Under the Dome: Inside the Maine State House 10.19.12

by Pierce Atwood LLP

Augusta, ME

Under the Dome: Inside the Maine State House 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.

Augusta’s Focus on Elections

Most everyone’s attention in State government and in the Maine media is on November’s elections, which are less than three weeks away. Without wading into specific contests, it is worth noting that the voters will have a lot to say when they go to the polls. This year, Maine voters will vote on the Presidency, a U.S. Senate seat, both Congressional seats, the balance of power in both the Maine Senate and the Maine House as well as the same-sex marriage question and four bond issues. With so much at stake, it is no wonder all attention is on Election Day.

Governor Promotes Staff to Legal Positions

When Dan Billings took his seat on the Maine bench, the position of chief legal counsel in the Governor’s Office became vacant. This week, Governor LePage promoted his deputy legal counsel, Michael Cianchette, to chief legal counsel and the Governor also promoted Carlisle McLean to general counsel. McLean will retain her role as senior natural resources policy advisor. Both Cianchette and McLean have served the Governor since the beginning of his Administration in 2011.

Deputy Commissioner of Department of Labor Named

Richard Freund has been appointed as the new Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Labor. He replaces former Deputy Commissioner Jeanne Paquette, who is now the Commissioner of the Department. Freund has worked for the Department for three years and worked for the State Workforce Investment Board before serving at the Department of Labor. Before serving the State, Freund worked in the private sector, including 16 years at Citigroup.

State Revenues Below Projections for First Quarter of State’s Fiscal Year

This week, it was announced that State revenues are almost $27 million below revenue projections for the first three months of the State’s fiscal year, which began on July 1st. Tax revenues were down in every major category, including individual income tax, sales tax, corporate income tax and the tobacco tax. Because revenues have been down each month, it is possible that the Revenue Forecasting Committee will revise revenue projections downward in its next forecast. A revision downward will only complicate the Administration’s task of formulating a biennial budget, as the Bureau of the Budget has already projected a structural gap during the next biennium that must be closed in order to balance the State’s budget. The structural gap coupled with shrinking revenues indicates that budget negotiations will occupy a very large portion of the legislative agenda next session.

Energy Remains a High Priority on the Governor’s Agenda

Energy remains a hot topic in Augusta, indicating that this will be a major issue of debate during the 126th Legislature. The Maine Heritage Policy Center recently released a report examining the benefits and costs of Maine’s renewable portfolio standard, which mandates that a certain percentage of retail electricity sales come from renewable sources. Governor LePage followed up on this report by criticizing the renewable portfolio standard in a weekly radio address, calling the mandate an “economic barrier” that harms Maine families and businesses. The Governor’s Office also released a web video of the Governor discussing energy and the renewable portfolio standard. Clearly, energy costs remain a priority for the Governor and this issue will be debated in the 126th Legislature.

Maine Moves Up in State Business Tax Climate Index

The Tax Foundation, a national think tank focused on state and federal tax policy with “pro-business” leanings, recently released its 2013 State Business Tax Climate Index. Under this index, Maine now ranks 30th. This ranking is notable, however, as Maine advanced seven positions on the index – the most sizable rank improvement this year. Maine’s repeal of the alternative minimum tax and a change in the treatment of net operating losses were cited as the primary reasons for Maine’s improved rank.

State Seeking Companies Interested in Developing Energy Corridors

The recently created Interagency Review Panel is now seeking letters of interest from companies that are interested in developing energy transmission projects (electricity and natural gas transmission) along Maine’s I-95 and I-295 corridors. In 2010, legislation was enacted designating three energy corridors in Maine, establishing the Interagency Review Panel and creating a process by which the Panel would identify developers of energy projects. As originally envisioned, this statutory scheme would potentially provide a mechanism for electricity generated in Canada to be transmitted through Maine, though there may be potential for other uses of these corridors.


Written by:

Pierce Atwood LLP

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):

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.


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.