introduced 16 new bills. These bills span many issue areas and touch on themes often discussed by the Governor publicly. Among these recently introduced bills are:

  • Four proposals to reform the TANF program by requiring work searches by beneficiaries and limiting the use of EBT cards to in-state purchases and limiting what can be purchased with EBT cards.
  • A proposal to restore the State’s “rainy day” fund.
  • A proposal to implement the Governor’s plan to combat the use of illegal drugs by providing funding for additional District Court Judge positions, additional Maine Drug Enforcement Agency officers and additional prosecutors within the Attorney General’s office.
  • A proposal to assess local school districts for costs associated with remedial coursework by students enrolled in a State-affiliated higher education institution.
  • A proposal to send an advisory referendum to the voters regarding tax reform.
  • A proposal to limit the ability of the federal government to acquire more than five square miles of land for various government purposes, presumably to assert some control over any attempts to establish a north woods national park in Maine.
  • A proposal to empower the Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices to investigate the accuracy of campaign statements.
  • A proposal to create “open for business zones” that would provide various tax and labor benefits to very large job-generating projects.
  • A proposal to provide heating assistance to Mainers through funds generated by increased timber harvesting on state land.
  • A proposal to reduce income taxes on pensions.

Many of these proposals are major changes in State policy and they have already received media attention. It is unclear how many of these proposals may advance, given the policies at play and the fact that the Legislature is scheduled to adjourn by April 16th.

Governor’s Veto Overridden

This week, Governor LePage vetoed LD 39, An Act to Expand the number of Qualified Educators. This bill allows retired teachers to receive full pay while receiving a pension. Current law provides that retired teachers who are still working and receiving pensions are only allowed to receive 75 percent of their salary. This veto was considered in the House and then the Senate, with both bodies voting overwhelmingly to override the Governor’s veto.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Pierce Atwood LLP | Attorney Advertising

Written by:

Pierce Atwood LLP
Contact
more
less

Pierce Atwood LLP on:

Readers' Choice 2017
Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:
Sign up using*

Already signed up? Log in here

*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.
Privacy Policy (Updated: October 8, 2015):
hide

JD Supra provides users with access to its legal industry publishing services (the "Service") through its website (the "Website") as well as through other sources. Our policies with regard to data collection and use of personal information of users of the Service, regardless of the manner in which users access the Service, and visitors to the Website are set forth in this statement ("Policy"). By using the Service, you signify your acceptance of this Policy.

Information Collection and Use by JD Supra

JD Supra collects users' names, companies, titles, e-mail address and industry. JD Supra also tracks the pages that users visit, logs IP addresses and aggregates non-personally identifiable user data and browser type. This data is gathered using cookies and other technologies.

The information and data collected is used to authenticate users and to send notifications relating to the Service, including email alerts to which users have subscribed; to manage the Service and Website, to improve the Service and to customize the user's experience. This information is also provided to the authors of the content to give them insight into their readership and help them to improve their content, so that it is most useful for our users.

JD Supra does not sell, rent or otherwise provide your details to third parties, other than to the authors of the content on JD Supra.

If you prefer not to enable cookies, you may change your browser settings to disable cookies; however, please note that rejecting cookies while visiting the Website may result in certain parts of the Website not operating correctly or as efficiently as if cookies were allowed.

Email Choice/Opt-out

Users who opt in to receive emails may choose to no longer receive e-mail updates and newsletters by selecting the "opt-out of future email" option in the email they receive from JD Supra or in their JD Supra account management screen.

Security

JD Supra takes reasonable precautions to insure that user information is kept private. We restrict access to user information to those individuals who reasonably need access to perform their job functions, such as our third party email service, customer service personnel and technical staff. However, please note that no method of transmitting or storing data is completely secure and we cannot guarantee the security of user information. Unauthorized entry or use, hardware or software failure, and other factors may compromise the security of user information at any time.

If you have reason to believe that your interaction with us is no longer secure, you must immediately notify us of the problem by contacting us at info@jdsupra.com. In the unlikely event that we believe that the security of your user information in our possession or control may have been compromised, we may seek to notify you of that development and, if so, will endeavor to do so as promptly as practicable under the circumstances.

Sharing and Disclosure of Information JD Supra Collects

Except as otherwise described in this privacy statement, JD Supra will not disclose personal information to any third party unless we believe that disclosure is necessary to: (1) comply with applicable laws; (2) respond to governmental inquiries or requests; (3) comply with valid legal process; (4) protect the rights, privacy, safety or property of JD Supra, users of the Service, Website visitors or the public; (5) permit us to pursue available remedies or limit the damages that we may sustain; and (6) enforce our Terms & Conditions of Use.

In the event there is a change in the corporate structure of JD Supra such as, but not limited to, merger, consolidation, sale, liquidation or transfer of substantial assets, JD Supra may, in its sole discretion, transfer, sell or assign information collected on and through the Service to one or more affiliated or unaffiliated third parties.

Links to Other Websites

This Website and the Service may contain links to other websites. The operator of such other websites may collect information about you, including through cookies or other technologies. If you are using the Service through the Website and link to another site, you will leave the Website and this Policy will not apply to your use of and activity on those other sites. We encourage you to read the legal notices posted on those sites, including their privacy policies. We shall have no responsibility or liability for your visitation to, and the data collection and use practices of, such other sites. This Policy applies solely to the information collected in connection with your use of this Website and does not apply to any practices conducted offline or in connection with any other websites.

Changes in Our Privacy Policy

We reserve the right to change this Policy at any time. Please refer to the date at the top of this page to determine when this Policy was last revised. Any changes to our privacy policy will become effective upon posting of the revised policy on the Website. By continuing to use the Service or Website following such changes, you will be deemed to have agreed to such changes. If you do not agree with the terms of this Policy, as it may be amended from time to time, in whole or part, please do not continue using the Service or the Website.

Contacting JD Supra

If you have any questions about this privacy statement, the practices of this site, your dealings with this Web site, or if you would like to change any of the information you have provided to us, please contact us at: info@jdsupra.com.

- hide
*With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name. Or, sign up using your email address.