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Preview: Maine Governor Baldacci Press Releases

Maine Governor's Press Releases



Press releases issued by the Governor's office.



Copyright: Copyright 2017 All rights reserved.
 



Governor LePage Thanks Veterans Administration for Improving Services for Maine's Veterans

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 12:20:58 EST

For Immediate Release: Wednesday, December 13, 2017 Contact: Julie Rabinowitz, Press Secretary, 207-287-2531

AUGUSTA - Governor Paul R. LePage thanked the Veterans Administration (VA) for approving additional staff to address suicide prevention, drug addiction and other issues facing Maine's veterans.

"I thank Secretary Shulkin and Deputy Secretary Bowman for listening to our veterans and providing this needed support," stated Governor LePage. "My administration has placed a priority on serving those who have sacrificed so much for our freedom, and I know that the Trump Administration places the same importance on honoring and supporting our veterans. The approval of these key positions sends the message to our veterans that we are here for you."

Staff of the Maine Bureau of Veterans Services (BVS) have been involved with the Veterans Treatment Court and other transitional programs for Maine's veterans. They have brought renewed federal attention to issues involving justice-connected veterans and their post-incarceration transition back into civilian life, including the lack of a dedicated, full-time health care for re-entry veterans specialist.

In response to Maine's requests, the VA conducted additional analysis, including a review of the homeless population rate, incarceration issues, the veterans crisis-line call volume, and other co-existing risks that are evident in a rural state, such as the propensity for isolation, and concurred that Maine needed additional resources to serve veterans in crisis.

As a result of these ongoing efforts, in addition to a recently approved suicide prevention coordinator, Maine has received approval for a veterans justice outreach specialist and a health care for re-entry specialist.

"Coordination with the Veterans Treatment Court and justice-connected vets has been and will continue to be a major priority for our office," stated BVS Director Adria Horn. "We are thrilled that our advocacy on behalf of the veterans justice outreach coordinator position will bring much-needed resources to our state. Secretary Shulkin has made Veteran Suicide a priority; it's refreshing to see action being taken to address that priority."

Governor LePage reminded veterans, "Some veterans avoid taking advantage of the benefits they have earned thinking that they should be reserved for another, more-deserving veteran. However, you and your families have earned these benefits through your service, and I encourage you to contact our own Bureau of Veterans' Services if you ever have questions about your benefits or if you want to connect other veterans with resources in the state. The Bureau is here to assist all veterans in Maine - and that includes you, your family, and your friends."

Veterans can go to http://www.maine.gov/veterans/ to access the benefits they have earned.



Governor LePage Sends Letter to Legislative Leadership Outlining Principles of Medicaid Expansion

Mon, 11 Dec 2017 10:28:50 EST

For Immediate Release: Monday, December 11, 2017 Contact: Julie Rabinowitz, Press Secretary, 207-287-2531

AUGUSTA - Today, Governor Paul R. LePage sent a letter to the leadership of Maine's legislature outlining the principles he will follow in the expansion of Medicaid as passed by the voters on November 7, 2017.

"The Legislature must now step up and identify a way to fund this, and it is their duty to the people of Maine to identify a way to pay for expansion that is both fiscally prudent and sustainable," stated the Governor.

"Implementation and funding of Medicaid expansion must be based on the cost estimates of the Maine Department of Health and Human Services, and must meet four basic principles. Following these principles will avoid the havoc caused by the previous expansion, which nearly destroyed the state budget and created a $750 million debt to our hospitals," the Governor noted.

The Governor's principles are as follows: 1. No tax increases on Maine families or businesses. 2. No use of the Budget Stabilization Fund or this year's money that will be directed to the fund with the goal of reaching $300 million; diversion of these funds would drain a key budget stability resource and only provide funding on a one-time basis. 3. No use of other one-time funding mechanisms or budget gimmicks. 4. Full funding of our Section 21 and 29 waitlists and no reduction of services or funding for our elderly or disabled populations and prioritization of our fiscal obligations, including Riverview.

A copy of the Governor's letter is available at the link below.



