Maine Senate Confirms 50 of 51 Gubernatorial Nominees 

On September 30th, the Maine Senate convened to vote on 51 gubernatorial nominations to various state boards and commissions.  All but one of these nominees were confirmed by the full Senate.  The one exception was Susan Dench, who was nominated to serve on the University of Maine System’s Board of Trustees.  Support for her nomination broke down along party lines which did not result in sufficient support to approve of this nomination.  Positions filled include seats at:

  • Board of Pesticides Control
  • Maine Milk Commission
  • State Harness Racing Commission
  • Maine Community College System Board of Trustees
  • Maine Maritime Academy Board of Trustees
  • Maine School of Science and Mathematics Board of Trustees
  • School Board of the Governor Baxter School for the Deaf
  • State Board of Education
  • University of Maine System Board of Trustees
  • Efficiency Maine Trust Board
  • Board of Environmental Protection
  • Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Advisory Council
  • Maine Commission on Indigent Legal Services
  • Maine Indian Tribal-State Commission
  • Finance Authority of Maine
  • Loring Development Authority
  • Maine Educational Loan Authority
  • Maine Labor Relations Board
  • Midcoast Regional Redevelopment Authority
  • Marine Resources Advisory Council
  • Maine Board of Tax Appeals
  • Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices
  • Gambling Control Board
  • State Liquor and Lottery Commission

First Quarter of State Fiscal Year Ends 

On September 30th, the Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee was briefed by Office of Fiscal and Program Review staff regarding the first quarter of the State’s fiscal year.  At that point, the quarter had not yet ended so the Office did not have final first quarter figures.  It was suggested, however, that revenues for the first quarter would very likely come in under budgeted projections.  The Committee also heard some analysis of revenue figures and what they mean for the Maine economy.  For example, tax receipts for building supplies indicate growth for that sector of the Maine economy over the summer months.  If State revenues do in fact come in below projections, it will be up to the Legislature to bring the current State budget back into balance when it returns in January.

Maine Legislative Leaders Select New Executive Director 

On September 30th, the ten members of legislative leadership that form the Legislative Council met and voted unanimously to hire Grant Pennoyer as the Legislature’s newest Executive Director.  This is a complex and largely “behind the scenes” job that involves administering the Legislative Branch’s budget, maintaining the State House complex, and managing all non-partisan legislative staff.  Grant Pennoyer currently serves as the Director of the Office of Fiscal and Program Review, the Legislature’s non-partisan office devoted to the State budget and State finances.   

Chair of PUC to Retire Early 

Last week, Tom Welch, Chairman of the Maine Public Utilities Commission, announced that he will retire from that position on December 31st.  This retirement comes two years before his term is set to expire.  Practically, this means that two of three Commissioner positions will become vacant in 2015 and whoever is Governor in 2015 will play a large role in shaping Maine’s energy future through his nominees to the Commission.   

Gubernatorial Debate Schedule Set, For Now 

In recent weeks, the status of gubernatorial debates between Governor LePage, Congressman Michaud and Eliot Cutler were somewhat in question.  Governor LePage raised objections to his participation in debates but, ultimately, he confirmed his attendance at five scheduled debates, which are: 

  • October 8th, 8:00 a.m. – Portland Regional Chamber of Commerce Debate (Portland)
  • October 9th, 8:00 a.m. – Mid-Maine Chamber of Commerce Debate (Waterville)
  • October 15th, 7:00 p.m. – Maine State Chamber of Commerce Debate (Augusta) (broadcast on WCSH Channel 6 and WLBZ Channel 2)
  • October 20th, 7:00 p.m. – WGME and Bangor Daily News Debate (Portland) (broadcast on WGME Channel 13)
  • October 21st, 7:00 p.m. – WMTW and WABI Debate (Auburn) (broadcast on WMTW Channel 8 and WABI Channel 5)