Tag: Maine

May 19

“People Who Somehow Got Elected”

With Maine’s Tea Party, veto happy Governor Paul Lepage’s penchant for doing and saying some really outrageous things, it was only a matter of time before John Oliver, host of HBO’s “Last Week Tonight,” took notice. As the narrator notes, “You see, while most humans possess a thin barrier that stops thoughts from immediately exiting …

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Apr 26

“Just Let Them Die”

The world and the United States are currently experiencing a increase of opiate overdoses that, in some parts of the US, has reached epic proportions. Take the state of Maine where in 2015 drug overdose deaths increased by 31%, most of them due to heroine. Recognizing the need to save lives, the state legislature, urged …

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Jan 08

Maine’s Full Racist Governor

Update 1630 1/8/16 These are the drug dealers LePage was referring. Hey @Governor_LePage, which one is D-Money? The middle guy? I think it’s the middle guy https://t.co/khDMA0Wa16 pic.twitter.com/42TQmBMgKq — Nick Wing (@nickpwing) January 8, 2016 Which one is D-Money? Maine’s very bigoted Tea Party Governor Paul LePage went all out racist at a town hall …

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Aug 07

Mainly Maine: Too Clever By Half

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

The cocksure Tea Party governor of Maine, Paul Lepage, decided he would play games with what he thought were his veto powers under Maine’s constitution by using a pocket veto of 65 bills.

On Thursday, LePage delivered vetoes of 65 of those bills (the rest he returned unsigned) and urged the Legislature to consider his vetoes. Both House Speaker Mark Eves, D-North Berwick, and Senate President Michael Thibodeau, R-Winterport, said they would not let the vetoes hit the floors of their respective chambers.

LePage argued that because lawmakers left Augusta on June 30, he had been prevented from returning the vetoes before the 10 days had expired. The Maine Constitution states that if a Legislature adjourns, the governor may hold bills until three days after they return.

The House and Senate passed a temporary adjournment order on June 30 to give LePage time to act on the bills. Top lawmakers and Attorney General Janet Mills, a Democrat elected by the Legislature, said that temporary recess was not adjournment, and thus did not give LePage more time to act.

Gov. LePage’s problem was that he was using his interpretation of the constitution, not what it really said. So off to the Maine Supreme Court he went. Briefs from both sides were submitted and oral arguments were heard last Friday

Today that court disagreed with the governor and those 65 bills are now law:

Gov. Paul LePage erred in his end-of-session veto gambit, and in so doing lost the ability to veto 65 bills that he opposed.

In an advisory opinion released by the Maine Supreme Judicial Court on Thursday (pdf), the justices said that the bills in question became law without the governor’s signature, and that the Legislature should not be required to consider his attempted vetoes. [..]

In making its decision, the court relied in part on decades of precedent in which Maine governors had returned vetoes to the Legislature while it was in recess.

“History demonstrates that Maine governors, for nearly forty years, have routinely returned bills with their vetoes during temporary absences of the Legislature that came at the end of the session – after an “adjournment” but before the Legislature adjourned sine die,” the court wrote.

“These examples demonstrate that temporary adjournments of the Legislature near the end of a legislative session-whether until a date certain or until the call of the leadership, and whether beyond a ten-day period-have not prevented governors from returning bills with their objections to their Houses of origin within the constitutionally-required ten-day timeframe.”

LePage on Thursday thanked the court for its ruling.

Indeed, too clever by half.

Aug 05

Mainly Maine

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

When you think of the state of Maine, you usually think of woods, camping, vacations, rocky beaches, sailing and, maybe, the Bush crime family or where Tom Clancy hid a stolen Russian submarine in his novel, “Hunt for the Red October.” You don’t think of it as one of the crazy states like Kansas, Texas or Oklahoma but since Republican Governor Paul LePage was reelected in November, Maine is now up there at the top of the crazy list.

