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Maine Governor's Press Releases



Press releases issued by the Governor's office.



Copyright: Copyright 2017 All rights reserved.
 



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 structure with two Executive Branch departments regulating the market, which is almost certain to create unnecessary additional administr[...]



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. Pursuant to this declaration, I hereby order the following: 1. No motor carrier operating under the terms of this emergency declaration s[...]



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.



Governor LePage Sends Letter to Legislative Leadership Regarding Attorney General's Use of Settlement Funds

Thu, 05 Oct 2017 15:26:17 EDT

For Immediate Release: Thursday, October 5, 2017 Contact: Julie Rabinowitz, Press Secretary, 207-287-2531

AUGUSTA -Governor Paul R. LePage sent a letter to Senate and House leadership today advising them that he has directed the Office of the State Controller to transfer more than $10 million out of a fiduciary account under the discretion of the Attorney General into an Other Special Revenue account as required by 5 MRS §203-A. The funds are the results of legal settlements the State of Maine received from the Volkswagen and Moody's litigation.

"I recently learned that the funds were deposited in this fiduciary fund, which is not subject to appropriation/allotment control in the State's accounting system," stated Governor LePage. "The funds were deposited into an account that could be accessed and expended by the Attorney General without legislative or executive oversight, a situation I consider repugnant to the Constitution and the laws of the State of Maine. I therefore took the necessary executive action to protect these funds from expenditure until the Legislature makes a decision about whether it will check the Attorney General's exercise of self-delegated discretion or not."

The Attorney General drafted language in the settlements that allowed her to spend the money in her "sole discretion." However, the Constitution unequivocally provides that "No money shall be drawn from the treasury except in consequence of appropriations or allocations authorized by law."

Governor LePage added, "By way of my executive action, I am making no comment on whether the purposes for which the Attorney General wants to spend the money are appropriate. I maintain that the decision belongs to the Legislature and not the Attorney General."

He continued, "Members of the Legislature, the question for you is this: did the Legislature intend to grant the Attorney General the unrestricted and unchecked authority to spend over 10 million in public dollars in any way she sees fit? If so, you need to make that intention clear and public because, at this point in time, I do not believe the relevant laws or the Maine Constitution gives her such broad and unrestricted discretion."



Governor LePage Nominates Ricker Hamilton for DHHS Commissioner

Tue, 03 Oct 2017 13:07:54 EDT

For Immediate Release: Tuesday, October 3, 2017 Contact: Julie Rabinowitz, Press Secretary, 207-287-2531

AUGUSTA - Governor Paul R. LePage announced today the nomination of Ricker Hamilton, who now serves as acting commissioner of the Department of Health and Human Services, to be Commissioner of DHHS.

"I am pleased to nominate Ricker for Commissioner," said Governor LePage. "We will continue to bring fiscal responsibility and accountability to this department while improving and reforming the programs that are vital to many of our most vulnerable citizens."

Hamilton has served as acting commissioner since June 2017. He has been Deputy Commissioner of Programs at DHHS since 2013, and has managed and directed the Offices of Aging and Disability Services, Child and Family Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services, Dorothea Dix Psychiatric Center and Riverview Psychiatric Center. He also served as program administrator for adult protective services at DHHS and as an instructor at the Maine Criminal Justice Academy, where he developed a curriculum on elder abuse.

Hamilton received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Saint Anselm College in 1976 and his Master of Social Work degree from Boston College in 1984.



Governor LePage Calls Legislature in for Special Session

Fri, 29 Sep 2017 12:29:05 EDT

For Immediate Release: Friday, September 29, 2017 Contact: Julie Rabinowitz, Press Secretary, 207-287-2531

AUGUSTA -Governor Paul R. LePage issued a proclamation today calling the full Legislature to Augusta for a special session on October 23, 2017.

"I am calling a special legislative session to address two time sensitive issues," stated Governor LePage. "First we must amend the recently passed ‘food sovereignty' law to ensure compliance with federal requirements. The second critical issue is the need to fund the Maine Office of Geographic Information Systems, which was left out of the final version of the budget by the Legislature."

Maine's food sovereignty law needs to be amended to make it clear that local food sales subject to inspection under federal jurisdiction remain so, and any food products intended for wholesale or retail distribution outside of the local municipality must be in compliance with all food safety laws. These changes will permit the state to continue its system of local inspection, rather than compelling federal inspectors to take over.

"We will not be able to continue growing the local food sector of our rural economy by subjecting Maine farms and businesses to inspectors and regulations based in Washington. If the state program is eliminated, small farms will lose the most," stated the Governor.

In final budget negotiations, the Legislature failed to restore funding to operate the Maine Office of Geographic Information Systems. MEGIS is currently operating on funds that were carried forward from the previous fiscal year.

Governor LePage added, "If the Legislature does not appropriate money to State agencies to properly fund MEGIS, funding will dry up before November. If this happens, the future of MEGIS and the State's ability to adequately provide GIS services will be in extreme jeopardy."

A copy of the proclamation is available here: http://www.maine.gov/governor/lepage/news/news_display.shtml?id=767767 .



Governor LePage Nominates Alec Porteous for DAFS Commissioner

Fri, 29 Sep 2017 09:28:59 EDT

For Immediate Release: Friday, September 29, 2017 Contact: Julie Rabinowitz, Press Secretary, 207-287-2531

AUGUSTA-Governor Paul R. LePage announced today the nomination of Alec Porteous as the next Commissioner of the Maine Department of Administrative and Financial Services (DAFS). Porteous, who now serves as acting commissioner, is the deputy commissioner for finance at DAFS.

"Alec will continue our efforts to streamline operations and keep Maine on track with sound fiscal policy," said Governor LePage. "Budget management, system reform and improved efficiency have been hallmarks of his tenure in my administration."

Prior to his nomination, Porteous served as the chief operating officer and chief financial officer for the Department of Health and Human Services, joining the LePage Administration in May 2014. As deputy commissioner of finance, Porteous oversaw the Department's $3.6 billion budget, which is 46 percent of the total state budget.

Porteous received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Colby College in 2002 and his Master of Business Administration from Cornell University in 2007.



Governor LePage Issues Statement on the Collapse of Maine's Health Insurance Marketplace

Wed, 27 Sep 2017 17:15:37 EDT

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

AUGUSTA -Governor Paul R. LePage issued the following statement about the withdrawal of Anthem from Maine's Affordable Care Act-compliant insurance marketplace for individual health insurance policies.

"ObamaCare is continuing to implode and cause significant hardships for Maine's people," said Governor LePage. "The loss of yet another insurer on the exchange leaves Mainers with few alternatives to pay for healthcare. Even though ObamaCare is collapsing around them, Maine Senators Collins and King still refused to support a bill that would have sent 44 percent more healthcare funding to help struggling Mainers pay for health insurance. Instead of seeking national headlines, they should have been working to help the people who elected them."

Harvard Pilgrim has announced it will stay in Maine's marketplace for another year.

In 2015, more than 34,000 Maine families chose to pay $15 million in fines, rather than pay for the increasing premiums and deductibles for coverage that did not meet the needs of their families.

Consumers who have questions about their current policies or the exchange are encouraged to contact the Maine Bureau of Insurance in the Department of Professional and Financial Regulation. Bureau staff members are available to answer questions Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and can be reached by dialing 1-800-300-5000 or 207-624-8475 (TTY please use Maine Relay 711). Emailed questions can be sent to insurance.pfr@maine.gov .