The governor’s request asks the court to determine if the 65 bills he attempt to veto are still law. 65 pieces of legislation that LePage opposes may have become law, because the Tea Party governor can’t abide by the correct process for vetoing legislation he is against.
Their to-do list will be much shorter than they had expected because dozens of bills that they had anticipated that LePage would veto are now the subject of a dispute that’s likely to end up in the Maine Supreme Court.
The measures have already been written into law, but LePage has said that he won’t enforce them and told reporters earlier in the day that if the Legislature doesn’t consider his vetoes, he will take the issue to the Maine Supreme Court. “I must know whether my vetoes stand”.
The governor will have to prove that the questions rise to the level of a “solemn occasion” for the justices to render an advisory opinion. But legislators swiftly returned the papers to the Revisor’s Office, saying LePage missed his chance to take action on the bills. He has repeatedly attempted to bully lawmakers, but on July 16th they may have exacted their payback. Despite opposition to his interpretation, the governor continues to insist that the legislature’s adjournment triggered the extended veto period.
The governor has asked for the high court’s opinion on three questions: “We must know what type of adjournment prevents the return of a bill to the Legislature”.
The contested bills affect many policy areas, including General Assistance for asylum seekers, expanded use of a medication used in drug overdoses, property tax breaks for Vietnam War veterans and birth control for MaineCare recipients.
While LePage suffered a defeat on that front, he scored a huge victory Thursday when the Republicans in the Democratic-controlled House sustained his veto of a bill that sought to force him to release more than $11 million in voter-approved bonds for land conservation projects.
Attorney General Janet Mills agrees with lawmakers that the bills became law. Any discussion of those issues, aside from extending the bond deadline, will presumably wait until the Legislature begins its 2016 session in January.