Gov. Paul LePage Accidentally Turning Maine Into Feminist Paradise, Haha, Whoops
Wacky ol' rubber bag of infected pus and Maine Gov. Paul LePage is one comical fella. Last week, we told you how he thought he had "pocket vetoed" 19 bills by doing nothing about them, but had actually screwed the procedural pooch because the Maine Legislature had not actually adjourned, and so the bills became law. The fun continues, because as of Sunday, Democratic lawmakers say that an additional 51 bills have become law because LePage refused to do anything about them on time. Among the bills was an expansion of Medicaid funding for reproductive health that will benefit some 13,000 women in the Pine Tree State. But not so fast, says LePage -- he's gonna take the whole thing to the state supreme court, and he'll win, because Democrats are dumm and he is smrt.
See, the way Maine's "pocket veto" works is that if the Legislature has adjourned its session, the governor can sit on a passed bill for 10 days, and then it just dies, with no chance for the Legislature to override the veto since they've all gone home (in LePage's case, the bills may actually commit suicide rather than spend 10 days under his butt). But if the Legislature is still in session, the governor's inaction causes the bill to become law. And so, last week, 19 bills became law after LePage did nothing with them; then this weekend another 10-day period passed with no action, so even more bills became law, YAY!
Oh, but Paul LePage does not think this is a true thing at all, no way!
LePage has said he won’t enforce the laws and is expected to take the issue to the Maine Supreme Judicial Court. He said that because lawmakers adjourned last month, the requirement that he must act on a bill within 10 days doesn’t apply.
Democratic leaders insist the Legislature did not adjourn, but instead “recessed” until Thursday to take up more vetoes expected from the governor and finish other work for the session. A recess would keep the 10-day deadline in place.
In an opinion issued Friday, Attorney General Janet Mills sided with the Democratic view and said 19 other bills with an earlier deadline for action by the governor have become law.
You know, this is starting to sound a bit like a legislative version of that stupid story arc in Friends where Ross slept with another lady because he thought he and Rachel had "broken up," but she said they were "on a break." And suddenly we are worried that the Paul LePage hairdo will be the next big thing.
In disregarding the attorney general's opinion, LePage is relying on the time-honored governing principle of "La-la-la I can't hear you," as well as the precedent set in Boss of Me v. You Can't Make Me (1962). State Rep. Joyce "Jay" McCreight, who sponsored the Medicaid expansion for women's health, was certainly acting as if the bill had become law, which seems pretty disrespectful of LePage, who plans to "veto" the already-enacted legislation later this week. On Facebook, McCreight wrote:
My bill, LD 319 becomes LAW! Low income women and men will now have access to reproductive health care and family services -- a key to achieving economic stability -- and saving Maine taxpayers millions! [...]
Thanks to the chief executive's attempt to overturn the hard work of the legislature and his monumental misunderstanding of the veto process, much good legislation is now law.
In response to McCreight's cruel taunts, LePage reportedly disinvited her from his birthday party and refused to acknowledge the legislator's presence, pretending that he doesn't know any such person. Then he burst into tears and ran to his room.
LePage spokesman Peter Steele insisted the bills weren't either laws, no way, and that LePage will return them to the Legislature when it reconvenes, and might also give all the Democrats wedgies:
Steele said in an email that Democrats and their “hand-picked” attorney general are entitled to their opinion, but that LePage believes Mainers deserve a “truly objective opinion from a higher legal authority.”
Should the state supreme court rule that the bills are indeed laws, LePage is reportedly planning to throw a tantrum, then come over to the Legislature's house and break all its toys.
Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.