Governor Paul R. LePage and First Lady Ann M. LePage to Host Military Children's Christmas Party

Thu, 07 Dec 2017 10:14:35 EST

For Immediate Release: Thursday, December 7, 2017 Contact: Barbara Claudel, 207-624-7508

**The Governor and First Lady invite children of military families to the Blaine House for a Christmas celebration**

AUGUSTA - Governor Paul LePage and First Lady Ann LePage will host Military Families for a Christmas Party at the Blaine House on Saturday, Dec. 9, 2017 from 1 to 3 p.m.

Children and their families will enjoy Christmas cookies and hot cocoa with the Governor and First Lady and with special guests, Santa and Mrs. Claus.

"Maine's military service members, and their families, make tremendous sacrifices on behalf of all of us," said Mrs. LePage. This is an opportunity for the Governor and me to show how much we sincerely appreciate their sacrifices while spending time together enjoying some Christmas cheer."

This event is not open to the general public; however, any military family who wishes to attend should contact the Maine Army National Guard's State Family Program to register either online at https://www.jointservicessupport.org/ or by calling the Child and Youth Specialist at (207) 430-5773.



Governor LePage Submits Federal Disaster Relief Request for Storm Damage

Thu, 30 Nov 2017 15:31:23 EST

For Immediate Release: Thursday, November 30, 2017 Contact: Julie Rabinowitz, Press Secretary, 207-287-2531

AUGUSTA - Governor Paul R. LePage requested today a Presidential Disaster Declaration for federal assistance to repair $4.7 million in public infrastructure damages throughout 13 counties caused by the severe storm that slammed Maine with high winds, rain and flooding from October 29 through November 1, 2017.

"The strong winds and heavy rains caused extensive damage as trees, many still in full leaf and weakened by drought, snapped or uprooted in rain-saturated soil," Governor LePage said. "The falling trees pulled down wires, snapped more than 1,400 poles, and left many roads impassable, causing widespread power outages greater than those of the 1998 Ice Storm. Several communities spent days clearing debris that created life-safety issues from public rights-of-way. The cost for that clean-up work will be considerable and will cut deeply into public works budgets. This devastating storm has placed a financial burden on towns and counties."

Based on the magnitude of damage, the impact on state and local budgets and the fact that the costs of damages for Maine and its counties far exceeded the threshold needed for this request, the Governor has sent a letter to President Trump to request the disaster declaration.

This is a request for public assistance, not for individual assistance. Although an Individual Assistance Declaration is not being sought, a Small Business Administration Administrative Declaration is being requested to assist affected businesses. More than 200 small businesses reported loss of revenue, damage to products and damage to buildings and equipment.

In addition, the Farm Service Agency in Maine has submitted an Administrator's Physical Loss Notification request for assistance to its parent agency, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, due to the storm damage affecting several thousand farms in the state.

The request is available at the link below.



Governor LePage Names Holly Lusk Deputy Chief of Staff

Tue, 28 Nov 2017 10:21:49 EST

For Immediate Release: Tuesday, November 28, 2017 Contact: Julie Rabinowitz, Press Secretary, 207-287-2531

AUGUSTA - Governor Paul R. LePage has appointed Holly Lusk to be his deputy chief of staff and legislative policy director. She will replace Kathleen Newman, who stepped down in October after seven years of service to the administration.

"Holly previously served as my Senior Advisor for Health Policy, and I am pleased to welcome her back to my staff," stated Governor Paul R. LePage.

An attorney, most recently Lusk practiced at Preti Flaherty in the firm's government affairs, health law and litigation groups. In her previous tenure in the Office of the Governor, she advised Governor LePage on issues relating to health, welfare, insurance, professional licensing and financial regulatory matters.

Lusk holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Pennsylvania, where she majored in International Relations and French Studies, and a Juris Doctor from the University of Maine School of Law. She lives in Harpswell with her husband and children.

She began her new position on Monday, November 27.



Governor LePage Issues Statement on Medicaid Expansion

Wed, 08 Nov 2017 08:25:30 EST

For Immediate Release: Wednesday, November 8, 2017 Contact: Julie Rabinowitz, Press Secretary, 207-287-2531

AUGUSTA - Governor Paul R. LePage has issued a statement in response to Mainers approving a referendum that will cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars to give "free" health care to working-age, able-bodied adults, most of whom do not have dependents.

