Maine Senate Will Reconvene August 4 to Consider LePage Nominations

Governor Paul LePage has recently made a number of nominations to boards and commissions in a move that will trigger the Maine Senate to reconvene to vote on confirmation of the nominees. Senate President Mike Thibodeau has notified members that the Senate will reconvene at 10 a.m. on August 4 to vote on the nominees. Prior to that date, the Legislature’s joint committees will hold hearings to consider the nominees and make recommendations to the Senate. The following nominees will be considered by the respective legislative committees: Bradford A. Pattershall for the Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices; Frederick C. Oettinger for the Maine Human Rights Commission; Jean A. Roy and Joseph J. Klaus for the Maine Unemployment Insurance Commission; Emery Deabay for reappointment to the Worker’s Compensation Board; Carl A. Guignard and Dennis E. Welch for the Maine Labor Relations Board; and Amos S. Eno for the Outdoor Heritage Fund Board.

Taxation Committee Meeting July 19 to Review Tax Expenditure Evaluations

The Office of Program Evaluation and Government Accountability (OPEGA) will appear before the Joint Standing Committee on Taxation on July 19 at 10 a.m. to review its evaluations of certain tax expenditures, including sales tax exemptions under the category of “necessities of life.” This report is part of an ongoing review process by OPEGA to review the state’s tax expenditures, and will continue over the next couple of years to include programs such as the Pine Tree Development Zones, Employment Tax Increment Financing (ETIF), and a number of other business incentive tax credits.

Attorney General to File Lawsuit Against LePage Administration Over Potential FOAA Violations

On July 7, Maine Attorney General Janet Mills announced that her office will be filing a complaint in Kennebec District Court against Governor LePage’s administration regarding a meeting of the Blue Ribbon Commission to Reform Public Education Funding that took place in April. The meeting, which took place at the Blaine House, was closed to the public, and the Attorney General’s office is arguing that the meeting violated Maine’s Freedom of Access Act, which requires all state government meetings to be accessible to the public. The Attorney General has not yet indicated when she will file the complaint.

Candidates for Maine House and Senate Offices Drop out of Race

Just weeks after Maine’s Democratic and Republican primaries, a number of candidates for Maine House and Senate seats have dropped out. Currently, nine Democratic House candidates who were nominated in June have withdrawn, and 17 Republican House candidates have withdrawn, though two have already been replaced. On the Senate side, two Democrats and six Republicans have dropped out. Representatives from both parties have stated that this is not unusual, given that the parties often try to find so-called paper candidates in time for the primaries to ensure they can later field candidates for the fall elections. The deadline for parties to replace candidates is July 25.