Saturday, December 26, 2015
What's next for Governor vs. Legislature
Christmas has now come and gone. I surely hope and pray that yours was an exceptional one. Mine was. I won't go into the wonderful gifts I received, but our little family gathering did just fine celebrating this year. I mentioned the other day that all of us, including my wife and daughter and me as that "all", get just about whatever we need (more accurately, want) during the year. It always leaves the Christmas giving somewhat bleak. Nevertheless, I think this year turned out to be successful for all of us.
Because of the season and Holiday activity, I apologize for being a little late in commenting on last Tuesday's news concerning Maine's Governor. In an interesting turn of events, the state's Attorney General announced she would not file a court complaint against Gov. Paul LePage for alleged involvement in the hiring and then almost immediate firing of House Speaker Mark Eves. A news media link to this information can be found here, but there are many others, too.
AG Janet Mills, a very strong and high ranking Democrat, has said she will not prosecute the Governor on criminal charges which the democratic lead "bi-partisan" investigative panel said demonstrated the Governor exceeded his authority earlier this year by allegedly threatening to cut off funds to a charter school for hiring Eves to its staff. Eves has been a major critic of the formation of charter schools in the Legislature.
A legislative committee then held something, which it called a hearing, to discuss the situation and developed a report calling for the criminal charges to send to the attorney general. I didn't attend any of the sessions but from what I read in the news media, that well-controlled committee concluded that the governor had exceeded his authority.
It was that report that AG Mills rejected.
Some legislative Democrats want to attempt to impeach the Governor anyway using the same very questionable facts it says it found in its hearings. There are other Democratic legislators along with most Republican ones that now say any impeachment attempt will probably not take effect. The final determination won't be made until the next legislative session begins on Jan. 6th.
Mills' action was probably one of the best Christmas presents Gov. LePage received. The big question, however, is Have the Democrats caused the chasm between the Legislature and Governor to widen even more than it was?
That, of course, will have to wait a few weeks for an answer, but at least it appears some Democrats are trying to get the relationship back on a good track. If they don't succeed, we'll be going through another spring/early summer of nothing but conflict coming out of Augusta. Not many of us want that.
Meanwhile, what the AG's ruling will do the court case Eve's has started to sue the governor. That still needs a resolution and will continue to stand in the way of a good reconciliation in Augusta.