Good morning from Augusta. Gov.-elect Janet Mills was shifting into the Blaine Home this weekend. She is going to take the oath of workplace to succeed Gov. Paul LePage this night earlier than delivering an inaugural handle that she has solely dropped scant hints on up to now.
Well being care and schooling must be among the many key focal factors of the Democrat’s tackle as she appears to implement voter-approved Medicaid enlargement with a promise to not increase taxes in her first two-year price range hanging over her first-year agenda.
On well being care, early days of Mills’ governorship might be marked by implementing insurance policies he blocked and trying to insulate Maine from Trump’s ongoing efforts to reverse Obama initiatives. The texts of solely 25 of the payments to be proposed in the new Legislature have been launched. The primary one would put most of the shopper protections in the federal Reasonably priced Care Act into Maine regulation and it’s the one one to be backed thus far by Mills and the Democratic presiding officers in the Legislature.
It’s aimed toward insulating the state from potential modifications to federal regulation, although it’s principally a symbolic step with huge modifications unlikely in the subsequent two years due to divided authorities in Washington. Medicaid enlargement will dominate the early a part of Mills’ well being care agenda.
LePage, a Republican, blocked the implementation of enlargement in 2018 amid a courtroom battle with advocates whereas saying the Legislature hadn’t discovered “sustainable” funding for the regulation. This was true, however a decide dominated towards his last-ditch effort to cease implementation final month.
Mills had proposed paying short-term enlargement prices with $35 million in tobacco settlement cash. She stated after her November election that she needs to implement it utilizing “existing funds on day one,” which appears like a nod to a Medicaid surplus that could possibly be sufficient to pay for enlargement over six months.
An extended-term funding plan, nevertheless, hasn’t been outlined and ought to be one of many most important legislative focuses of the primary yr of Mills’ administration. The governor-elect hasn’t dedicated a method or one other to undoing stricter Medicaid guidelines endorsed by LePage and just lately accepted by the federal authorities, nevertheless it’s seen as a probably step.
One handle doesn’t outline the early a part of a governor’s tenure, however they sometimes hit the excessive factors and Mills has already proven many ways in which she’ll differ from LePage. Presently in 2011, we heard from LePage, who led a Republican takeover of Augusta and pushed collaboration with the Legislature, which he typically warred with throughout a tenure that included the primary authorities shutdown since 1991. However he pushed welfare and schooling modifications that turned the focal elements at totally different factors in his tenure.
Aside from their comparable ages, Mills and LePage couldn’t be extra totally different on coverage or character. He was homeless at age 11 and constructed his resume on private-sector expertise; she comes from considered one of Maine’s best-heeled political households and commenced working in authorities in the 1970s.
Whereas LePage largely appeared outdoors of presidency for his key advisers, seven of Mills’ 9 introduced nominees for commissioner spots to date have been individuals who can be getting elevated from different state and native authorities jobs in Maine. We’ll hear extra tonight about what they are going to be doing.
Mills provides employees, picks lawyer to lead DEP
The new governor’s internal circle is widening. On Monday and Tuesday. Mills introduced six government department employees hires and one other Cupboard nomination. Mills chosen Jerry Reid, her former worker as pure assets division chief in the Maine Lawyer Common’s Workplace, to be the subsequent Division of Environmental Safety commissioner, and she or he employed Elise Baldacci and Bethany Beausang as senior coverage advisers.
Reid has been chief of his division in the AG’s workplace since 2007 and has greater than 20 years of expertise working for the division, Mills stated.
Beausang, 47, an lawyer, labored for seven years, till 2018, as district consultant and counsel to U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, a Democrat who represents Maine’s 1st District. She beforehand labored for former Republican U.S. Sen. Invoice Cohen and U.S. Rep. Tom Allen, the Democrat who preceded Pingree.
Baldacci, 31, is an lawyer who has labored for the Maine Credit score Union League and Maine Road Options, a public affairs and governmental relations department of the regulation agency Verrill Dana. Her uncle is former Gov. John Baldacci. Collectively, the pair will oversee and advise Mills on coverage and legislative points and act as her liaisons to the Legislature.
Mills additionally chosen Dorian Cole as director of constituent correspondence to deal with coverage correspondence for Mills; Martha Currier, director of constituent casework, a liaison between constituents and state authorities; Michael Perry as her particular assistant in cost of scheduling, and Melissa O’Neal as her director of boards and commissions.
