As a general rule, it would not be welcome news to learn that your governor is a bumbling and fumbling buffoon, but today it is.
Maine Governor Paul LePage apparently failed to veto a package of legislation which he's been vowing to veto all year long.
One of those bills, LD 369, seeks to extend financial assistance to refugees and asylum seekers in the state who have fled from violence and unrest in their home countries. Immigrants who apply for asylum typically cannot immediately get a U.S. work permit, which makes them more likely to require assistance for basic needs like food and housing.
Over the past year, LePage has been clear about his opposition to this particular legislation, referring to it as “illegal alien welfare.”
Unfortunately for LePage, he missed his chance to veto "illegal alien welfare."
Governor LePage apparently does not have a firm grasp of the legislative process of the state he governs.
If a Legislature is in session and the governor does not sign a bill or veto it within 10 days of receiving it, the bill becomes law. But, if a Legislature adjourns for the year before the 10-day window for a governor to act on legislation has elapsed and the governor does not sign the bill, it dies.
“I’m surprised the Legislature does not understand this,” [LePage spokeswoman Adrienne Bennett] said.
But the legislature does understand.
The only hangup is the Legislature has not adjourned. Knowing it needed to give LePage up to 10 days to act on bills it has passed, the House and Senate on June 30 went “at ease” until July 16. By then, LePage would have had to act. Further questions sent to Bennett about LePage’s actions were not answered.
The 10 day window has passed.
The governor has reportedly withheld the legislation from the state’s revisor of statutes while the governor's office decides what to do next, but there doesn't appear to be anything the governor can do.
Amusingly, LePage was reportedly schmoozing with New Jersey Governor Chris Christie on the final night of the 10 day window which ended on July 1st.
Among the other bills LePage forgot to veto within 10 days is one that will provide financial assistance for cities that intend to build municipal broadband networks.
Considering LePage's unparalleled arrogance, it would not surprise me to see the situation unfold in a courtroom.
lawmakers and political observers are on high alert this year after LePage pledged to “waste a little” of legislators’ time in protest of their refusal to bow to his policy agenda.
Since then, he has vetoed nearly every bill sent his way — making sure to take the full 10 days allowed him by the state Constitution.
I'm glad we're all adults here.