Senate Republican Office
But House Democrats Actions Will Keep Voters in the Dark
AUGUSTA – By a bipartisan vote of 28-4, the Maine Senate today voted to insist that “An Act To Establish Universal Home Care for Seniors and Persons with Disabilities” be referred to committee for a public hearing and work session.
The bill is now in non-concurrence between the bodies and will go directly to the November ballot for consideration by the voters, without the opportunity for a proper and unbiased vetting process.
“This referendum would create a new board to oversee a new program that is funded by a new massive tax,” said Senate President Michael Thibodeau (R-Waldo). “It only makes sense to give the legislature’s nonpartisan offices a chance to analyze this complex legislation and the committee and public an opportunity to learn more through the committee vetting process before being asked to vote. Unfortunately, for reasons that are unclear to me, Democrats in the Maine House have denied voters this opportunity.”
“The idea of vetting referenda through the committee process is nothing new,” said Senate Majority Leader Garrett Mason (R-Androscoggin). “In fact, it was standard practice for 34 years. The only referendum that has had the opportunity to go through this process since 2012 was the York County casino proposal, and I had the honor of chairing those meetings. Through a rigorous committee process, we were able to unearth significant problems with this proposal, and Maine voters had the opportunity to have all of the facts when they went to the ballot box. Unfortunately, the Maine People’s Alliance doesn’t agree with this vetting process, and the House Democrats have succeeded in evading a real and true vetting process for the home healthcare referendum. It’s a real disservice to Maine voters.”
“Hearings uncover facts. TV ads paid for by special interests distort facts,” said Assistant Majority Leader Amy Volk (R-Cumberland). “The committee vetting process is important so the pros and cons of any proposal have an equal opportunity to be revealed. Maine voters will now be asked to vote on a new $310 million tax without access to any unbiased information. It’s a real shame; the public deserves a thorough vetting of such major legislation.”