Home – Lawmakers Overturn Wave of LePage Vetoes

Lawmakers Overturn Wave of LePage Vetoes

Things are getting ugly in Maine, where lawmakers overturned a flurry of vetoes by Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R), who has vowed to block every bill sponsored by a Democrat until the Legislature approves his proposed constitutional amendment that would allow voters to decide whether to repeal the state’s income tax.

 

“As promised, I am vetoing all bills sponsored by Democrats because they have stifled the voice of Maine citizens by preventing them from voting on the elimination of the income tax,” he wrote in a message assigned to each veto.

 

But lawmakers didn’t take the governor’s actions lying down. On Tuesday, the House and Senate overwhelmingly overrode nine of 10 vetoes, with four of the overrides coming via unanimous votes in each chamber. The GOP-controlled Senate was even more emphatic, voting 35-0 on eight of the measures. The entire Senate veto session took only 20 minutes.

 

LePage was hardly discouraged: on Wednesday he sent three more vetoes to the House, two sponsored by Democrats and the third authored by Senate Majority Leader Garret Mason (R). LePage has vetoed at least 42 bills since the beginning of the 2015 session, with approximately 400 more bills still in the legislative process. Lawmakers have now overridden 14 of those vetoes so far. The unofficial record for having vetoes overturned during a single term in office belongs to former Gov. James Longley, an Independent who served from 1975 to 1979. He saw 64 of his vetoes overridden in that time.

 

House Majority Leader Jeff McCabe said LePage is well known for being vindictive, but called his latest behavior “tiring” and said it was clearly intended to drive a wedge between the parties. The bipartisan rejection of so many of those vetoes, he said, shows the governor’s plan won’t work.

 

“It’s a great example that people weren’t sent here to be partisan, they were sent here to set good policy,” McCabe said. “Those votes [Tuesday] showed that Republicans were not going to fall in line with the governor by penalizing Democrats for not following his agenda.” (BANGOR DAILY NEWS, SUN JOURNAL [LEWISTON], PORTLAND PRESS HERALD)