"The last time Maine experimented with Medicaid expansion in 2002 under then-governor Angus King, it created a $750 million debt to hospitals, resulted in massive budget shortfalls every year, did not reduce emergency room use, did not reduce the number of uninsured Mainers and took resources away from our most vulnerable residents-the elderly and the intellectually and physically disabled," said Governor LePage.

"Credit agencies are predicting that this fiscally irresponsible Medicaid expansion will be ruinous to Maine's budget. Therefore, my administration will not implement Medicaid expansion until it has been fully funded by the Legislature at the levels DHHS has calculated, and I will not support increasing taxes on Maine families, raiding the rainy day fund or reducing services to our elderly or disabled."



Governor LePage Extends Emergency Proclamation for Power Restoration

Mon, 06 Nov 2017 17:24:09 EST

For Immediate Release: Monday, November 6, 2017 Contact: Julie Rabinowitz, Press Secretary, 207-287-2531

AUGUSTA - Governor Paul R. LePage has extended the emergency proclamation that allows drivers of electrical line repair vehicles to operate additional hours. This extension will expire at midnight, Thursday, November 9, 2017.

"This extension will allow the crews to continue to work around the clock to bring power to the last few thousand customers who have been without electricity since last week's storm," said Governor LePage. "I thank the crews for their tireless efforts to turn the lights back on for almost 500,000 Mainers. The remaining outages are largely the most difficult to address, involving multiple trees and damaged poles that must be replaced."

Text of proclamation follows.

State of Maine

Governor's Emergency Proclamation for Electricity Restoration Efforts

WHEREAS, the State of Maine is experiencing the effects of high winds and storm conditions that have impacted transportation routes and put thousands of Maine homes and businesses out of power; and

WHEREAS, work crews will have to work many hours to clear roads and restore power; and

WHEREAS, power restoration crews have been requested from other service areas as well as Canadian provinces to assist in power restoration; and

WHEREAS, federal rules determine the number of hours the driver of an electrical line repair vehicle may operate; and

WHEREAS, drivers of such vehicles must cease operations when they reach the federal limit on hours of operation, and therefore would have to cease power restoration; and

WHEREAS, these conditions threaten public health and safety and endanger the property of Maine homes and businesses; and

WHEREAS, these conditions are expected to extend through October 30, 2017; and

WHEREAS, the declaration of a State of Emergency will facilitate the granting of a waiver from the U.S. Department of Transportation - Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration pursuant to 49 CFR part 390.23 to allow relief from 49 CFR parts 390 through 399, specifically 49 CFR part 395 Hours of Service of Drivers, and subject to the limitations described below, and therefore allow drivers of electrical line repair vehicles to operate additional hours, and

WHEREAS, motor carriers that have an Out-Of-Service Order in effect may not take advantage of the relief from regulation that such a declaration provides under 49 CFR 390.23;

NOW THEREFORE, I, Paul R. LePage, Governor of the State of Maine, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of Maine, find that these conditions constitute a civil emergency under 37-B M.R.S.A. section 742, and for the purpose pursuant to 49 CFR part 390.23 of facilitating a waiver to the U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, specifically 49 CFR part 395 Hours of Service of Drivers, do hereby declare that a State of Emergency within Maine as of October 30, 2017 through November 9, 2017.

Pursuant to this declaration, I hereby order the following:

1. No motor carrier operating under the terms of this emergency declaration shall require or allow an ill or fatigued driver to operate a motor vehicle. A driver who notifies a motor carrier that he or she needs immediate rest shall be given a least ten (10) consecutive hours off-duty before the driver is required to return to service. 2. Drivers operating under this proclamation shall carry a copy of the proclamation with them as evidence of their direct support to the State of Maine during this emergency period.

