Daily Brief: Will Maine throw its support behind balanced budget amendment?

Good morning from Augusta, where the fallout from the sudden firing of Brig. Gen. James Campbell, who until Tuesday was the head of the Maine National Guard, is still reverberating.

In an interview with the BDN, Campbell categorically denied that he lied to the public about plans to transform the storied 133rd Engineer Battalion into an infantry unit — a plan that caused an uproar when it was revealed last year. Campbell said the plan was spurred by planned force reductions to National Guard forces nationwide, a direct directive from the Pentagon.

But a public records request yielded emails between Campbell and other officials that indicated the controversial tradeoff may have been hatched by Campbell alone.

While we’re still left with many questions about the circumstances that led to Campbell’s ouster, and for the brigadier general’s future, business in Augusta continues. — Mario Moretto.

With Kasich in town, will Maine join effort for Article V convention?

Gov. Paul LePage will welcome fellow Republican Gov. John Kasich of Ohio to the State House today, where both will address reporters at a noon meeting in LePage’s Cabinet Room.

According to the governor’s press secretary, Adrienne Bennett, the duo will make an “announcement regarding the national push for a federal balanced budget amendment.”

Some Republicans in Congress — including Maine’s Rep. Bruce Poliquin — have pushed for an amendment that would require the federal government to spend no more in a year than it brings in through taxes and other revenue, but have been unsuccessful.

With no success in Washington, some conservatives have gone so far as to call for an Article V constitutional convention — the only other method to amending the U.S. Constitution. To do so, legislatures in 34 states would have to appeal to Congress for a convention. If successful, delegates from those states could meet, draft an amendment for ratification. Only 38 states must ratify a proposed amendment for it to be enshrined in the Constitution.

I’m telling you all this because the specter of an Article V convention was also mentioned in Bennett’s release, where she pointed out that 27 states already have passed resolutions calling for such a convention.

Kasich is one of the leading Republicans calling for an Article V convention, so smart money is on LePage announcing today that he’ll propose a similar resolution — Mario Moretto.

Reading list

Joshua Chamberlain to stay in Maine

Poor Joshua Chamberlain. A bill that would have seen a statue of Maine’s favorite son (or is that Stephen King?) placed in the hallowed halls of Congress has been reduced to a study.

The bill, by Sen. Garrett Mason, R-Lisbon, would have replaced a statute of Maine’s first governor, William King, with Chamberlain’s.

But maybe we shouldn’t feel too bad for Chamberlain. After all, the storied Civil War Hero, former Maine governor and former president of Bowdoin College has already been immortalized as the namesake of one of the bridges connecting Bangor and Brewer. That’s not bad, right?

Right? — Mario Moretto.

Mario Moretto

About Mario Moretto

Mario Moretto has been a Maine journalist, in print and online publications, since 2009. He joined the Bangor Daily News in 2012, first as a general assignment reporter in his native Hancock County and, now, in the State House. Mario left the BDN in 2015.