The Tea Party Republican governor has been in a veto war with the state’s two house legislature over taxes, spending, health care, the state budget just to name a few. The Republicans, who are mostly moderates, hold the majority in the Senate and the House majority is Democratic. They work fairly well together and have been successful in overriding the governor’s vetoes that would have crippled the state. The dispute came to a head in July when the Gov. LePage tried to use a the parliamentary procedure known as the pocket veto on 19 bills. But the clerk of the Maine House says that the vetoes were not valid under the state’s constitution. Talking Points Memo has been following this wish relish

By not signing the bills and “pocketing” them, LePage could under some circumstances have effectively vetoed them. In theory, that would have allowed the proposals to die without legislators having a chance to override his veto. But the pocket veto only works if the legislature has adjourned after the end of the second regular session. And there is the rub.

The clerk of the Maine House told TPM Wednesday morning that the legislature, which is nearing the end of the first regular session, has not adjourned. By not vetoing the bills within the required 10-day period, LePage allowed the bills he opposed — some ferociously — to become law.

But LePage’s office is now claiming the legislature did adjourn. [..]

Here’s what Article IV, Section 2 of the Maine Constitution says on the subject:

   If the bill or resolution shall not be returned by the Governor within 10 days (Sundays excepted) after it shall have been presented to the Governor, it shall have the same force and effect as if the Governor had signed it unless the Legislature by their adjournment prevent its return, in which case it shall have such force and effect, unless returned within 3 days after the next meeting of the same Legislature which enacted the bill or resolution; if there is no such next meeting of the Legislature which enacted the bill or resolution, the bill or resolution shall not be a law.

Both Hunt and Suzanne Gresser, the reviser of statutes, are acting as if the usual 10-day period for the governor to veto the bills has passed and are now on their way to becoming law.

Things went downhill from there. The governor then threw a temper tantrum, refused to concede to the bipartisan interpretation of the constitution and put a hold on another 51 bills

LePage’s office is saying that he will sit on another 51 bills passed by the state legislature. Those are in addition to the 19 bills he previously failed to act on. He plans to send them all back to the legislature with a veto when lawmakers return to Augusta July 16, the Bangor Daily News reported.

Democratic lawmakers and the clerk of the state House contend — and history and custom tend to support their view — that LePage missed the 10-day deadline he had to veto those 19 bills. Under Maine’s constitution, the bills automatically become law if the governor doesn’t act within that 10-day window.

LePage contends that the legislature adjourned June 30, which triggers another section of the state constitution that gives him additional time to act. But lawmakers claim they never took the kind of “adjournment” required by the constitution to allow LePage to wait to act on the bills, and they become law when he didn’t return them in the 10-day period.

Needless to say the Democrats and the Republicans refused to accept his vetoes, stating the governor had missed the 10 day deadline. Gov. LePage then took the disagreement to the Maine Supreme Court asking them to decide if he botched the vetoes. To add insult to injury, the Democratic House and Republican Senate leadership refused House Minority Leader Ken Fredette’s request to use public money to underwrite the associated legal costs.

The court fast-tracked the request, briefs were filed last Friday and oral arguments began today

The discussion revolved around thorny, complex issues of procedural mechanics and constitutional balance of power between the executive and legislative branches. Over the course of about 45 minutes, LePage’s counsel Cynthia Montgomery and the attorney representing Maine’s House and Senate each had 15 minutes each for their opposing arguments, with Montgomery given the opportunity for rebuttal at the end. Additionally, an attorney representing a few House Republicans as well as counsel for the attorney general each had a few minutes to make their cases, with the former favoring LePage’s view and the latter challenging it.

The justices were clearly seeking to streamline the arguments being presented in front of them, perhaps knowing both the short-term impact of their decision on dozens of pieces of legislation, as well as the long-term precedent they could set in navigating what has become a constitutional crisis. Their questions touched on both broad understanding of the executive branch’s veto powers and LePage’s specific motivations in waiting to submit his vetoes. They were mostly patient to weed through the convoluted specifics of the case, but at times were willing to call out what appeared to be suspicious reasoning.

To make matters worse for Gov. LePage, he being now sued for abuse of power. Steve Brennan, at MSNBC’s Maddowblog, reported this yesterday:

Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R) is caught up in a doozy of a controversy. As regular readers know, a Maine charter school recently hired state House Speaker Mark Eves (D), but LePage, a fierce opponent of Democratic legislators, threatened the school – either fire Eves or the governor would cut off the school’s state funding. In effect, LePage played the role of a mobster saying, “It’s a nice school you have there; it’d be a shame if something happened to it.”

