United States: Legislature Completes Its First Week; Majority Party Discusses Its Legislative Agenda; New Constitutional Officers Sworn Into Office; Federal Decision Issued Regarding Maine Care Enrollment (Under The Dome: Inside The Maine State House 1.11.13)

Last Updated: January 15 2013
Article by John D. Delahanty, Andrea C. Maker and Avery T. Day

Legislature Completes Its First Week 

The Legislature has completed its first week of the session. With a couple of exceptions, this was a fairly quiet week in Augusta. At this point, only four bills have been printed, giving committees little substantive work to do. The Legislature met twice this week and some committees held an initial meeting. Most of the activities at the State House, however, have been geared toward new member orientation. Many legislators took part in the Maine Development Foundation's Policy Leaders Academy, which involves a bus tour for legislators to different regions of Maine to help educate them on Maine's economy and the impact policy decisions have on the economy. This tour, connecting legislators with businesses, educational institutions and research facilities, began on Wednesday, January 9th, and runs for three days, meaning little was scheduled for the second half of the week.

There are, of course, exceptions to the quiet at the State House. On January 9th, the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House, along with the other Democratic members of the Legislature, held a press conference in the Hall of Flags to announce the majority party's legislative agenda. Further, the January 11th due date for the Governor to release both of his supplemental budget and biennial proposals arrived this week. At the time of writing, these budget bills have not been released but analysis of both of these proposals will be forthcoming.

Majority Party Discusses Its Legislative Agenda

On January 9, 2013, members of the House and Senate Democratic caucuses, led by Senate President Alfond and Speaker of the House Eves, held a press conference in the Hall of Flags to announce their legislative agenda. While this event was short on details, Democrats did indicate those areas that will be a priority at the State House. They include:

  • Workforce development (including the formation of a Joint Select Committee to examine this issue)
  • Early childhood education
  • Reduced energy costs (including support for energy efficiency and alternative energy)
  • Reduced healthcare costs (including revisiting an overhaul of Maine's health insurance market that was enacted by the last legislature and examining care management for MaineCare members)
  • Investments in the State (including bonds for infrastructure and research and development)

New Constitutional Officers Sworn into Office 

On January 7, 2013, Governor LePage swore Maine's three new Constitutional Officers into office. Maine is unusual in that our Constitutional Officers (i.e., Secretary of State, Attorney General and State Treasurer) are elected by all of the members of the Legislature in a joint convention. Last month, the new Democratic majority elected Matt Dunlap as the new Secretary of State, Janet Mills as the new Attorney General and Neria Douglass as the new State Treasurer. Upon being sworn into office, State Treasurer Neria Douglass called upon Governor LePage to issue over $60 million is general obligation bonds that have been approved by Maine voters, an issue that has been simmering for sometime in Augusta. Shortly after Janet Mills assumed office, the LePage Administration announced that outgoing Attorney General William Schneider is joining the Administration's newly created Office of Policy and Management as that office's Deputy Director.

Federal Decision Issued Regarding MaineCare Enrollment

During the last legislative session, the Legislature enacted budget language affecting MaineCare enrollment that was projected to reduce access to MaineCare for over 30,000 people. The LePage Administration began the process of implementing this legislative change in the summer of 2012, which involved requesting a State Plan Amendment from the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Because the State's budget assumed that these reductions would be made in the fall of 2012, the implementation date of these changes played a factor in keeping the State's budget in balance. Due to both the policy and politics of these changes, a response to the State's request was significantly delayed. Just this week, the State was notified that two of the four proposed initiatives to reduce enrollment would not be permitted, leading some to call this decision a "draw." Because of the delay in implementation of those measures that can proceed and the rejection of half of the proposed measures, the Governor's supplemental budget proposal must make up for unanticipated spending. This, however, is just one component of the Supplemental budget, which will seek to fill an even larger budget hole at the Department of Health and Human Services.

Charter School Commission Rejects Four of Five Applications

On January 8, 2013, the Maine Charter School Commission voted to reject four out of five applications for new charter schools. Under a recently enacted charter school law, only 10 charter schools are authorized for the first ten years of the law. Four schools have already been approved by the Maine Charter School Commission and those interested in creating new schools are now competing for diminishing slots. The Commission met this week to consider five applications and, ultimately, rejected four of these applications. The Commission's decision was soon criticized by Governor LePage, who spoke to the press about the Commission's decision the day after it was made. The Governor's strong criticism of the Commission's decision and Commission members has now become a news story in itself.

Pierce Atwood Hosts Members of the LePage Administration

On Monday, January 7, 2013 the Government Relations Group at Pierce Atwood connected its clients and friends with Kathleen Newman, Deputy Chief of Staff and Legislative Director for Governor LePage and Michael Cianchette, Chief Legal Counsel, Office of the Governor for a lively discussion about Maine's fiscal and policy landscape. The event, part of our Inside Policy Series, attracted nearly 50 individuals from various industries including business, healthcare, education, real estate and development, banking, technology and professional services. Topics covered included proposed curtailments, the supplemental and biennial budgets, debt owed to hospitals and education. The Government Relations Group will continue the conversation on Maine's fiscal and policy landscape on January 16 when the firm hosts members of the legislative leadership for its next Inside Policy Series event.

Pictured (from left to right): Andrea Cianchette Maker, Michael Cianchette, Kathleen Newman, John Delahanty, Avery Day, James Erwin

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Authors
Avery T. Day
 
In association with
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Tools
Print
Font Size:
Translation
Channels
Mondaq on Twitter
 
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
 
Email Address
Company Name
Password
Confirm Password
Position
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Accounting
 Anti-trust
 Commercial
 Compliance
 Consumer
 Criminal
 Employment
 Energy
 Environment
 Family
 Finance
 Government
 Healthcare
 Immigration
 Insolvency
 Insurance
 International
 IP
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Litigation
 Media & IT
 Privacy
 Real Estate
 Strategy
 Tax
 Technology
 Transport
 Wealth Mgt
Regions
Africa
Asia
Asia Pacific
Australasia
Canada
Caribbean
Europe
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
U.K.
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of www.mondaq.com

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about Mondaq.com’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.

Disclaimer

Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.

Registration

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to unsubscribe@mondaq.com with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.

Cookies

A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.

Links

This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.

Mail-A-Friend

If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.

Emails

From time to time Mondaq may send you emails promoting Mondaq services including new services. You may opt out of receiving such emails by clicking below.

*** If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of services offered by Mondaq you may opt out by clicking here .

Security

This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to webmaster@mondaq.com.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to EditorialAdvisor@mondaq.com.

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at enquiries@mondaq.com.

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at problems@mondaq.com and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.