Tuesday, May 21, 2013
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A third bill, L.D. 478, sponsored by Rep. Joshua Plante, D-Berwick, would require people to obtain a permit to use fireworks.
And a fourth, L.D. 663, sponsored by Rep. Jarrod Crockett, R-Bethel, would trim by one hour the period during which fireworks can be used, from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m., to 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin, chairman of the Democratic Governors Association, took an early swipe at presumed independent candidate for Maine governor Eliot Cutler. Shumlin recycled the Democratic clarion call that "a vote for Eliot Cutler is a vote for Gov. Paul LePage."
The message isn't new, but it's noteworthy that the Democratic Governors Association is jumping into the fray 20 months before Election Day.
The Democratic Governors Association, like its counterpart the Republican Governors Association, plays a prominent role in governors' races, both in terms of spending and allocating staff resources to competitive states.
Prognosticators are already eyeing Maine as a battleground, so it makes some sense that the Democratic Governors Association would fire a shot across Cutler's bow even before the independent announces his candidacy. (Cutler has started a campaign committee, but hasn't officially declared.)
Shumlin's message arrived days after U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud, D-2nd District, repeated that he's considering getting into the race. Michaud, according to recent polling, is considered one of the Democrats' best hopes for winning the Blaine House.
Taken together, the two events could also be designed to plant the seed of doubt in Cutler's mind.
It's pretty much a certainty that Jonathan McKane, a vociferous opponent of Dirigo Health, won't be appointed to the program's board of directors after last week's 8-5 committee vote to oppose his nomination.
Republicans in the Senate don't have the votes to overturn that decision, which requires a two-thirds vote.
McKane's nomination was supposed to have been taken up by the full state Senate late last week, but his nomination is being kicked back to the Insurance Committee so that he can respond to some of the scathing testimony delivered by his opponents. McKane didn't get that chance last Tuesday, which is a violation of the Legislature's joint rules.
Senate Democrats are expected to approve the nominations of Republican appointees Gary Reed and Wesley Richardson. Both were unanimously recommended by the Insurance Committee earlier last week.
Town hall on guns
The AM radio station WGAN will host a town hall forum today from 7 to 8 p.m. on the concealed-weapons permit debate.
Rep. Corey Wilson, R-Augusta, sponsor of the bill to permanently shield permit-holders' names from public scrutiny, will participate in the forum, along with a representative from the Maine Sheriffs Association and "WGAN Morning News" host Ken Altshuler. Other panelists may also attend.
The forum will air on WGAN and online at www.560wgan.com. It will also be available as a podcast for listeners to download after the broadcast.
The forum will take place the day before Wilson's bill is scheduled to be heard by the Judiciary Committee.
The public hearing on L.D. 345 is scheduled for 1 p.m. Tuesday in Room 438 of the State House.
Steve Mistler compiled this report.