The school, left with no options, reluctantly acquiesced. The problem, of course, is that governors are not supposed to use state resources to punish people they don’t like. By most measures, it’s an impeachable offense.

As of today, as the Portland Press Herald [reported http://www.pressherald.com/201… it’s also the basis for a civil suit.

   Democratic House Speaker Mark Eves will file a civil lawsuit Thursday against Gov. Paul LePage, alleging that the governor used taxpayer money and the power of his office to prevent his hiring at a private school in Fairfield.

   The lawsuit, to be filed in U.S. District Court in Portland, has been anticipated ever since the board of directors at Good Will-Hinckley voted to rescind its offer to pay Eves $150,000 a year to become the organization’s next president. Eves said that the board told him before his contract was terminated that LePage threatened to eliminate $530,000 in annual state funding for the school unless it removed him from the job.

“Acting out of personal rage, vindictiveness and partisan malice, Gov. Paul LePage blackmailed a private school that serves at-risk children into firing its president, the Speaker of Maine’s House of Representatives,” the complaint reads.

The governor hasn’t denied the allegations and is now facing possible impeachment

Even Politico has called LePage “America’s Craziest Governor” and questioned if he is “playing with a full deck.”

Maine may be be this Summer’s best entertainment. Get the popcorn.

Dec 06

Maine’s Nicole Maines wins November

BiPM includes a poll in his Friday C&J to select who won the week.  I decided I needed to riff off that for my title.

I don’t know that I have ever read the magazine Glamour.  I mean, I may have done so, once upon a time.  When I was a child, I read whatever I could get my hands on, just for the joy of reading.

On November 10, Glamour honored its 2014 Women of the Year award recipients at Carnegie Hall in New York City.

Glamour’s annual Women of the Year Awards is one of our favorite issues of the magazine, and the event marks one of the most inspiring nights of the year; it’s a chance to celebrate trailblazing women from all walks of life-Hollywood stars, political and cultural leaders, groundbreaking scientists and researchers, and more come together to honor the women who helped to shape and change the year. But let’s not forget that phenomenal women are all around us; to celebrate the spirit of Women of the Year, we named 50 standouts-one for every state. Flip through to see the hometown heroes whose work we recognize this year.

Flipping through the inspiring women from each state, one eventually encounters…

May 11

Professional groups and others file amicus brief in Maine equality appeal

 photo maines_zpscff443b4.jpgSeveral social welfare groups have joined an amicus brief in the Case of Doe v. RSU 26 (formerly the Orono School District), which has been appealed to the Maine Supreme Court.  The Maine Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Maine Chapter of National Association of Social Workers and the Maine Psychological Association have joined with the Trans Youth Equality Foundation, the Maine Women’s Lobby, and the Downeast and Southern Maine chapters of the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN) to file a brief in the case, which involves a transgender girl (now publicly identified as Nicole Maines) who was forced to stop using the girl’s restroom at her Orono elementary school in 2007.

When she was in the fifth grade, Susan Doe (as she is identified in the suit), was forced to use a separate, staff-only restroom after the grandfather of another (male) student complained that she was a boy and shouldn’t be allowed to use the girls’ restroom.

Nicole Maines has identified as a girl from a very young age and dressed, acted, and looked like a girl.  She is now 16.

The thought of me being a boy just kind of makes me cringe.  I couldn’t do it.  So I would always wear the turtleneck shirt as long hair.  I was always into the girl characters of everything.  That’s how I rolled.  I was like, yeah, I’m a girl.  I don’t think I could be a boy.

–Nicole Maines, 2011

Dec 17

A Voice for the Future

Ace Nelson already published some of this story.

Several people have recently tried to make sure that I noticed the Boston Globe article about Nicole Maines and her family, entitled Led by the child who simply knew.  Jonas and Wyatt Maines were born twin boys but, as Jonas is reported to have said early in their childhood:

Dad, you might as well face it.  You have a son and a daughter.

