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“Ruthless” Maine Legislative Dems axe almost all GOP bills, approve 125 of their own

Speaker Sara Gideon (D – Freeport) and Senate President Troy Jackson (D – Aroostook) are taking heavy criticism from Republicans for their lopsided, and some say, ruthless, approach to legislation in the Maine Legislature’s second session.

AUGUSTA – In the late 1990’s the Mars candy bar company coined a gluttonous new slogan for Twix candy bars, “Two for me – none for you!”

After the Maine Legislature’s Legislative Council meeting this week, Republicans may have been feeling like they were on the losing end of a similar arrangement with their counterparts in the Legislative Council, with Democrats approving a lopsided number of their own bills versus a paltry number of bills from Republicans.

A little background: The Legislative Council is made up of the ten members of leadership in the Maine Legislature’s House and Senate. That means there are currently six Democrats and four Republicans on the council. For a bill to make it into the second legislative session a majority of the members of the council must vote to approve the bill at the October meeting.

This year there were nearly 400 bills put forward for consideration by lawmakers. Bills that are approved are added to the existing list of bills that were held over from the first session.

Unlike years past, the crop of bills approved were overwhelmingly sponsored by Democrats.

“At a time when people are looking for their elected officials to work together, Democrats in Maine took a sharp partisan turn today, making it clear they have no intention of working with Republicans in the state legislature,” reads a statement from the Senate Republican office.

Of the 133 bills approved by the Legislative Council Wednesday, 125 were sponsored by Democrats. That is a ratio of 17 Democrat proposed bills approved for each bill proposed by a Republican that was approved.

“Today’s result is that people across Maine lost,” said Senate Republican Leader Dana Dow.

The number of bills approved by the council swells the total number of bills lawmakers will have to work in the second session to almost 40% more than they had before them at this stage two years ago. The total number of bills, newly approved and carried over, sits at 620 as this article is written.

Four years ago at this time, the total number of bills was just 287.

“Today’s actions signified a whole new level of ruthless, one-party rule in Augusta,” said Assistant Senate Republican Leader Jeff Timberlake.

“Democrats have thrown down the gauntlet and told the people across Maine that their opinions no longer matter,” he said.

Legislative Democrats have provided little in the way of public comment to justify the imbalance, with a few Democrats celebrating the approval of bills they had proposed.

Speaker Sara Gideon, the Vice Chair of the council appears to have returned to the campaign trail in her quest for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate. Senate President Troy Jackson is embarking on what appears to be a taxpayer-funded promotional tour highlighting legislation Democrats passed in the most recent legislative session and pushing for more this coming session.

Lawmakers who saw their proposals voted down will have a chance to appeal the council’s decision on November 21st, when the council convenes a meeting to hear appeals from sponsors of proposals that were rejected or tabled.

That meeting will be held at 10 AM in State House Room 334.

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