Senate lets 2 more LePage vetoes stand, including one that House voted to override

Posted June 06, 2013, at 5:50 p.m.
Gov. Paul LePage signs a veto letter he delivered to the Legislature instantly on May 23 after the Senate gave final passage to a bill that links repayment of Maine's hospital debt with an expansion of Medicaid.
Gov. Paul LePage signs a veto letter he delivered to the Legislature instantly on May 23 after the Senate gave final passage to a bill that links repayment of Maine's hospital debt with an expansion of Medicaid. Buy Photo

AUGUSTA, Maine — Gov. Paul LePage’s perfect veto streak remained intact Thursday as the Senate let two more of his vetoes stand, including a veto that was overridden in a House vote earlier this week.

The Senate voted 22-13 to override the governor’s veto of a bill that would require school districts offer students instruction in cardiopulmonary resuscitation, or CPR, and use of an automated external defibrillator. The 22 votes in support of the override, however, fell two short of the two-thirds threshold needed. Two Senate Republicans, Brian Langley of Ellsworth and Thomas Saviello of Wilton, voted with Democrats for the override.

The House had voted 125-18 Wednesday to override the veto, with a majority of Republicans backing the override.

The result of the Senate vote on LePage’s veto was similar to lawmakers’ override votes on LePage’s first veto of the legislative session in April, when the House voted to override before the Senate voted to sustain it. That veto was of a bill designed to create conformity in payments to registries of deeds.

The Senate on Thursday took up one more LePage veto and allowed it to stand in a 20-15 vote. That veto was of a bill that would eliminate the requirement that the governor approve salaries set for assistant attorneys general and staff attorneys in the attorney general’s office as long as their aggregate pay didn’t require additional funding from the Legislature.

Democratic senators and one Republican urged their colleagues Thursday to override the veto on CPR training. It takes little time to train students in modern-day CPR, and the training saves lives, they said.

“This is definitely a step in the right direction,” said Sen. David Dutremble, D-Biddeford. “This has nothing to do with politics. It has to do with saving people’s lives.”

But most Republicans decided to stick with LePage, as they have in the past to override votes on bills that have initially passed the Legislature with broad support.

“I think the question becomes, do we really need to tell the schools what they need to do?” said Senate Minority Leader Michael Thibodeau, R-Winterport. “I’d encourage them to do it, but I don’t think I’d tell them through legislation.”

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