Eves special session poll deadline approaches, GOP calls poll 'meaningless and unconstitutional'

LePage Deadline

AUGUSTA, Maine (NEWS CENTER) - -  Speaker Mark Eves is asking all members of the House to vote by, Tuesday, September 6 at 5:00 p.m.  as to whether or not they agree to come in for a special session aimed at taking action against Governor LePage's conduct. 

According to the press release, Speaker Mark Eves issued the official call for the special session on Friday, September 2, 2016.

Rob Poindexter, Communications Director for the Maine House Republicans says the poll is 'meaningless and unconstitutional.'

Poindexter says Article IV, Part Third, Section 1: Maine Constitution states;

“The Legislature may convene at such other times on the call of the         President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House, with the consent  of a majority of the Members of the Legislature of each political party, all members of the Legislature having first been polled.”

'The poll sent around by the Speaker of the House is meaningless and unconstitutional for several reasons. First of all, his poll violates the Maine Constitution as he is not the one who would poll House Republicans in such a case,' said Poindexter. 'As has been established by precedent as recently as the 125th Legislature, that is the role of the caucus Leadership.'

'Secondly, on Friday, the President of the Senate announced he would not request a poll for the Senate in regards to returning for a special session which means there will not be a special session. Period. Below is the release we sent out Friday and I have attached a letter from Rep. Fredette to Speaker Eves explaining to him why the Maine Constitution and past precedent prohibits his actions,' said Poindexter.

Republican Minority Leader Ken Fredette of Newport, released a statement Friday afternoon questioning the poll as well. 

“I have spoken with Speaker Eves and Senate President Thibodeau regarding Speaker Eves’ unilateral decision to poll the House of Representatives on the issue of convening a special session of the Legislature,” said Rep. Fredette. “Unfortunately, the actions of the Speaker appear to show that he is more focused on scoring political points than following the due process as set out in the Maine Constitution and the rules of the Maine House of Representatives.” Fredette said he will not poll House Republicans. 

House Speaker Eves' office issued a statement Friday saying that Democrats have been clear throughout this latest crisis caused by the Governor.   "The Governor's conduct was reprehensible.  Maine cannot afford to spend the next two years lurching from crisis to crisis caused by Governor LePage's erratic behavior instead of working on issues facing Maine people. He is unfit to serve as Governor and must resign or be removed from office."

The first step required under the Maine Constitution is for the Speaker of the House to poll all members of the House on whether or not they agree to come in for a special session, according to the House Speaker's Office.

House Speaker Eves said this is the question we will be asking all House members:  "Do you consent to come in for a special session of the Legislature to take action regarding the Governor's conduct?"   Eves said he encourages the Senate to poll each Senator with the same question.

The House Speaker's Office said they believe that there are enough members on both sides of the chambers who believe action should be taken against the Governor.  "Let's come back into Special Session and debate what the most appropriate action is.  It is time to have an up or down vote and let each of the people's elected representatives be accountable for their position," said Eves. 

Eves' deadline to vote is 5 p.m. Tuesday, September 6, 2016.

(© 2016 WCSH)


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