Under the Dome: Inside the Maine State House

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


While most attention in Augusta now is on politics, specifically the ins and outs of the Governor’s race, some policy discussions remain ongoing in Augusta.  This week, the Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee held an interim meeting to receive updates on various matters related to the State budget.  The Government Oversight Committee also met this week to discuss ongoing oversight issues.  Scheduled in the near future are interim meetings of both the Environment and Natural Resources and Veterans and Legal Affairs Committees.  While few decisions can be made between sessions, these meetings do shape proposals that will be submitted when the Legislature reconvenes after November’s elections.   


Almost two weeks ago, the Governor’s Office confirmed that Robert Martin, President of the Maine Technology Instituted (“MTI”) had been removed from that position.  MTI was established in 1999 to provide financial and technical assistance to early-stage companies.  The Administration provided few details regarding Martin’s removal, who was the second President to leave this position during the Governor’s tenure.  Department of Economic Community Development staff person Brian Whitney has been named as Acting Director.  Whitney is well known in business and economic development circles, as he worked in this field for a number of years for U.S. Senator Olympia Snowe. 


In July, what was a disagreement between Governor LePage and Attorney General Janet Mills regarding the Administration’s ability to influence whether municipalities distribute General Assistance to “unlawfully present aliens” took a new turn when the Maine Municipal Association, along with the Cities of Portland and Westbrook, filed suit against the Administration in Maine’s Superior Court.  Since that time, this litigation has only become more complex.  Two asylum seekers in Maine, represented by the American Civil Liberties Union of Maine and Maine Equal Justice Partners, have filed motions seeking to join this suit.  The State has responded to the initial complaint by seeking to have this case removed to federal court and by alleging counterclaims against the Maine Municipal Association and the two cities.  This will continue to be a high-profile case.  


This week, the Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee met to receive briefings on a number of issues, including pay raises for attorneys working for the Attorney General.  The Committee learned that legislatively approved pay raises for Assistant Attorneys General have not been issued by the Governor, while raises for District Attorneys and Assistant District Attorneys have been issued.  The Governor and Attorney General Janet Mills have clashed in recent months and the Attorney General said that this decision “seems political.”  The Governor’s Office responded that this decision is simply a reaction to a budget shortfall within the Attorney General’s Office.

Written by:

Published In:

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

Don't miss a thing! Build a custom news brief:

Read fresh new writing on compliance, cybersecurity, Dodd-Frank, whistleblowers, social media, hiring & firing, patent reform, the NLRB, Obamacare, the SEC…

…or whatever matters the most to you. Follow authors, firms, and topics on JD Supra.

Create your news brief now - it's free and easy »

All the intelligence you need, in one easy email:

Great! Your first step to building an email digest of JD Supra authors and topics. Log in with LinkedIn so we can start sending your digest...

Sign up for your custom alerts now, using LinkedIn ›

* 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.