Everyone not named Paul LePage insisting 70 bills Maine’s governor forgot to veto are now law

Maine is in the midst of one of the most insane legislative showdowns in recent memory.

It started when Maine governor and angry old man Paul LePage attempted to pocket veto 19 bills that he opposed by leaving them on his desk without his signature until the legislature adjourned. Except the legislature didn’t adjourn, it went “at ease,” remaining in session until this Thursday for the sole purpose of allowing LePage to veto the bills and return them to the legislature for a possible override. As LePage failed to take any action, the 19 bills became law without his signature.

LePage has continued to insist that the legislature did in fact adjourn and that the bills cannot take effect. Literally everyone in the state not named or working for Paul LePage disagrees with him. That includes the state’s attorney general, who issued a statement on Friday saying that the bills are now law.

Not only has LePage refused to enforce the 19 laws that are now on the books, he has also allowed 51 more bills to become law without his signature since the initial showdown. Doubling down on his initial (and incorrect) point — that the legislature adjourned and so these bills die with or without his veto — LePage is trying to dig himself out of a legislative hole, and it’s unclear as to whether it will work.

Paul LePage, via Wikimedia Commons

Paul LePage, via Wikimedia Commons

The seventy bills in question represent a massive amount of legislation. For perspective, President Obama has signed thirty bills into law this current session. While some are significant, such as the USA Freedom Act and various appropriations bills, others are not. The thirty laws enacted this session include bills to fix typos in the Congressional Accountability Act of 1995, to name a federal building in Miramar, Florida and to reappoint a current a citizen regent of the Board of Regents at the Smithsonian Institution.

Many of the bills at issue in Maine deal with highly consequential issues. One expands access to a drug overdose antidote. Another provides insurance coverage for reproductive services for more women. Another grants state assistance to some immigrants, a provision LePage vehemently campaigned against in 2014 during his reelection campaign. In effect, Governor LePage has committed himself to a strategy that could easily result in the passage of a sweeping Democratic agenda all because he didn’t bother himself to pick up a pen.

For all of the attention heaped on Chris Christie, likely due to his proximity to New York, Paul LePage is easily the northeast’s — if not the country’s — most corrupt, angry and absurd governor. He is currently under investigation by the legislature, with impeachment possible, over allegations that he withheld state funds from a school for at-risk children in order to pressure them into not hiring Democratic House Speaker Mark Eves. LePage, predictably, has insisted that the legislature lacks the authority to investigate him.

LePage has joked about shooting cartoonists, along with other breaches of political decorum. He “once told the Portland branch of the NAACP to ‘kiss my butt,’ called protesters ‘idiots,’ referred to government managers as ‘corrupt’ and compared the IRS to the Gestapo,” according to the New York Daily News.

Fittingly, LePage is also one of the only elected officials so far to have endorsed Chris Christie for president.


Jon Green graduated from Kenyon College with a B.A. in Political Science and high honors in Political Cognition. He worked as a field organizer for Congressman Tom Perriello in 2010 and a Regional Field Director for President Obama's re-election campaign in 2012. Jon writes on a number of topics, but pays especially close attention to elections, religion and political cognition. Follow him on Twitter at @_Jon_Green, and on Google+. .

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21 Responses to “Everyone not named Paul LePage insisting 70 bills Maine’s governor forgot to veto are now law”

  1. NotoLepage says:

    The controlling case related to State officials is Scheur v Rhodes (brought in the wake of the Kent State Massacre) in which the Warren court ruled – “The immunity of officers of the executive branch of a state government for their acts is not absolute, but qualified, and of varying degree, depending upon the scope of discretion and responsibilities of the particular office and the circumstances existing at the time the challenged action was taken.” – clearly opening the legal door for varied interpretation of any assertion by LePage as to the jurisdiction of OPEGA. Absent some extremely compelling constitutional argument (which is noticeably absent from his lawyer’s opinion beyond the mere assertion “You’re not the boss of me!” which is unlikely to sway the Law Court)? His argument is hogwash and refusal to comply with subpoenas will result in criminal charges.https://supreme.justia.com/cases/federal/us/416/232/

