Politics

June 22, 2013

LePage vetoes transparency bill, 9 others

One bill would require more transparency for donations to a newly-elected governor, which LePage says is disrespectful because it questions the winning candidate's integrity.

By Edward D. Murphy emurphy@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

AUGUSTA – Gov. Paul LePage vetoed 10 bills late Friday, including a measure to tighten reporting requirements for donors who contribute to a newly elected governor's transition and another to offer further protection to working mothers who breast-feed. The Legislature is scheduled to reconvene Wednesday and will override or sustain the vetoes then.

click image to enlarge

Gov. Paul LePage speaks during a conservative rally on Thursday June 20, 2013 in the Hallo of Flags at the State House in Augusta.

Staff photo by Joe Phelan

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In one of his veto messages, LePage said the law to require more transparency in transition funding questions the integrity of the governor-elect and "disrespects the decision made at the ballot box," when voters implicitly express their confidence in the winning candidate's ethics.

LePage said he disclosed his transition donors after being elected in November 2010 because "it was the right thing to do -- I did not need a law to tell me that."

He also said the state provides only $5,000 for a two-month transition, "and oftentimes additional money is needed," requiring a governor-elect to seek out donors.

A related bill, to increase the penalties for campaign finance reporting and late-reporting violations, was vetoed by LePage because he said it would increase the use of the state ethics commission as "a place for political warfare." LePage said some alleged violations of finance laws come from a candidate's political opponents, who "file claims they know have little merit to win a headline leading up to Election Day."

"Everyone reads the headlines, but no one reads the corrections," LePage wrote.

A measure to allow women who feel they are being discriminated against for expressing breast milk at work to turn to the state Human Rights Commission would require employers and employees to hire lawyers to appear before that panel, LePage said. He said existing laws protect breast-feeding mothers' rights at the workplace, and mothers can pursue any claims of discrimination in court.

LePage vetoed bills to order state agencies to come up with plans to reduce homelessness, to study professional development services for child care providers, to broaden voter registration opportunities to those with disabilities and to strengthen legal protections against defective medical implants. LePage said they would duplicate existing laws or programs.

The governor also rejected a proposed increase in registration fees for all-terrain vehicles; a law to require more towns and cities to work together on Community Development Block Grants; and a review of the state and federal regulations of compounding pharmacies.

Edward D. Murphy can be contacted at 791-6465 or at:

emurphy@pressherald.com

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