Maine Legislature overrides pair of vetoes from Governor LePage

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July 11, 2013

Maine

By Nick Katers

AUGUSTA, Maine: The Maine State Legislature overrode two vetoes signed by Governor Paul LePage as the legislative session ended this week. LePage set a state record for vetoes in a single legislative session by rejecting 83 bills.[1] Legislators took votes on 31 remaining vetoes on Tuesday before adjourning the session the following morning. The successful veto overrides dealt with bills restricting warrantless surveillance of mobile phone users and strengthening the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Council.[2] The Legislature was able to override vetoes five times this session including a successful override vote on the budget bill.

LD 415 was sponsored by Senator Roger Katz (R) and approved by the House and Senate in May. This legislation requires law enforcement officials to request warrants from judges before tracking or obtaining past location data from mobile phone users.[2] Another provision in LD 415 compels investigators to inform subjects of phone tracking within three days of active investigation.[3] LePage noted in his veto letter that “many crimes we all know about would not have been solved, or would have taken significantly more man-hours, if this law had been in place.”[4] The House voted 125-17 and the Senate voted 22-11 to override the veto.

The Legislature also voted to override LePage’s veto of LD1132. This bill sponsored by Senator Emily Cain (D) focuses on strengthening job training resources in the state’s Department of Education as well as the community college and university systems. LD1132 funds an executive director position in the STEM Council and advocates career programs for technical professions.[5] LePage supported the aims of LD1132 but noted that the Legislature failed to adequately fund the program. “$5,000 in the first year and $22,000 in the second is not enough to hire an Executive Director or really get this work done,” stated LePage.[6] The veto was overridden by the House in a 110-30 vote and by a 22-11 vote in the Senate.

The House and Senate sustained vetoes on bills that would have increased the minimum wage, boosted consumer protection for online transactions and raised fees for snowmobile registration. LD415 and LD1132 will be enacted 90 days from the last day of the legislative session.[2]

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