Paul R. LePage Governor




Governor LePage Issues Statement upon Veto of L.D. 1650, ‘An Act to Amend the Marijuana Legalization Act'

Fri, 03 Nov 2017 12:33:05 EDT

For Immediate Release: Friday, November 3, 2017 Contact: Julie Rabinowitz, Press Secretary, 207-287-2531 AUGUSTA - Governor Paul R. LePage has vetoed L.D. 1650, "An Act to Amend the Marijuana Legalization Act." "I strongly urge the Legislature to sustain this veto and continue to work to get this important law right," stated Governor Paul R. LePage. The veto letter outlines several reasons for the veto, including legalization's conflict with federal law, the bill's failure to address compatibility issues with the existing medical marijuana program, the bill's bifurcated regulatory structure and its unrealistic timelines. "When I sought guidance from my counterpart in Colorado, he was adamant that Maine should learn from the mistakes made by his state and others that have pursued legalization efforts. He urged that we take the time necessary to get our law right from the start and not rush just to get something in place," Governor LePage wrote in the letter. "If Maine is going to legalize and regulate marijuana, it is imperative that we do it right." The text of the letter follows. 3 November 2017 The 128th Legislature of the State of Maine State House Augusta, ME Dear Honorable Members of the 128th Legislature: Under the authority vested in me by Article IV, Part Third, Section 2 of the Constitution of the State of Maine, I am hereby vetoing LD 1650, "An Act to Amend the Marijuana Legalization Act." When I took the oath of office as Maine's Governor, I swore to uphold the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of Maine. When the referendum seeking to legalize marijuana passed, it put me in a difficult position: to uphold Maine law, I would be required to flout federal law. I have sought guidance from the U.S. Attorney General on how the federal government intends to treat the legalization of marijuana by states across the nation, which conflicts with federal law. As an increasing number of states embark upon this path, it is imperative that the federal government takes a strong and public position on this issue. The Obama administration said they would not enforce Federal law related to marijuana, however the Trump administration has not taken that position. Until I clearly understand how the federal government intends to treat states that seek to legalize marijuana, I cannot in good conscience support any scheme in state law to implement expansion of legal marijuana in Maine. If we are adopting a law that will legalize and establish a new industry and impose a new regulatory infrastructure that requires significant private and public investment, we need assurances that a change in policy or administration at the federal level will not nullify those investments. Even if federal law were of no concern, there are other significant issues that must be addressed. This bill does nothing to address failings of the medical marijuana program. In fact, it does not attempt to ensure that regulations between our medical program and this new program have even a minimal level of consistency. The drafters of this bill chose to ignore the significant effects that this new program-one with different levels of regulatory oversight and a different tax structure-will have on the existing medical marijuana program, its patients and the public health and safety of the Maine people. A concurrent medical program with weaker regulation and a lower tax rate will undermine the regulations established by this bill. The two programs must be considered together. Since the passage of the referendum last November, the medical program has seen a significant increase in the number of registered caregivers, as well as the exploitation of loopholes in medical marijuana regulations to broaden the sales base for medical marijuana, which has a much lower tax rate. Further still, this bill generates a bifurcated regulatory [...]



State Offices to Close Today at 3 p.m. Due to Storm Conditions, Power Outages

Mon, 30 Oct 2017 15:12:06 EDT

For Immediate Release: Monday, October 30, 2017 Contact: Julie Rabinowitz, Press Secretary, 207-287-2531

AUGUSTA - Governor Paul R. LePage has announced that all State offices will be closing at 3 p.m. today due to storm conditions and power outages across the state.

"Mainers need to get home to take care of their properties and their families. I urge all of you to drive safely as you commute to your destination," said Governor LePage. "Please let utility crews do their work. When motorists stop to ask these crews when power will be restored, all work must stop. To help them get power up faster, please do not stop and distract them. Let them finish their work.

"Also, drive slowly so you can adjust to wind, rain and changing road conditions, and particularly when you approach intersections that may be without power. Please remember to keep a safe distance behind other vehicles, and be cautious of large, tall vehicles that may be influenced by strong wind gusts."



Governor LePage announces departure of Deputy Chief of Staff Kathleen Newman

Mon, 30 Oct 2017 14:50:33 EDT

For Immediate Release: Monday, October 30, 2017 Contact: Julie Rabinowitz, Press Secretary, 207-287-2531

AUGUSTA - Governor Paul R. LePage has announced that Kathleen Newman, his longtime deputy chief of staff and legislative director, has decided to leave her position.

"We are sorry to see Kathleen go, and we will miss her vast depth of knowledge, as well as her expertise and skill at dealing with legislative matters," said Governor LePage. "But we are pleased she will now get to enjoy some much-deserved time off before she starts the next chapter in her life. We wish her well."

