Good morning from Augusta, where today marks one week before the Legislature’s statutory adjournment date of June 17. What does that mean? Maine law spells it all out.
The first regular session of the Legislature is supposed to adjourn on the third Wednesday in June (that’s June 17). The Legislature must achieve a two-thirds vote to extend the legislative session in five-day blocks and there is a provision to add one day to a legislative session “for the purpose of considering possible objections of the governor to any bill or resolution presented to him by the Legislature.”
Why am I quoting Maine law when I’m two sips into my coffee? One reason is that some sick, misguided part of my soul enjoys digging through Maine Revised Statutes (Title 3 is exceptionally fun). The other reason is that these extension mechanisms are likely to come into play this year.
The House and Senate are meeting five days a week and usually two times a day. Leaders in the Senate — where the printed calendar reached a thick and heavy 80 pages, more than twice what it’s been for most of this year — briefly considered and then canceled holding a third session Tuesday. Watching darkness fall from the House and Senate chambers is going to happen, and soon.
Today could be a milestone day when it comes to the biennial budget — but maybe not. As reported by my colleague, Mario “Scoops” Moretto on Tuesday, legislative leaders believe that after weeks of stalemate, they’re close to a compromise deal that can garner two-thirds support and avoid a government shutdown. Senate Majority Leader Garrett Mason, R-Lisbon, who has been running the Senate for several days while Senate President Mike Thibodeau of Winterport sits in hours of budget negotiations, told reporters Tuesday that an official announcement could come as quickly as today.
However, there are plenty of lawmakers who can find provisions in the budget they don’t like, though by the time the numbers are crunched and the bill is written, they’ll have a matter of days — and perhaps as little as mere hours — to make a decision and vote with either their red or green buttons. That moment is coming, but don’t be surprised to see them voting on extending the legislative session first. — Christopher Cousins
Great-great-great-great Flag Day
Gov. Paul LePage will travel to American Legion Post 31 in Auburn on Sunday to help unveil a massive 30-foot-long mural of the American flag that is being painted, starting tomorrow, by Scott LoBaido, who is about halfway through a quest to create patriotic murals in all 50 states.
Sunday marks the 99th anniversary of Flag Day and the ceremony in Auburn will include a special guest: John Harker, who is the great-great-great-great grandson of Betsy Ross. Ross, who was an upholsterer in 1750s Philadelphia, is credited with the design and creation of the first American flag.
Fun story: Did you know you can make a perfect five-pointed star with a single snip of the scissors? Legend has it that George Washington originally suggested using six-pointed stars on our flag but Betsy Ross advocated for only five. The flag-design committee insisted that the five-pointed star would be too difficult until Ross folded a piece of paper a certain way and produced a perfectly symmetrical star with one snip. I’ve done this trick twice with a group of Cub Scouts and it never ceases to amaze. Take a look at these online instructions and try it yourself. Impress your friends.
Anyway, the public is invited to attend the ceremony, which begins at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday at the American Legion Post 31 at 426 Washington St. North in Auburn. — Christopher Cousins
Pelosi to boost Cain in $5,000-per-person wine reception fundraiser
It’s been well reported here at State & Capitol that freshman U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin has the full backing of the national Republican Party to seek re-election next year. He’s been given plum committee assignments and lots of cash to pile up in his campaign coffers. In the first three months of this year alone, Poliquin raised more than $700,000, which is a record-breaking haul for a freshman congressman.
Democrats and the national party clearly believe Poliquin’s comfortable victory over Orono Democrat Emily Cain last year was a fluke. Cain, a former state senator, announced her intention to stage a rematch against Poliquin in March and according to an invitation that’s floating around, she’s heavily involved in fund raising.
On Monday in Washington, D.C., Cain will be the guest of honor at a wine reception fund raiser that will be attended by House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi of California and Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Ben Ray Lujan. That shows that party leaders see Maine’s 2nd Congressional District as a place that can be turned back to Democratic representation in a presidential election year.
Organizers for the event are requesting donations of a minimum $100 for an individual or a maximum of $5,000 for a political action committee. — Christopher Cousins
- LePage drops support for cold case squad, wants more drug agents — Nick Sambides Jr., BDN
- Legislature on brink of budget deal with income tax cuts, sales tax hikes — Mario Moretto, BDN
- LePage push for income tax repeal referendum falls short in Senate — Christopher Cousins, BDN
- Judge: State does not have to repay but can’t penalize cities that give General Assistance to asylum seekers — Judy Harrison, BDN
- Legislature revives 9 of 10 Democratic-sponsored bills LePage vetoed — Christopher Cousins, BDN
- No fix in sight to bail out cash-strapped Maine jails — Scott Thistle, Sun Journal
- After threat to veto every Democratic bill, LePage lets one become law without signature — Christopher Cousins, BDN
- Maine Senate confirms LePage Public Utilities Commission nominee in 25-10 vote — Darren Fishell, BDN
- House Speaker Eves lands job at Good Will-Hinckley; LePage protests in letter to school — Christopher Cousins, BDN
Get your slugs drunk. Wait, what?
A real headline from bangordailynews.com on Tuesday: “Do you have slugs in your garden? Get them drunk.”
It sounded OK to me so I got busy picking music (it’s amazing what you find when you Google “slug songs”) and planning salt-free recipes. I was stuck on what to serve for beverages (definitely something with sloe gin) so I decided to actually read the BDN’s story.
It’s super important to read the story, not just the headline. But sloe gin it is. — Christopher Cousins