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Friday, August 7, 2015

The Maine Wire: Court Rules Against LePage in Veto Dispute‏

Maine Governor Paul LePage

On Thursday, The Supreme Judicial Court of Maine unanimously ruled against Governor Paul R. LePage in his veto dispute with the state legislature.
The disagreement centered around the governor’s veto power and how long the governor could wait before returning vetoed bills to the legislature.  Typically, the governor has ten days to veto bills and return them.  If the legislature adjourns and signals the end of the second legislative session before those ten days are up, the governor may exercise a pocket veto.
LePage’s administration had claimed that the legislature’s temporary adjournment on June 30 triggered a provision in the Maine Constitution which allowed the governor to hold onto bills until the legislature reconvened for three consecutive days.  The governor’s basic argument was that the legislature’s adjournment, with no set date to return, prevented him from returning vetoed bills to the legislature.  Therefore, he could hold onto the vetoed bills longer than the typical ten day period.
The governor acted on this position, refusing to return the bills during the traditional ten day period, only sending them to the legislature after is had reconvened.  Democrat Speaker of the House Mark Eves and Republican Senate President Mike Thibodeau refused to take up the vetoes, however, ruling them out of order.
With his constitutional interpretation rejected by the Maine legislature, LePage asked the Supreme Judicial Court of Maine to answer the question of whether his vetoes stood, or if the bills had become law.

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