— The departing governor pardoned a former Republican lawmaker for a 35-year-old drug trafficking cost. Maine Public reviews that former state Rep. Jeff Pierce of Dresden, who had requested clemency for the conviction, was notified that LePage had signed a pardon final week. Democratic marketing campaign staff in Maine had highlighted Pierce’s conviction in October. Pierce, who was contemplating a run for a GOP management place in the Home till he misplaced his re-election bid to Democrat Allison Hepler, stated on the time that he went from a “stupid kid” to “a pillar of the community.” The pardon might have an effect on an ongoing investigation into whether or not Pierce illegally hunted with firearms after his felony conviction. Right here is his soundtrack.
— The federal authorities shutdown continues. Democrats in the U.S. Home will introduce their plan to reopen the federal government once they take energy on Thursday. The Democrats’ transfer to reopen the federal government would be the first huge battle between Republican President Donald Trump and potential Home Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, as Democrats come into management prepared to reassert the facility of the legislative department and confront the White Home. [UPDATE: An earlier model of this report included a hyperlink to a story about how flood insurance coverage was not out there in the course of the shutdown. The federal authorities reversed that call and flood insurance coverage ought to now be out there. Right here is the discover despatched to Realtors: “On Dec. 26, 2018, FEMA informed you that due to a lapse in annual appropriation the NFIP may not sell new insurance policies, renew existing policies, or make monetary endorsements on existing policies. Effective immediately, this guidance is rescinded and NFIP Insurers may resume the sale, renewal, and monetary endorsements for flood insurance policies.”]
— A Maine Republican Celebration stalwart is now the voice of the Pentagon. Former Maine secretary of state Charlie Summers took over Tuesday as chief spokesman for the Division of Protection. A Navy captain, he’s at present the commanding officer of Naval Reserve Naval Info U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/U.S. sixth Fleet and on Tuesday added the duties of appearing assistant to the Secretary of Protection for Public Affairs. A former state senator, Summers gained the Republican nomination twice to run in Maine’s 1st U.S. Home District and as soon as for U.S. Senate, however misplaced every time.
— Are you prepared for 23 months of presidential campaigning? Apparently, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren is. The Related Press studies the progressive Democrat has launched an exploratory committee for a presidential run in 2020. Warren is probably the most outstanding Democrat but to sign a presidential bid, however she enters a Democratic subject that’s shaping up as probably the most crowded in many years, with lots of her Senate colleagues and different outstanding Democrats brazenly weighing campaigns. In mid-December, former Obama housing chief Julian Castro additionally introduced a presidential exploratory committee, which legally permits potential candidates to start elevating cash. Outgoing Maryland Rep. John Delaney is the one Democrat up to now to have formally introduced a presidential marketing campaign. Right here is their soundtrack.
— The trouble to protect Maine’s working waterfront might get a increase in 2019. Whereas Portland types out conflicts between working waterfront proponents and builders throughout a six-month moratorium, smaller coastal Maine communities are adopting new techniques and hoping that new state funding will grow to be out there in the new yr. For the primary time in virtually eight years, the Division of Marine Assets issued a request for proposals for up to $2 million in working waterfront tasks. In accordance to the Division of Marine Assets, the delay in awarding funding has been due to paperwork — transferring administration of the proposals from Coastal Enterprises Inc. to the DMR, which was required to depend on present employees. However vacancies in the division meant there have been no employees to solicit tasks, spokesman Jeff Nichols stated, and “Commissioner [Patrick] Keliher had no alternative but to hold off on seeking new proposals until the department created the staff capacity to administer the solicitations.”
Parting is such candy sorrow
That is the final Daily Brief to be revealed throughout LePage’s tenure as governor. It’s been a lengthy, unusual journey.
Click on right here for a abstract of that journey. Click on right here for an summary of our efforts to make sense of it in the course of the previous eight years. And click on right here to learn a choice of ideas from Mainers concerning the impression LePage had on their lives.
Daily Brief was born at first of LePage’s second time period. He was the primary political determine talked about in the primary Daily Brief. (Essential word: Our birthday is Monday. Presents may be delivered to the BDN’s State Home bureau in the Cross Constructing.)
The feisty Republican has definitely given us loads of fodder to get readers’ adrenaline flowing with this morning publication. We’re grateful for that, though we want he would have spoken immediately with us extra actually because that sort of person-to-person communication tends to scale back misunderstanding and yield extra constructive dialog.
Then once more, we’ve seen in current years that intentional misunderstanding may be the idea for efficient campaigning, fundraising and political base fortification.
We’ll be again tomorrow with a new Daily Brief and a new governor. However earlier than shifting on, we want to sincerely thank the departing governor, his household and his employees for his or her service to Maine. Right here is your soundtrack. — Robert Lengthy
At present’s Daily Brief was written by Michael Shepherd, Alex Acquisto and Robert Lengthy. When you’re studying this on the BDN’s web site or have been forwarded it, click on right here to obtain Maine’s main publication on state politics by way of e-mail on weekday mornings. Click on right here to subscribe to the BDN.