A procedural mistake by the governor of Maine, Republican Paul LaPage, has resulted in 19 bills that he thought he had vetoed becoming law.
LaPage, who has previously shown an approach that favored strict and controversial approaches to subjects like welfare and immigration, was under the impression that he didn’t need to do anything to veto the proposed bills since the Maine legislature was adjourned.
However, in this case, the legislature was technically still in session, or “at ease.” So with LaPage campaigning with New Jersey governor Chris Christie, no official veto was issued and the bills were enacted.
In previous veto efforts of Democratic bills, LaPage has made a habit of waiting until just before the 10-day limit established by state law before then vetoing it. Due to having enough Republicans in the legislature, LaPage could be assured that Democrats would be unable to obtain the necessary two-thirds worth of votes to override his veto.
Undoubtedly, the most controversial aspect of the bills passed deals with immigration. The one in particular now allows immigrants living in Maine, who are here legally and hoping for asylum, the opportunity to apply for assistance from state government.
Last year, LaPage was re-elected by using one of his key arguments to fight against any such assistance to those immigrants, frequently calling them “illegals,” even though there’s no indication that charge was true.
A Republican consultant referred to the political mistake as a “substantial screw up,” and wondered how the party’s base would react.