Republican Maine Gov. Paul LePage is just as incompetent as he is insane. By failing to veto 19 bills he disagreed with, those bills became state law.
LePage attempted to use the pocket veto, a tactic where the executive leader sits on the bills until they automatically become null and void after a set period of time. That’s where LePage fumbled. Talking Points Memo noted that pocket vetoes in Maine only work “if the legislature has adjourned after the end of the second regular session.” This was not one of those times.
LePage vehemently opposed many of the bills that he tried to pocket veto. One bill grants welfare benefits to immigrants, a measure that conservatives staunchly oppose. Realizing the mistake, LePage’s office is trying to argue that the state legislature did adjourn. LePage’s mistake has also caused confusion at the Maine House clerk’s office.
“Frankly, if he returns them [the bills] to me, I don’t know what I’ll do,” said Maine House Clerk Robert Hunt. The clerk also noted that apparently he and the governor’s office interpret the term “adjournment” differently under the Maine State Constitution. The whole thing sounds like a gigantic mess caused by LePage, and he’s trying to clean it up.
Maine’s Democratic House Majority Leader Jeff McCabe said that during the time LePage should have been vetoing the bills, the governor was “hanging out” with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, another loud and boorish Republican. “We were expecting him to act on these [bills] last Thursday when he was hanging out with Chris Christie, but he seems to have gotten distracted by that,” said McCabe.
How Gov. LePage got elected is beyond reason. Keeping in the tradition of Republican incompetence, he can’t even remember to do his own job.