Before joining Governor LePage's team, Newman served as president and CEO of Associated Builders and Contractors of Maine, representing the construction industry before the Maine Legislature, Congress and state and federal regulatory bodies. Prior to her work at ABC, Newman operated her own political consulting firm, which provided governmental and regulatory affairs services and political campaign management.



Governor LePage Issues Emergency Proclamation to Assist in Restoring Power

Mon, 30 Oct 2017 13:24:40 EDT

*Almost as many Mainers without power as during the Ice Storm October 30, 2017* For Immediate Release: Monday, October 30, 2017 Contact: Julie Rabinowitz, Press Secretary, 207-287-2531 AUGUSTA - With a storm currently battering Maine with heavy rain, high winds and hundreds of thousands of Mainers without power, Governor Paul R. LePage has issued an emergency proclamation that allows drivers of electrical line repair vehicles to operate additional hours. (See proclamation below.) "With the number of Mainers without power reaching the same as those without power during the Ice Storm, we need to make sure power is restored as quickly as possible," said Governor LePage. "I urge all Mainers to check on their neighbors and stay safe as they travel around the state." Hazardous weather is expected to continue throughout the day, with another one to two inches of rainfall possible. Winds gusts in excess of 60 miles per hours are expected along the coast and over exposed high terrain. A second round of high winds is forecast for the afternoon. The Maine Emergency Management Agency is monitoring the storm as it passes through Maine and is coordinating with the National Weather Service, County Emergency Management Agencies, state agencies, and utility companies to review the latest forecasts and discuss their operational status. Motorists should use extra caution while driving, particularly as they approach intersections or high profile vehicles that may be influenced by strong wind gusts. For weather information and more safety tips, visit the Maine Prepares web site: www.maineprepares.com. State of Maine Governor's Emergency Proclamation for Electricity Restoration Efforts WHEREAS, the State of Maine is experiencing the effects of high winds and storm conditions that have impacted transportation routes and put thousands of Maine homes and businesses out of power; and WHEREAS, work crews will have to work many hours to clear roads and restore power; and WHEREAS, power restoration crews have been requested from other service areas as well as Canadian provinces to assist in power restoration; and WHEREAS, federal rules determine the number of hours the driver of an electrical line repair vehicle may operate; and WHEREAS, drivers of such vehicles must cease operations when they reach the federal limit on hours of operation, and therefore would have to cease power restoration; and WHEREAS, these conditions threaten public health and safety and endanger the property of Maine homes and businesses; and WHEREAS, these conditions are expected to extend through October 30, 2017; and WHEREAS, the declaration of a State of Emergency will facilitate the granting of a waiver from the U.S. Department of Transportation - Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration pursuant to 49 CFR part 390.23 to allow relief from 49 CFR parts 390 through 399, specifically 49 CFR part 395 Hours of Service of Drivers, and subject to the limitations described below, and therefore allow drivers of electrical line repair vehicles to operate additional hours, and WHEREAS, motor carriers that have an Out-Of-Service Order in effect may not take advantage of the relief from regulation that such a declaration provides under 49 CFR 390.23; NOW THEREFORE, I, Paul R. LePage, Governor of the State of Maine, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of Maine, find that these conditions constitute a civil emergency under 37-B M.R.S.A. section 742, and for the purpose pursuant to 49 CFR part 390.23 of facilitating a waiver to the U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, specifically 49 CFR part 395 Hours of Service of Drivers, do hereby declare that a State of Emergency within Maine as of October 30, 2017 through November 6, 2017. P[...]



Governor LePage issues statement about hospital CEOs pushing for Medicaid expansion

Fri, 27 Oct 2017 14:19:11 EDT

For Immediate Release: Friday, October 27, 2017 Contact: Julie Rabinowitz, Press Secretary, 207-287-2531

In response to a newsletter put out by Maine Medical Center CEO Richard W. Petersen and other hospitals that are lobbying for the expansion of Medicaid, Governor Paul R. LePage has issued a statement:

"It's obvious the CEO of Maine Med and other hospitals do not care about taking resources away from our most vulnerable Mainers-including our elderly and intellectually and physically disabled people-just so they can give free, taxpayer-funded healthcare to adults who should be working and contributing to the cost of their own health insurance.

