AP NEWS

The Latest: Lawmakers at impasse over public campaign funds

July 10, 2018

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — The Latest on Maine’s special legislative session (all times local):

10:30 p.m.

Lawmakers have failed to release $3 million in public campaign funds that they included in last year’s budget.

The House voted 81-48 on Monday on a proposal to fix an unintended typo preventing the state from giving the money to eligible candidates. Democratic Rep. Louis Luchini’s proposal would reduce future supplemental contributions to such candidates and temporarily transfer $1.5 million from the fund.

The House’s initial vote wasn’t enough to survive a likely veto from Republican Gov. Paul LePage. The House didn’t vote on a competing Republican proposal that would reduce some public campaign contributions and temporarily transfer $2 million from the fund.

Both proposals would have prohibited campaign fundraising at the polls.

Lawmakers on Monday also sent LePage a $106 million bond to fund road, bridges and other infrastructure upgrades.

___

3:40 p.m.

Bills addressing Maine’s opioid crisis and allowing forest rangers to carry firearms have survived the governor’s vetoes.

The House and Senate voted Monday to override 20 of Gov. Paul LePage’s 43 recent vetoes. Lawmakers sent LePage a $64 million bond funding infrastructure projects at public universities and community colleges.

LePage vetoed a bill to allow trained forest rangers to carry firearms.

A bill to support needle exchange programs in Maine also survived LePage’s veto. Republican Rep. Karen Vachon has said Maine is seeing rising rates of some bloodborne infectious diseases and that evidence supports programs allowing people to dispose used needles.

Lawmakers also overrode the governor’s vetoes of legislation providing $67 million to prevent pay cuts for personal care aides, ensure funding for county jails and fund treatment for opioid users.

___

1:20 p.m.

A Maine bill to prevent therapy aimed at changing a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity has died.

The House failed Monday to override GOP Gov. Paul LePage’s veto of the legislation.

The bill would have defined so-called “conversion therapy” as any treatment to change an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity. The bill would have excluded treatment providing acceptance and support.

Democratic Rep. Ryan Fecteau said lawmakers are passing similar bills in Maryland and New Hampshire. Advocacy group EqualityMaine tweeted they could bring the issue to voters.

LePage and some Christian leaders have said the bill could infringe on personal and religious liberty. LePage said there’s no evidence of conversion therapy in Maine and chastised lawmakers for not passing stricter punishments against female genital cutting.

___

11:45 a.m.

Lawmakers have returned to Augusta once again to consider dozens of vetoes along with bonds and legislation held up by politics.

The Legislature’s special session continued Monday at an expected cost for taxpayers of roughly $40,000 per day. The House voted to uphold LePage’s veto of legislation providing funding for voter-approved Medicaid expansion.

Republican Gov. Paul LePage recently vetoed about three dozen bills. He has chastised lawmakers for trying to spend all of Maine’s $141 million surplus funds.

LePage also wants lawmakers to slow down future voter-approved increases to the state’s minimum wage. Such conservative efforts have failed this year, but LePage’s proposal has become a bargaining chip.

Lawmakers are holding up widely supported tax code reform legislation and a bond package.

___

12:10 a.m.

Lawmakers are again returning to Augusta to consider dozens of vetoes along with bonds and bills that have been held up by politics.

The Legislature’s special session continues Monday at an expected cost for taxpayers of roughly $40,000 per day.

Republican Gov. Paul LePage has vetoed about three dozen bills, including funding for voter-approved Medicaid expansion. He has chastised lawmakers for trying to spend all of Maine’s $141 million surplus funds.

The governor also wants lawmakers to slow down future voter-approved increases to the state’s minimum wage. Such conservative efforts have failed this year, but LePage’s proposal has become a bargaining chip.

Lawmakers are holding up widely supported tax code reform legislation and a bond package.

AP RADIO
Update hourly