  2. NotoLepage says:

    (Mainer here – with ‘inside info’ on this situation directly from ‘unnamed high level sources within the legislature’) It appears that Governor LePage is planning to take the position that the OPEGA (Office of Program Evaluation and Government Accountability) investigation – assigned to investigate unanimously by the 6 R and 6 D Government Oversight Committee) has no jurisdiction over his office, himself, or his cabinet. For those who never owned an eight track tape player? This is the exact same stance Pres. Nixon took when confronted with several of the Watergate investigations. (And we all know how well that worked out for him.) The two constitutional questions which LePage is relying upon fall under the categories of “Executive Privilege” and “Qualified Immunity” – both of which have been extensively litigated and ruled upon at every level of the judiciary. Bottom line? If he chooses to try these defenses? He loses.http://www.ctn.state.ct.us/civics/impeachment/Precedents.htm

  3. DoverBill says:

    How do I market a new app I plan to call Angry LePages®?

  4. Chris D says:

    He needs to get the fuck out of my state already. Step down LePage.

  5. HeartlandLiberal says:

    It is very difficult of me to have any sympathy for the voters of Maine. They are the ones who have twice now allowed three candidates to run, insuring that this madman be elected then reelected. And the plurality that voted for this sorry excuse for a human being are getting precisely what they voted for. Intentional daily attempts to demonstrate that government can not work by intentionally making it not work. It is the GOP plan. And in Maine, it is working.

  6. DoverBill says:

    Hello Maine.

    Did anybody that voted for this guy expect this type of childishness outta him?

    Got any idea of how many of your hard-earned tax dollars are about to be wasted on his futile legal sandbox tactics?

    Fool me once, shame on me/you. Fool me…?
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eKgPY1adc0A

  7. BeccaM says:

    There’s a particularly nasty form of cunning stupidity, as typified by people like LePage, Gohmert, and Caribou Barbie.

  8. ComradeRutherford says:

    But that kind of power is why Republicans run for office. What’s the point in winning elections if you can’t rule by diktat? Just look at how the governor of Michigan appointed a dictator to rule Detroit with an iron fist.

  9. ComradeRutherford says:

    LePage says, “I’m the dictator, the law is what I say it is!!!”

  10. The_Fixer says:

    I’m going with “willfully ignorant.”

  11. coolbob says:

    He is a teabagger so you have your answer!!

  12. BeccaM says:

    Actually…

    Six lawmakers said Thursday they will attempt to launch impeachment
    proceedings against Republican Gov. Paul LePage for his alleged role in
    pushing Democratic House Speaker Mark Eves out of a new job at Good
    Will-Hinckley School.

    Thing is, there’s no real ‘alleged’ involved. LePage threatened the school with funding cuts if they did not refuse to hire Eves.

    There’s rarely more clear-cut case of corruption and the abuse of power than this.

  13. Colin says:

    He is either very stupid , or very cunning.

  14. grandpamike1 says:

    Ah, Maine, the Granite-Head state. P.S. Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont, and New Hampshire wish you and your idiot Governor to join Texas in seceding from the United States. Thank you…..

  15. BeccaM says:

    Seriously, LePage needs to be impeached.

    This isn’t even a political thing anymore or a policy disagreement. He quite literally seems both unfit and incapable of doing the job for which he was elected.

  16. keirmeister says:

    Seems simple enough: LePage allowed the bills to become law. If he refuses to enact and enforce those laws, he may be violating his Oath of Office – thus creating grounds for his impeachment.

  17. RedFaced1 says:

    He might be out of a job soon

  18. 2karmanot says:

    Le Page out of Mad Magazine.

  19. dcinsider says:

    Angry is as angry does.

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