At a Republican-only event at the Sea Dog brew pub in Bangor last night, Governor Paul LePage revealed that he has a secret plan to call the Legislature back into a special session before the November election in order to enact a policy that will “push the envelope.”
LePage said he could not divulge what the legislative action would be as he was still working with the Attorney General’s office to make sure it was constitutional, saying only that “other Republican states have done this” and that “If we get this done, the State of Maine will be on the right track for the next ten years.”
LePage did make clear, however, that the secret policy would be partisan and divisive. “I think we can get it done in about a day and the Democrats, if you think they hate me now… Wow,” said LePage.
Here’s an audio clip of the relevant portion of LePage’s speech provided by an attendee of the event: Download recording
I’m going to be honest with all of you here, especially all you incumbents. I’m going to interfere with your campaigning because I’m going to call a special session in the near future and I can’t divulge what it is because the Attorney General is seeing if I’m doing it right.
I like to push the envelope, and so we’ve got it half open and I believe in my mind I believe it can be done. It’s not a matter of whether or not we should do it or can do it, it’s a matter of is our Constitution here in Maine allowing us to do it.
I’m just trying to do what other Republican states have done this year and I gotta wait before I say too much more about it, but what I’m telling you is this: If we get this done, the State of Maine will be on the right track for the next ten years. I promise you that.
I see Senator Rosen’s eyes saying “what’s he up to?”
I wish I had come up with the idea, but it was come up with… some people on staff… brilliant and it’s being looked at now and I can’t wait to call everybody back and get this done.
I think we can get it done in about a day and the Democrats, if you think they hate me now… Wow.
So with that, have a nice evening.
The Governor’s plan could be focused on any number of controversial issue areas. Check this post for updates if and when this mystery begins to unravel.
Update: John Richardson at the Press Herald gets confirmation from the Governor’s spokesperson that they’re planning something. Still no word on what it is.
Update 2: House and Senate Democratic leaders have released statements:
“We’d like to remind the governor that he doesn’t only represent his Republican campaign donors,” said Sen. Justin Alfond, the Assistant Democratic leader in the state Senate. “He needs to stop his divisive politics and start doing what the people of Maine hired us all to do – and that’s to get our economy back on track.”
“The governor is sharing a secret plan to spend taxpayer dollars for political purposes with lobbyists and GOP campaign donors,” said Rep. Emily Cain, the House Democratic leader. “Worse, he is making partisan political threats and keeping the public in the dark. He should make his plans public now.”
Update 3: Maine’s Majority is hitting the Governor hard:
“For more than 18 months, Mainers have been subjected to an onslaught of failed economic policies, many of which have been ramrodded through by LePage and his legislative allies using legal loopholes and parliamentary gimmicks. Our state has become a national laughingstock as Maine’s families continue to struggle.”
“LePage’s comments about a new secret plan are just one more example of him thumbing his nose at the democratic process, and using his bully pulpit for political gain. They also reek of desperation and fear that the Republicans are on the verge of losing their legislative majority.”
“We urge the governor to do the right thing and allow the voters to choose Maine’s direction in November. At the very least, he must let the people of Maine know what he is plotting to do to them.”
Update 4: House Speaker Bob Nutting’s office says they have no knowledge of LePage’s plan. Senate President Kevin Raye has not yet responded to the press.