After Legislature eventually adjourns, local leaders have work to do

By Chris Hall, Portland Regional Chamber
Posted April 23, 2012, at 9:15 a.m.

Editor’s note: This report is compiled weekly for members of the Portland Regional Chamber. It provides a breakdown of recent news around state policy, as well as a heads-up on coming events. The Bangor Daily News is publishing this report in cooperation with the PRC.

 

PRC speaks out

The governor’s line-item veto of additional state funding for municipal general assistance may have rejected the Legislature’s bipartisan compromise on the issue, but it settled nothing. Neither did the decision last week by Republican legislators to not vote on the veto. Here’s why:

General assistance funding will be back before lawmakers when they return to the State House on May 15th. Appropriations Committee Chair Richard Rosen said it’s fair to assume legislators will once again put forward their original bipartisan general assistance funding proposal with little or no change ( PPH). So the issue will remain in play, and nothing is decided — yet.

Speaker Bob Nutting and Senate President Kevin Raye both said they hope to see a compromise that no one will love, but everyone can live with. See below for all the coverage and comment, and stay tuned for reports on discussions leading up to the May 15th legislative session.

Our next Policy Update will be out in two weeks on May 7th and we’ll have a full recap of the legislative session next month when lawmakers finally adjourn after their May 15th session.

In the meantime the Portland region has many things left to do after state policymakers hit the campaign trail:

At the Portland Regional Chamber we’ll be working on these issues, and many others, as we head into the spring and summer. If you want to be a part of the discussion, all you need to do is let me know.

State Policy round-up: Odds and ends from the State House include two more domestic violence bills signed ( PPH), coverage of new disclosure requirements for legislators ( BDN), Tom Cox’s take on LD 145’s veto and David Farmer’s fond reflections on Dick Barringer’s career.

Elsewhere:

A few days later Republican legislators decided not to return to the state house to vote on the Governor’s vetoes, allowing the vetoes to stand by default ( PPH, BDN, BDN editors, PPH editors). Fallout from the decision produced a predictable partisan reaction ( PPH, BDN, LSJ, MPBN). Press requests for the names of Republicans who voted not to return met with mixed results ( BDN).

Comment on the Governor’s action included editorials from the PPH, BDN and the Maine Wire, radio interviews on WGAN with Speaker Bob Nutting, Senate President Kevin Raye, House Minority Leader Emily Cain, and Senate Minority Leader Barry Hobbins, reaction from the Mayors’ Coalition on Jobs and Economic Development ( LSJ, PDS) and columns from Matt Gagnon and Doug Rooks. The Governor responded to the mayors, who in turn fired back ( BDN).

The Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee is back to work this week on all remaining issues before them ( agendas) – Eric Russell at the BDN set the table for this week’s work. On a welcome note it appears that state revenues continue to strengthen ( LSJ, MPBN).

What’s happening this week at the State House: Not too much. But you can still find the entire state house schedule right here. As noted above, the Appropriations Committee resumes meetings this week.

Around the Region:

Cape Elizabeth & South Portland: In Cape Elizabeth the Council is nearing a decision on plans for the Town Library ( PPH).

In South Portland the future of the farmers’ market is in doubt ( Current).

Cumberland and Falmouth: In Cumberland the SAD 51 school budget is poised to increase ( Forecaster).

In Falmouth a public hearing on the proposed municipal and school budgets drew little comment ( Forecaster).

Portland: Tonight the Council will get the proposed school budget ( PDS, Forecaster, PPH) – it’s expected the Council will ask for spending reductions ( PPH). Elsewhere:

Scarborough: A dispute broke out on the Council over new pesticide application regulations ( Current), which were subsequently invalidated ( Current).

Westbrook and Gorham: In Westbrook the Council is ready to receive the school budget ( Current), and a report on updates to the City’s comprehensive plan is set for tonight ( Current).

In Gorham you can keep up with the entire municipal calendar by visiting the Town’s excellent website.

Want to speak out? It’s easy to do, and believe it or not, it can really work. Notice that all the legislative committees mentioned above are linked – just click on them and you’ll get emails, phone numbers and everything you need to make your voice heard in the state house. If you need help, just email me!

Feedback: So what do you think? We’d love to have your thoughts on anything you’ve read here, or on other topics that are important to you. The more you talk to us, the better we’ll represent your views. Send an email if you’d like to share your feedback with me – and thank you!

Chris Hall is senior vice president for government relations at the Portland Regional Chamber. He can be contacted at chall@portlandregion.com. Partners for Progress Policy Updates are supported by contributions from Partners for Progress.

 

http://bangordailynews.com/2012/04/23/business/after-legislature-eventually-adjourns-local-leaders-have-work-to-do/ printed on July 31, 2014