Senate President Statement on Death of Somerset County Sheriff’s Deputy

“I would like to extend my deepest sympathies to the family of  Corporal Eugene Cole, the Somerset County Sheriff’s Department, and all who serve in Maine law enforcement. The tragic death of Corporal Cole serves as reminder of the enormous debt we owe to all who work in law enforcement for the sacrifices they make every day, and the risks they take on our behalf to keep our communities safe. “As the search continues for the individual responsible for this senseless act, I hope you will join me in praying for the safety of our officers.” Senate President Michael...

Senate President Statement Regarding Supreme Court Ruling on Ranked-Choice Voting

“I would like to thank the justices for providing clarity on some of the questions the Maine Senate raised regarding ranked-choice voting. Based on the ruling, it is clear that ranked-choice voting will be used for the June 12th primary. “It is also important to note, however, that the court’s ruling was very narrow in scope and only applies to the June primary. “The court did not address the many remaining constitutional questions regarding this system of voting in Maine. “From the beginning, our primary concern has been the integrity of Maine’s voting system, and we remain concerned about the citizens of Maine having confidence in it. “In the short amount of time we have left in the legislative session, we will consider what we can do to ensure the election process goes smoothly on June 12th.” Senate President Michael Thibodeau...

Maine Senate Order Asks Court to Look at Constitutional Conflicts with Ranked Choice Voting Implementation

AUGUSTA – Lawmakers today passed a Senate Order that authorizes the Maine Senate to take appropriate legal action regarding ranked choice voting (RCV). At the heart of the order are questions regarding the separation of powers between the Maine Legislature and the Secretary of State’s Office. Currently, a Maine Superior Court judge is considering a lawsuit by RCV supporters to force the Secretary of State’s Office to implement the system for the June 12, 2018 primary. But today’s Senate Order illustrates numerous constitutional problems with implementation of RCV. The Secretary of State’s Office has indicated it will devise a system for counting votes under the RCV system and then deliver the ballots to a central location, despite the fact that those plans conflict with Maine election procedures that are spelled out in existing statute and in the Maine Constitution. The Secretary of State has also indicated his office is prepared to provide funding for RCV implementation. However, the Maine Constitution clearly states that only the Legislature can appropriate public funding. Senator Roger Katz (R-Kennebec) is the sponsor of the Senate Order. Senator Katz said, “This has nothing to do with whether or not you support ranked choice voting. This is about the integrity of our electoral system. If we are going to switch to a ranked choice voting system, we cannot simply make it up as we go. If we do, we are opening ourselves up to numerous lawsuits by people who will be adversely affected.” “The Secretary of State’s Office does not have the authority to create a voting system on its own. That can only come from...

Maine Senate Republicans Vote for Closer Scrutiny of Costly Universal Home Care Bill

AUGUSTA – The Maine Senate today voted to refer a bill backed by the radical Maine People’s Alliance to the Legislature’s Taxation Committee for closer scrutiny. The bill, “An Act to Establish Universal Home Care for Seniors and Persons with Disabilities,” would create a state bureaucracy to provide in-home and community support services for elderly Mainers, regardless of their income, and fund it through massive tax hikes on Maine’s small businesses. The bill, if approved by voters, would cost of the State of Maine $310 million annually. The bill is the result of a referendum drive backed by the Maine People’s Alliance. Last week, Democrats in the Maine House of Representatives voted against sending the bill to committee where members of the public could testify on the tax increase. “We need to make sure we get this right, and that’s why I supported sending it to committee,” Senate President Michael Thibodeau (R-Waldo) said. “It would be unconscionable to send this out to the citizens of Maine without understanding what the economic impact of this major tax hike would be. Creating law without public hearings has proven to be dangerous in the past. We need to ensure we are getting all of the information about this bill, and today’s action by the Senate will allow us to do that.” With the bill in nonoccurrence between the two chambers, the bill will now back to the House of Representatives for further...

Senate President Statement on Governor’s Comments Regarding Marissa Kennedy Case

“I am glad to see the governor is going to take a personal interest in this case. As I have said before, we all owe it to Marissa to get a clear understanding of what happened. “That is why we need to have an investigation so we can understand how the system failed and make sure it never happens again. I am personally encouraging the Government Oversight Committee to vote on Friday to have a thorough investigation into this matter.” Senate President Michael Thibodeau...