"Medicaid expansion will cost Mainers $500 million over the next five years. The last time Maine expanded Medicaid, the elderly and disabled were sent to the back of the line so working-age adults without dependents could get free healthcare. Now Maine Med and other hospitals want to do it again.

"These CEOs make millions of dollars a year, and now they want to raise taxes by $500 million on the backs of hard-working Mainers who will have to pay the bill. Shame on them. Hospitals are only concerned with their pocketbooks, and they don't care about the hardships it will cause for taxpayers, the elderly and the disabled.

"Hospital CEOs claim the federal government will pay 90% of the costs of Medicaid expansion, but it's not true. The 90% only covers a portion of those who would be added to Medicaid rolls: able-bodied adults without children.

"Since hospitals are non-profit organizations, they don't have to pay taxes on much of their vast real estate holdings. Mainers do not have that luxury-in addition to paying their own high premiums and deductibles, they will have to pay to give ‘free' healthcare to adults who should be working.

"As I always say, ‘free' is very expensive to somebody. If hospital CEOs have their way, that somebody would be Maine taxpayers."



Governor LePage Issues Statement on 2016 Crime Statistics

Wed, 18 Oct 2017 17:03:49 EDT

For Immediate Release: Wednesday, October 18, 2017 Contact: Julie Rabinowitz, Press Secretary, 207-287-2531

AUGUSTA - Governor Paul R. LePage issued the following statement upon the release of the state's annual crime statistics for 2016. Crime has decreased in Maine for five consecutive years, totaling a decline of more than 30 percent.

"Maine continues to be one of the safest states in the country. Unfortunately, the flow of deadly drugs from out of state is still driving crime in Maine," said Governor Paul R. LePage. "Local and state police are putting their lives on the line for us every day to fight these crimes. I want to thank all of our law enforcement officials for the work they do to keep us safe."

The 2016 crime statistics are available on the Department of Public Safety's website at http://www.maine.gov/dps/cim/crime_in_maine/cim.htm .



Joint Statement from Governor LePage and Maine Sheriffs' Association

Wed, 18 Oct 2017 15:35:17 EDT

For Immediate Release: Wednesday, October 18, 2017 Contact: Julie Rabinowitz, Press Secretary, Office of Governor LePage, 207-287-2531; Wayne J. Gallant, Oxford County Sheriff, 207-743-9554

AUGUSTA - Governor Paul R. LePage and the Maine Sheriffs' Association have issued the following joint statement regarding the outcome of their meeting Monday afternoon, October 16, 2017.

County sheriffs play an important role in our constitutional republic and do a great job keeping our families and communities safe and free. Governor Paul R. LePage will work to empower Maine sheriffs to work cooperatively with federal immigration authorities to make certain that federal immigration law is being properly enforced in the State of Maine.



Governor LePage and First Lady to Host Blaine House Food Drive on Saturday

Thu, 02 Nov 2017 13:36:02 EDT

For Immediate Release: Thursday, November 02, 2017 Contact: Julie Rabinowitz, Press Secretary, 207-287-2531

AUGUSTA - The First Family invites the public to visit the Blaine House on Saturday to assist fellow Mainers who are food insecure. Since Governor Paul R. LePage and First Lady Ann LePage began the food drive in 2011, they have collected thousands of pounds of food for pantries and shelters across Maine.

The last food drive of the season takes place this Saturday, November 4. Mainers will have an opportunity to bring a food donation, take a tour of the Blaine House led personally by Governor LePage and enjoy light refreshments.

"Our family has been blessed, and we appreciate this opportunity to give back in a meaningful way," said Governor LePage. "It is heartwarming to see our neighbors, friends, co-workers, students and various groups like the Boy and Girl Scouts dropping off donations year after year. Mainers are generous people, and in times of need we come together for a greater cause, whether it is food insecurity during the holidays or a natural disaster."

The Good Shepherd Food Bank will accept all donations brought to the Blaine House. The Good Shepherd Food Bank will distribute the donations to the communities they have identified as most in need.

Doors will be open at the Blaine House between 9 a.m. and noon on Saturday.