While many Mainers were enjoying a romantic and chocolate-laden Valentine's Day, hundreds of their neighbors spent the day at the State House, where the Regulatory Fairness & Reform Committee met from 9 am until nearly 7 pm taking testimony on LD 1 and the Governor's Phase 1 regulatory reform plan, including a 48-page amendment that was handed to the Committee during the public hearing. The testimony was overwhelmingly in opposition to the Governor's plan, echoing what we heard at 7 regional hearings over the past 3 weeks - watch the videos here.
On Monday, the Committee heard from the Governor's legal counsel, Dan Billings, who made it clear that while several of the most controversial rollbacks in in Phase 1 were left out of the amendment (for example, the Kids-Safe Products Act, banning Bis-A from sippy cups, clean air protections, eliminating LURC and zoning 3 million acres for development), Governor LePage has NOT backed away from these rollbacks and will be supporting legislation to implement them as we go forward. Read more »
My column in the Kennebec Journal and Morning Sentinel today is about the LePage administration breaking its promises of transparency, particularly regarding the influence of out-of-state corporations and their lobbyists on proposed environmental rollbacks. It relies heavily on some great investigative journalism done by Colin Woodard and Susan Sharon.
Since I wrote the column, the LePage administration has announced that Carlisle McLean will be joining their team as Senior Policy Advisor. McLean also worked at the law and lobbying firm Preti Flaherty, where, according to current and past reporting from MPBN, she lobbied for the Toy Industry Association against the ban on the toxic chemical bisphenol A. McLean is not listed as having represented the organization in the state lobbying database.
LePage staffers Dan Demeritt and Dan Billings both emailed me today to push back on some of the examples of apparent dishonesty by the administration. Read more »
Dan Billings takes a look at what might have happened if Pat McGowan had won his close race against Olymia Snowe in 1990.
Proving that racism is still a hot topic, links to today's post on Dan Billings' comments about Colin Powell have popped up all over the internet.
Traffic is about 10 times higher than normal for a Sunday.
Writing on the conservative message board As Maine Goes, Republican attorney Dan Billings responded to Colin Powell's endorsement of Barack Obama today by accusing him of racism and stating that "If Obama was a white man, Powell would not have made the endorsement."
Billings is a Republican activist who recently served as lawyer and spokesman for the Chandler Woodcock gubernatorial campaign and is currently counsel for the Republican state senate effort and a columnist for the Kennebec Journal.
He's also a frequent commenter on this blog, and I look forward to his public explanation.
I received my absentee ballot in the mail yesterday from the Orono town clerk. Here's our cat Chase (named after a certain Republican senator) helping me vote.
One thing that strikes me about the ballot is the fact that I've personally met almost every candidate for statewide or local office, and have had good conversations with most of them. That easy access is one of the great things about living in a state like Maine.
The only candidates I haven't met are the woman running unopposed for register of probate and Valerie Carr-Winocour, the Republican candidate for state senate.
I always try to be a fully informed voter, so I looked up Carr-Winocour's campaign website. I almost didn't make it past her slogan: "Working for the rights of the average citizen!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" but when I did I found this :
I am a hands on candidate who is there with you in the midst "LISTENING" and you don't even know I am there. I AM! I listen to what you say in a casual conversation when you are enjoying bean suppers...
I won't be voting for her, and I'm going to be looking over my shoulder to make sure she's not sneaking up on me.
Update: I'd like to apologize to Dan Billings for hurting democracy by mailing in this ballot.