Crown Politics

LePage, Gideon trade barbs as gridlocked Legislature’s return date remains uncertain

Good morning from Augusta, where the stalemated Legislature was expected to return sometime next week to finish up outstanding work from a marathon 2018 session. We say “was” because it’s now wholly unclear when lawmakers will be back next.

The week is ending with sniping between Gov. Paul LePage and House Speaker Sara Gideon, D-Freeport, and while spokespeople for Democrats and Republicans in the House of Representatives say negotiations are ongoing, they haven’t mapped a compromise deal yet.

Republicans and Democrats have clear, dueling priorities, but there’s still fighting about just why the Legislature is still in session. The 2018 legislative session was supposed to end in April, but it has stretched on after House Republicans refused to extend the regular session in April and May. They’re now in a indefinite special session that House Republicans agreed to. Since then, legislators have bitten around the edges of the work they had left.

Earlier this month, they passed a $68 million spending package, increased jail funding and overhauled Maine’s medical marijuana program — all over LePage vetoes — and endorsed $200 million in bond proposals. But House Republicans sustained the governor’s veto of Medicaid expansion funding, guaranteeing that the issue will be solved in court for now.

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