Veto Day in Maine

The Maine legislature will return for one day on May 2nd to deal with the hundred plus bills that were tabled when they adjourned in April.  Known as “veto day” it is not expected that many of the bills will be under serious consideration. Among the most significant issues that still have no solid answer or direction- bonds for roads, school security, rural broadband, school budgeting, tax conformity, Medicaid expansion and clean elections funding.  In addition to bills that have been tabled, enacting referendums that have passed are stalled as well. Referendums that passed in 2016 and 2017 have still not been implemented. Four members of the Independent caucus signed an op/ed in support of one of the referendums that passed with a large margin, Ranked Choice Voting which would make Maine the first in the nation to use it statewide.

In late April, some members of the Independent caucus joined forces to present a tax conformity package that addressed concerns from business and at the same time presented an opportunity to fund the Medicaid expansion.  Maine Public Radio characterized this as an opportunity to open the door for dialogue on a serious issue, that if delayed could significantly impact the new legislature when it convenes in January 2019. MPBN senior reporter Mal Leary reported on the independent tax conformity plan.  The press conference was streamed live on Facebook and was featured in the northern Maine local newspaper The Observer.

Overall, the media gave legislators poor remarks for the partisan stalemate that has become symbolic of the war between the parties. The Portland Press Herald called the partisan stalemate a speed bump.  The Bangor Daily News pointed out that the majority of energy in the legislature was spent on fighting.   

All seats in both the House and the Senate are up for grabs it remains to be seen if the inertia of this legislature will mean a change in who holds those seats in the next session.