The twins are now 14 and Nicole is being treated by the relatively new Gender Management Service Clinic at Children’s Hospital Boston.  The GeMS Clinic was founded in 2007 by endocrinologist Norman Spack and urologist David Diamond.  It is the first pediatric academic program in the Western Hemisphere to evaluate and treat pubescent transkids.

Not everyone agrees with what GeMS does, of course.

Not everyone agrees that they should, of course, and Spack has heard the arguments: Man should not interfere with what God has wrought. Early adolescents are too young for such huge decisions, much less life-altering treatment.

Jul 16

Transgender Equality News

Sometimes there are so many small stories swirling around that I feel the need to gather them together in one larger compendium.  In the present case, some of them are updates to previous stories and some of them just don’t seem to fit anywhere else.

Item:

Irish Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton will publish legislation in the next year to provide for recognition of the acquired gender of transgender people.  The long-awaited report on legal recognition of transsexual people in Ireland was presented to the Cabinet on Wednesday.  Irish transgender rights law…or rather, the lack of same…was found to be in breach of the European Convention on Human Rights some time ago.

May 28

Clowns and Bathrooms (with talented eye-candy)

clownfish Pictures, Images and PhotosAs per usual, I spent some time wandering around the Interweb, looking for stories that might need elucidation…or at least response.  Sometimes I find some good stuff, like the recent good news out of Nevada.  More often than not, I find depressing stuff, like the transwoman who was beaten by four people in Fredericksburg, Virginia just for being trans…and apparently for chastising a young man because his dog was a loud barker.  One of the assailants is thought to be a relative of that young man.    

On the plus side this week is Steven Petrow’s essay at Aol Healthy Living, Straight Talk: when a Daughter Changes Her Gender, Does She Become a Son?

And he is indeed her son — no need for quotation marks around the word. One of the basic concepts of gender identity is that you are the gender you think and say you are. The external genitalia that make a doctor proclaim, “It’s a girl!” in the delivery room are not the sum total of that individual’s gender identity.

Like he said.  For some reason, people have this fixation that gender is determined by one’s chromosomes and so sex should be inelastic.  I guess they’ve never met a clownfish.

(Cue Nemo).  

May 18

News with a T

Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley has called for more to be done to provide for greater protections for transpeople in his state.  This comes in the wake of the brutal attack of Crissy Lee Polis by Teonna Monae Brown and a juvenile accomplice and the subsequent filing of hate crimes charges.

As some have noted, out of this awful beating has come a moment to foster a deeper understanding and respect for the dignity of all persons. We should not allow the moment to pass without greater action.

–Martin O’Malley

Brown’s attorney claims her actions were in self-defense and that she is really a “nice young woman”.

As some have noted, out of this awful beating has come a moment to foster a deeper understanding and respect for the dignity of all persons,” O’Malley said. “We should not allow the moment to pass without greater action.

There is an accompanying video reporting on the hate crime charges but embedding has been disabled.  The video features Lynne Bowman of Equality Maryland.

Aug 18

DREAM Now Letters to Barack Obama: Selvin Arevalo

Originally posted on Citizen Orange.

The “DREAM Now Series: Letters to Barack Obama” is a social media campaign that launched Monday, July 19, to underscore the urgent need to pass the DREAM Act. The Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act, S. 729, would help tens of thousands of young people, American in all but paperwork, to earn legal status, provided they graduate from U.S. high schools, have good moral character, and complete either two years of college or military service.  With broader comprehensive immigration reform stuck in partisan gridlock, the time is now for the White House and Congress to step up and pass the DREAM Act!

[Note from Kyle de Beausset: Selvin wrote this letter right before he got into a minor car accident on April 9, 2010.  He was set to get his high school diploma in June but has been in detention ever since.  I have chosen reproduce Selvin’s letter as I found it in his empty room, rather than polish his slight grammatical errors, to allow his character to shine through.]

Dear President Barack Obama,

From the bottom of my heart, I plead to my God that you and your entire family receive blessings from the highest God while you are reading this letter.  I admire and thank you for the great labor that you are fulfilling as a president in this big nation.  My name is Selvin Ovidio Arevalo.  I came to this country when I was 15 years old.  I came from Guatemala to this country to fulfill my dreams because I always have believed that this is a country of many opportunities for those whom want to succeed.

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