Good morning from Augusta, where Monday’s legislative business promises to be less productive because of the Maine Senate’s response to Gov. Paul LePage’s latest power play.
On Friday, the Republican governor refused to swear in Sen.-elect Susan Deschambault, D-Biddeford, who won that vacant seat with 57 percent of votes in a Tuesday special election. It was a response to Democrats’ rejection of LePage’s nominee to a state unemployment appeals board on Thursday.
Maine election law gives unsuccessful candidates five business days after the election to request a recount. LePage’s office said it would wait the full period to swear Deschambault in, even though Republican Steve Martin told the Journal Tribune that he has no plans to ask for a recount.
It’s leading to some unity between Republicans and Democrats in the Senate: The office of Senate President Mike Thibodeau, R-Winterport, told the Biddeford newspaper that there will be no roll call votes in the chamber until Deschambault is seated.
Thibodeau has emerged as one of the Legislature’s top peacemakers over the past year, since he helped negotiate last year’s state budget over LePage’s objections. The governor’s supporters retaliated with robocalls into his district.
Tuesday would be the fifth business day after the election. There’s a full calendar in the Senate on Monday, so while the chamber can get some work done, it may put a damper on the Legislature’s plans to adjourn by April 20. — Michael Shepherd
What’s the true cost of Medicaid expansion?
Advocates say an analysis from the Maine Legislature’s nonpartisan budget office proves justifies a new proposal to expand Medicaid under the federal Affordable Care Act.
This year’s bill, from Sen. Tom Saviello, R-Wilton, is headed for a likely death in the Maine Legislature: Even if it gets through majority Republicans in the Senate — which it likely won’t — LePage has promised to veto it, as he has five past expansion proposals.
The LePage administration has said it “blow a massive hole in the state budget,” costing $500 million over the next five years. But expansion proponents have questioned those figures.
The nonpartisan office’s estimates gave them ammunition, saying the law would result in increases of federal funding to the tune of $220 million in 2017 and $470 million in 2018.
“We’re confident this legislation would actually save the state millions,” said James Myall, a policy analyst for the liberal Maine Center for Economic Policy, in a statement. “This is a great deal for Maine.” — Michael Shepherd
- Hundreds pack State House to decry proposed mental health care changes — Christopher Cousins, Bangor Daily News
- Millinocket official: House vote shows monument opponents are not a ‘splinter group’ — Nick Sambides Jr., BDN
- Maine veterans facing cancer hoping that ‘atomic veteran’ bill becomes law — Abigail Curtis, BDN
- Maine lawmakers forge deal on veterans aid funding — Scott Thistle, Sun Journal
- State’s rejection of pot petition signatures may be tough to defend, Telegram analysis suggests — Gillian Graham, Maine Sunday Telegram
- New law paves way for ATV, snowmobile trails adjacent to access highways — Anthony Brino, BDN
- Susan Collins to meet with Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland on Tuesday — John T. Bennett, CQ-Roll Call
- Civil rights icon John Lewis to speak at Bates graduation — Beth Brogan, BDN
Best of Maine’s Craigslist
- An “old grey haired guy” tells a “gorgeous young girl in a neon green jacket and low-cut top and jeans” that he was “enjoying your beauty” at Trader Joe’s in Portland. “Sorry if I appeared creepy I’m not,” he said. “I was just overwhelmed by your beauty, your smile and your wonderful cleavage!” What a charmer.
- “Damn girl,” a Lothario in Brunswick says. “I see you at ya work c.v.s…then wal mart with your son. Your fine as wine …let me at you…you single??”
- Ray, the “RICAN RASTA MON” from Florida, is trying to sell two pieces of “420 Art” to Mainers. One, the three-foot-tall “BLAZING ALIEN,” has earrings and wears a shirt that says “SUPER HIGH MAN!”
- In Portland, someone’s female squid just had a litter of 15 and you can have them for free. If you prefer your animals stuffed, try this stone sheep mount with “exceptional horns.” — Michael Shepherd